View Full Version : Learning to use full size chisels

Doug Duffield
02-08-2010, 4:56 PM
I know I don't post a lot here, but I'm still learning and don't know enough to be of much help to others. I carved this Celtic Cross for a volunteer at the mission where I work. The wood is Bradford pear from a tree that was planted in her honor. Three years ago a wind storm blew the tree down, but I was able to save about 3 feet of stump. I slabbed the wood and it is now dry. Boy is that stuff hard! I learned how to sharpen the chisels on this project.

With the exception of cutting the basic shape on the bandsaw and cutting in the openings inside the circle, everything was cut with chisels. Ok, so I lied - three small areas at the head and arms were cleared out with a hand made skew. I also learned how to run a chisel with a mallet - or at least what passes for a mallet - hand built.

The cross was not sanded, as the finish left by the chisels was glass smooth. The finish was a mixture of stains and Watco natural Danish. So much can be done with these tools - I'm looking forward to the panel project.

Thanks for looking ...

Steve Vaughan
02-08-2010, 6:03 PM
...one heck of a job there! Man, that looks great and I'm with you on the leaving the tool marks vs. sanding. Sometimes sanding is in order, not often though, and I'm glad you didn't sand here. Outstanding job!

Philip Allin
02-08-2010, 10:19 PM
You've done a wonderful job, Doug. I'm sure the presentee was pleased. I also prefer the appearance of smooth tool marks to a sanded surface.

Doug Duffield
02-08-2010, 10:55 PM
Thank you for the kind remarks. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one that likes to see tool marks. They are so much smoother than you could ever get sanding, well, maybe not, but you can't argue about the character of chisel marks and finish.

doris fiebig
02-09-2010, 2:54 PM
hi doug, count me in too with liking the tool mark finish... to me, it brings life to a carving, agreed there are situations where toolmarks are not wanted, but here on this cross, they really enhance the design, the feeling, its i like run my fingers softly over them. well done. thanks for sharing