View Full Version : carving novice - first tools for an unusual project

Joe Aliperti
01-29-2010, 1:56 PM
One of my friends has been asking me to make him a wooden artichoke. I am an intermediate woodturner, and will be able to turn the wood to the approximate shape easily on my lathe.

I would like to carve the leaf outlines, and maybe add some striations to the stem with some carving tools. The finished artichoke will be life size, probably about 5" in diameter or so.

What would be to easiest tools to use for this kind of carving? Does anyone know of any good articles or tutorials that illustrate the kinds of cuts that would be used?

Mike Henderson
01-29-2010, 2:32 PM
The V-tool is your friend. In the Swiss system, I'd recommend a 12/6.

Unfortunately, the V-tool is the hardest carving tool to sharpen - and you will have to sharpen it many times during the project.

I'd probably also get a few fairly flat gouges, probably #2 or #3 in various widths. But make sure you have a narrow one, like a 2/5.

If you know a carver in your area, a few quick lessons will pay big dividends.

Good luck!

Philip Allin
01-29-2010, 3:32 PM
I will offer a contrary opinion regarding your artichoke project. If you shape the "blossom" on your lathe, the details of the overlapping leaves will be basically a chip carving challenge and would only require a knife. Even the striations on the stem could be carved with the knife.
If your lathe has an indexing head, you should use it to carefully layout the pattern of leaves.

Joe Aliperti
01-29-2010, 4:00 PM
Thanks Mike and Philip for your advice. My Delta midi lathe does have an indexing head, so I think I'm leaning towards the chip carving idea as it will require less tools and sharpening technique.

I may enter the carving vortex at some point, but for now I've been primarily focusing on small turning projects and pens.

Can you recommend a good general-purpose chip carving knife that will do the job?