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Thread: Noob could use some advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
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    983

    Noob could use some advice

    Greetings all. I usually hang out over in the hand tool forum. Lately Iíve been intrigued by carving, and by spoons in particular. I did a little chip carving as a kid (we called it whittling then). Iíd like to pick up a basic starter kit of carving tools and would appreciate some advice. Iím just looking for a couple core tools first. Maybe a knife, a gouge, and ?? I can fill in the gaps later.

    Thanks in advance.
    It's wood dust. Saw dust would suggest a problem.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
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    361
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    ... Lately Iíve been intrigued by carving, and by spoons in particular. ....
    Carving is a very broad topic with many styles & traditions. Each comes with it's own techniques & preferred tools. (And no doubt many specific carvings could be done with different tools & techniques by an experienced carver.)

    I believe there are several spoon carving traditions, but the one I see in popular press & forums recently comes from the green woodworking community with techniques evolved from the Swiss Sloyd tradition. Tool set for these spoons seems minimal: carving axe (hatchet in 'murican ), sloyd knife, and hook knife. I've found many references to this style & techniques. I got Jarrod Stone Dahl's DVD from PopWood and found his descriptions very clear and well done, (but don't like videos in general. Too hard to refer back to specific things.) Lost Art Press just published Jagge Sundqvist book, "Slojd in Wood", about the Swiss tradition, tools & techniques. Peter Follansbee has covered the topic more more recently in his Blog. Etc.

    For tools, the axe is small, light, and double bevel (unlike traditional Joiner axes.) You may well have something that'll do. The iconic Sloyd knife is the Morakniv 106 that can frequently be had fairly cheap on Amazon. (Seems to come & go, check back.) It and other nicer handmade knives are available from many small forges. (TFWW carries the well regarded Orford carving knives in the US. Woodtools, Robin & JoJo Wood's company, has a nice beginner set they'll ship from England.) Hook, or crook, knives seems to mostly come from the small forges. (I have seen listings for Narex hook knives recently, but they're near the hand crafted prices....) Reid Schwartz has recently gotten a lot of buzz for his hook knives. I understand he has taken inspiration from both Native American and Swedish traditions and makes a hybrid, though I've only seen pictures. (I'm sure I'm forgetting dozens of the small forges, I don't mean to imply they're less worthy.)

    I notice Peter Follansbee just posted an article on personalizing a Sloyd knife at PWW's site today.

    PS- Often chip carving is suggested as a good starting point and can be done with a single specialized knife, but is different from the Sloyd / greenwood working spoon tradition. Though I've seen spoons decorated with what I'd call chip carving decorations.

    ETA: I think this Reid Schwartz Bio posted at PopWood was where I heard of him first. (I know I've noticed his name a couple time since too.)
    Last edited by David Bassett; 10-06-2018 at 2:29 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    6,350
    Rob,

    All carving can be done entirely with hand tools, of course, but certain power tools can save a lot of time. The best starter set might depend on your budget and level of patience!

    I carved these coffee scoops from Pink Flame wood and Cocobolo. Much was done by hand but the "hardest" part, hollowing the bowls, went quicker with coarse burr on a rotary tool (a Fordom). I used some gouges and knives to finish carving and a couple of rifflers, files, and sandpaper to smooth. For me, hand carving the deep bowls would have been possible but mote difficult with just hand tools. A lot might depend on the type of wood, too.

    image.jpeg

    I haven't tried any other spoons yet so advice from someone with more experience would be much better.

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    Greetings all. I usually hang out over in the hand tool forum. Lately Iíve been intrigued by carving, and by spoons in particular. I did a little chip carving as a kid (we called it whittling then). Iíd like to pick up a basic starter kit of carving tools and would appreciate some advice. Iím just looking for a couple core tools first. Maybe a knife, a gouge, and ?? I can fill in the gaps later.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. #4
    My 2 cents worth is I’ve carved everything and anything for nearly 30 yrs and never saw a need for axes (to make a spoon?) nor do I own or see a need for hooked knives. Might be traditional in some circles but how often is it really used or needed when a plain old gouge or two will do the job faster and more easily? And they’ll be used to carve a myriad of things over their lifetime and are easier to maintain and are more useful. A #5 and #7 in the 12 mm size for starters will make any spoon you care to carve and have the bowl hollowed out in minutes.

    It’s basic carving. Don’t make it complicated as some like to do or get caught up in the romance of searching out esoteric tools . Get tools you can always use elsewhere. And as a bonus the chisels can leave a surface that is easy to finish off as opposed to hogging out with a burr that’ll need either some chisel work or lots of sanding to clean up. Pretty hard to beat a chisel/gouge if it’s used properly.

    and being new to carving wanting to try a spoon or two I don’t think you (nor I ) need custom hand made tools from some specialty company.
    Last edited by Mark Yundt; 10-11-2018 at 8:35 AM.
    The Woodworking Studio

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