Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Let the eggrolling from yesterday continue:

I used a veining chisel (or V-shaped chisel) to cut fairly deep grooves where the eggroll fold lines were drawn.

When using this chisel (or any chisel for that matter) it's a good idea to push AWAY from your body and hands. I've seen my share of Veining chisel accidents and they ain't very appetizing. Essentially what you get is a spaghetti noodle of flesh, usually still connected on one end. What do you do with that? Push it back in place, or snip it the rest of the way off? Who the heck knows!

Most people like to pull a chisel rather than push it; I do too. It just feels more natural. BUT!!!..don't be tempted! I call that Harikiri-style carving. Train yourself to it push away. You'll be glad you did. Your intestines will thank you for it. Your chisels need to be sharp like razors or you'll not get a good cut. A dull chisel is more dangerous than a sharp one. You'll be slipping and sliding all over the place because you can't get a good bite. Also a flesh wound hurts less with a sharp chisel. Yay!

In this picture you can see I've raised the eyes by removing everything around them. First you slice straight into the face, perpendicular with the surface. Those are called "stop cuts." Then you lay your chisel almost flat against the surface and slice off the wood right up to the stop cuts.

Here I'm doing the same thing I did for the eyes, removing wood from one side of the vein line to imply height on the other side of the vein line. This will create a layered effect when I'm finished.

These are my finished results. You can see a lot of chisel marks and I could keep going over it until I've smoothed out all the facets with my chisel, but it's easier to just sand them off. Depending on the job you may not want to sand them away. Also when possible, it's good to wait until you are all finished with the carving before you introduce the wood to sand paper. When you rub sand paper on the wood, little sand grits will fill the pores in the grain. Those sand grits will dull your chisels pretty fast if you carve back through them.

The top end:Now that I know I won't be carving any more on the fold lines I can go ahead and sand them smooth if I wish.

If you don't mind sharpening chisels it's fine to go ahead and carve through the sanded areas. It just uses up the chisel faster. Some of the guys I used to work with would fold a piece of coarse sand paper in half to get a sharp edge and use that as a skinny file. Supposedly the old carving masters from Italy don't even allow sand paper on their work benches for the chisel-dulling reason, and because they consider it to be cheating.

I personally don't think using a something as a tool is cheating. It's like driving a car instead of walking. It is a good idea to be aware of the dangers of sand paper on chisel edges though.

Tomorrow I'll finish whittlin' on the face.


  1. this is really fun to watch! keep em coming!

  2. Very informative and impressive.


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