carving & carving

As I said earlier, I have been doing some carving lately. I have several classes this year on carving; but you might remember from an earlier post, I used up some of my carving samples/patterns.

When I teach, I like to have many examples for students to learn from…

so I started carving some new examples. Here’s one that is featured on almost all of my work, a pattern I call the “S-scroll”. I use it over & over; to the point where the entire 2nd DVD I did with Lie-Nielsen covers only this design, in about 5 versions.

This is the basic outline, struck with the curved gouges themselves.

here is the “freehand” part; using the V-tool to connect the circles defined with the small gouge.

V-tool freehand curve

I think the total number of gouges for this pattern was 6; a V-tool, 3 different curved gouges, one very shallow gouge for removing the background and a very tiny one for two little stop cuts in the details at the end.

Now the pattern has been struck with the gouges.

S-scroll defined

now some background removed


now some incised details,  chopping out small gouge cuts, brings us to the finished design & its outline.

the finished pattern & its layout

So just when I was really getting going; the museum’s tree person (we call him Hurricane Craig) came by & trimmed a very large sycamore (here in the US it’s a sycamore; in the UK the same tree is a London Plane Tree; and sycamore means something else over there.) the Latin name for this tree is Platanus occidentalis. Anyway, this pile represents about 1/10th of the haul. It’s a lousy splitting wood, but once you get it open, it’s great for wooden ware.

one tenth spoon haul


So, I have lots of furniture & shop work to do, but spoons, here I come.

spoon carving

14 thoughts on “carving & carving

  1. Very nice. I would like to do some chip carving. I have been looking at some chisels, but a lot of them are a little out of my price range right now. Any suggestions for good chisels that won’t break the bank?


  2. Dave,

    Not that I want the competition, but I have been having very good luck on eBay for carving tools. The dealers judywriter, tdg5t31 (eBay store The Dancing Goats Studio) and wcarving are good folks that I have dealt with several times over the past months. Judy will send you chisels sharp and ready to use. wcarving is actually the eBay outlet, where I have gotten brand new Stubai gouges at quite a discount from retail. Good names to lo0k for in older chisels are Addis and Herring, older Buck and Ward – in newer, the aforementioned Stubai, Pfeil (Swiss made, you see Peter using them in the pictures), Ashley Iles (harder to find cheap, but very good chisels). Just try not to bid on the same ones I am trying for :)

    • Ahhh… I wish I knew. The mild winter, I blame; but there’s been a dearth of birds around. Usually I’d see redtail and cooper’s hawks here everyday in winter. rarely see ’em this year. Heard a heron tonight, but don’t even see them around much. I keep hoping I’ll catch early migrants when I go down to the Woodwright’s School next month.

  3. Lots of sycamore available in oklahoma. Along with river birch, magnolia.mulberry, and black cherry it’s one of my favorite woods to use in spoon carving. The local green waste dump is a great source for material. I agree branch wood can yield some great spoons. Woodcocks are here and males are in the midst of their annual courtship display

  4. S-scrolls: As I recall many of them have a wavering fudge line where the arcs from the two scrolls meet, indicating a freehand joining of two drawn arcs that don’t quite intersect. Because you have a disciplined ability to carve an arc, based on the radius from the heel of your palm to the tool’s cutting edge, you are not following a drawn arc, hence you don’t fudge. Is this a-historical?

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