Author Topic: What to buy to begin carving?  (Read 27295 times)

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Offline kfitzsimons

  • Posts: 295
What to buy to begin carving?
« on: January 21, 2012, 07:20 PM »
I'm thinking about learning basic decorative carving. Rosettes, etc. I'm looking at the 7 piece Pfeil Swiss Made set from Woodcraft. See below:
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2001338/268/pfeil-Swiss-made-Intermediate-Set-of-7-Tools.aspx#Articles
Would this be a good starting set? Any others I should order to start with? Any good books you'd recommend?
  Kevin

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Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2012, 08:11 PM »
I'm thinking about learning basic decorative carving. Rosettes, etc. I'm looking at the 7 piece Pfeil Swiss Made set from Woodcraft. See below:
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2001338/268/pfeil-Swiss-made-Intermediate-Set-of-7-Tools.aspx#Articles
Would this be a good starting set? Any others I should order to start with? Any good books you'd recommend?
  Kevin

Kevin:
Take a look at Joel's blog Carving With Chris Pye - First Lessonson carving at Tools for woodworking.
I am going down this path myself...albeit somewhat slower than you as I have a project for my mother that needs some relief carving and I am really procrastinating.
Tim


Offline kfitzsimons

  • Posts: 295
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2012, 07:53 PM »
Tim, thanks for the tip. I went to Chris Pye's site also. Once I get some tools, I'll follow the blog and I might join the Pye class. Very useful info. I think I'm going to purchase the Pfiel 7 piece set to start.

Offline GhostFist

  • Posts: 1556
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2012, 09:22 PM »
Always been interested in wood carving myself, keep us posted on your progress!

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2012, 11:03 PM »
Also, check out David Calvo. David Calvo
His work is stunning and it looks like he now has some instructional videos for sale.
There used to be a video on YouTube, but I can't find it anymore.
I do find the Glen-Drake Tite-Hammers fascinating
Tim

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2012, 12:03 AM »
The thing that I'd need to buy to commence wood carving would be a very large container of artistic talent  [embarassed]

Offline William Herrold

  • Posts: 448
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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2012, 07:28 AM »
A big box of Band-Aids and a few tennis balls.
 

"I don't believe anything, but I have a lot of suspicions"
 R.A.W.

Offline kfitzsimons

  • Posts: 295
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2012, 08:23 AM »
Kind of funny. Probably one of the least expensive woodworking activities to get into, but probably the most intimidating. I love the look of Celtic lettering and knots. That's the goal.

Offline JJ Wavra

  • Posts: 246
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2012, 08:26 AM »
Kind of funny. Probably one of the least expensive woodworking activities to get into, but probably the most intimidating. I love the look of Celtic lettering and knots. That's the goal.


I sent you a pm let me know if I can help.
Jeff

Offline CDM

  • Posts: 93
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2012, 12:34 PM »
Bad bad bad bad bad...

It's raining today in Chicago, I'm getting booted from my two-hour woodworking window this afternoon, and I was planning to swing by my local Festool-and-other-stuff store.  So now instead of my planned small purchase I'll be eyeballing the carving tools and adding another wing to my storehouse of planned future woodworking exploration.

Offline CDM

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2012, 12:35 PM »
Bad!

Offline GaryLaroff

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 02:16 PM »
Kevin,

I do carving.  Most of my posts you have seen were with regard to hand planes, but I can get serious about carving and carving tools.  My preference is to do decorative carving in the 18th Century style with full-length tools.  I have over 400 carving tools.  The best of them for carving are the Pfeil “Swiss Made”, the 19th Century British Addis and the 19th Century American Buck Brothers.  Much of the time I only use the Pfeil tools.

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The vast majority of professional carvers and members of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (SAPFM) seem to use the full-size Pfeil Swiss Made tools.  In the U.S. these are sold exclusively through the Woodcraft stores, but once you know which tools you want, you can get them for considerably less through a few reputable Canadian sellers.

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Not to be overly sarcastic, but the woodcarving teachers who suggest, stock and sell other brands of tools tend to do so because they want to make money and aren’t allowed to sell the Pfeil brand.

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As blade guru Ron Hock says, with steel edge tools there is always a tradeoff between hardness (sharpness), ease of sharpening and rust resistance.  Usually a tool maker prioritizes one feature and sacrifices another.  The Pfeil tools seem to be the best quality compromise all around.

For tools a half inch (12mm) wide and narrower, the Pfeil tools are lighter, thinner, more delicate feeling and a sheer joy to use.  They come razor sharp, do not chip easily and don’t roll off your bench.  Their V-tool, as it arrives, is not shaped the best, but this is a minor point.

I would suggest you NOT buy the intermediate length tools that are marked with the letter D and only get the full size tools.  Since every set will contain a tool or two that you don’t need, if cash is tight you can spend the same amount of money on full-size tools and buy one less.

For general advice from an overview of tools and workbenches through detailed instruction on carving, the books by Chris Pye can’t be beat.

Later you will find that you don’t want to start carving until you have the tools you need, but you won’t know what tools you need until you start carving.  Try to start with the carving tools that are most likely to be useful in the widest variety of situations.

A good set to begin with would be: #3 gouges (6mm, 12mm, and 18mm) #5 gouges (6mm, 12mm, and 18mm) and #9 gouges (6mm, 10mm), a 10mm straight chisel and a 10mm V-tool (Swiss #12/10mm).  If you do only small work, perhaps skip the 18mm gouges at first.  Or, if you do only medium to large work, skip the 6mm #3 and #5.

For practice, start carving in bass wood.

Gary

Online waho6o9

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2012, 02:51 PM »
Thanks Gary, appreciate the advice.   [smile]

Offline GhostFist

  • Posts: 1556
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2012, 03:50 PM »
Alright, I might be getting into this, especially now that we have a resident advisor. What would be a good beginners book to purchase?

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2012, 06:04 PM »
I do carving.   Much of the time I only use the Pfeil tools.

Gary:
Yes, you certainly do carving! Nice work. Thanks for your advice.

In the U.S. these are sold exclusively through the Woodcraft stores, but once you know which tools you want, you can get them for considerably less through a few reputable Canadian sellers.

Would you mind letting me know who those dealers are?

Thanks again for your post.
BTW, those are nice cabinets you have for your tools. Did you make them?
Tim
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 06:32 PM by Tim Raleigh »

Offline GaryLaroff

  • Posts: 179
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2012, 08:40 PM »
Tim,

The dealer I buy from in Canada is Rick and Helen Wiebe at:

http://www.woodcarvingbiz.com/

They are located in British Columbia, which is due north of here, and I can get their shipments delivered in two days.  Note that their prices are in Canadian Dollars, which means prices in U.S. Dollars will usually be less.

There are other Canadian dealers who I've heard are good, but I have been buying from the Wiebes for about ten years.

As a rule, I prefer to buy locally and since we do not have sales tax here in Oregon, there is no sales tax advantage for me to buy from out of state or out of the country.  Then again, woodcarvingbiz.com has all the Pfeil tools in stock, the prices are low compared to the prices in the U.S., they ship immediately and provide excellent customer service.

As for the drawers, I choose to store carving tools in a single layer in shallow drawers.  Separations between tools is optimum, but non skid drawer liners and alternating tools end-for-end in crowded drawers also keeps tool edges from banging against each other.

The classiest drawers aren't shown and I built into a cabinet under my workbench with 15 shallow drawers.  The top photo of the Buck tools is a cabinet of eight drawers that looks nicer than it is.  It started as a surplus rolling cabinet of removable parts trays from the electronics industry and I added plywood fronts and some handles.

The bottom photo of mostly Pfeil tools is two side-by-side Sjoberg cabinets of four drawers each that is mounted in a Sjoberg carving bench.

Thanks for asking.

Gary

Offline JJ Wavra

  • Posts: 246
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2012, 08:47 PM »
I don't have much time but let me add that Swiss tools still come sharp but almost all are not ready to use from the get go.  I work at a woodcraft part time and over about the last year almost all of the Swiss tools have been coming in with a secondary bevel which has to be removed because the cutting angle is far to high as a result. I can not speak for the ones out of Canada.
Jeff

Offline kfitzsimons

  • Posts: 295
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2012, 11:32 PM »
Gary, thanks for the advice as usual. You've convinced me to get full size instead of intermediate. I'm waiting on two Pye books to study and I'll take the plunge. By the way, Tom L-N told me at WIA that they're working on a grooving plane. Hopefully ready this spring or summer. I'll see someone from L-N at the Cincinnati Hand Tool event in March and maybe they'll have more info.
     Kevin

Offline Steve R

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2012, 04:06 AM »
I guess I was way off... I was thinking buy a nice Prime Rib piece of beef and after cooking... you'd carve it...  [drooling]

maybe as I get older wood fiber will be more important to me.... [scared]

Cheers,
Steve
"A Festool is a tool, Marian; much better than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A Festool is still only as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.” ~ Ode to Shane (the movie)

Offline kfitzsimons

  • Posts: 295
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2012, 07:19 AM »
Thanks for all the advice guys. Everything suggested has been right on. I bought a couple of the Pye books which are really good. Very easy to follow and it makes getting into carving much less intimidating. I talked with Jeff Wavra on the phone and got very good guidance on tools. I followed Gary Laroff's advice and bought full sized Pfeil tools. Glad I listened to Gary because once I got the Pye books and read about how to hold the chisels, the intermediate size would have been too small. I bought three to begin messing with - a 8mm #1 skew, #12 8mm 60 degree V, and a #9 13mm gouge. Now I've got to get some wood and get carving. Big ww show in Columbus this weekend so I'll check it out.

Offline GaryLaroff

  • Posts: 179
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2012, 11:39 AM »
Kevin,

Good luck with your carving.  You bought three nice carving tools but there is only one gouge in the group and gouges are what you will carve with over 90 percent of the time.  The next time you feel like spending money on carving tools, consider getting a #3 and #5 sweep.  The #9 is a very deep gouge and is best for initial roughing out and for that specific profile.  Get yourself a chunk of basswood for carving.  A hardwood lumber store will sell basswood for a small fraction of what you would have to pay for the perfectly smoothed carving blocks at a woodworking or carving store.  Remember that you will be removing the entire surface, so it doesn't matter how rough it looks when you buy it.

Gary

Offline kfitzsimons

  • Posts: 295
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2012, 08:37 PM »
Gary, I'm going to order more chisels after this weekend. Had to start somewhere. I'll look for deals at the ww show and if there are none, I'll order from your northern neighbor.  I also got the two tools and equipment books, vol 1 & 2 by Pye. Just got those today. They're great and so thorough. Just the guidance I'll need. I made my small work bench, which is still limited to garage use (no winter use). So I'll probably make a very small (12x24 top) carving bench at the right height for carving for the basement.

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2012, 09:04 PM »
Tim,

The dealer I buy from in Canada is Rick and Helen Wiebe at:

http://www.woodcarvingbiz.com/

They are located in British Columbia, which is due north of here, and I can get their shipments delivered in two days.  Note that their prices are in Canadian Dollars, which means prices in U.S. Dollars will usually be less.


Thanks Gary great stuff.
Tim

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2012, 09:51 AM »
Thought I would post these for those who are interested...




Offline kfitzsimons

  • Posts: 295
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2012, 06:58 AM »
Tim, thanks for posting the videos. Very instructive. Post more if you find them.

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2012, 10:58 AM »
The Isle of Lewis Chessmen


Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #26 on: July 17, 2012, 07:32 PM »
http://www.marymaycarving.com/contact%20us.htmMary May Carving the Leaves for a Camellia Flower. Makes it look so easy.
Tim


Offline suds

  • Posts: 386
Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2012, 09:03 AM »
If you are looking for a carving knife I warn you to not look at the Helvie, BrandantR or Jim Mayes over at Woodcarving Illustrated forum!!! 
MFT's, Kapex, TS 55, Vac, 150 Rotrex, 300 Trion, Domino

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2014, 01:10 PM »
If you are fascinated by woodworking and carving then you might enjoy this BBC series on British woodwork from the Middle Ages
This section, is about Chippendale. The last video is actually the best, but unfortunately not much carving.

4/4 The Extraordinary Thomas Chippendale - Carved with Love
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« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 09:06 PM by Tim Raleigh »

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: What to buy to begin carving?
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2014, 09:04 PM »
Some more from this BBC series but with more carvers carving and talking about carving. Amazing Grinling Gibbons.

1/4The Glorious Grinling Gibbons - Carved with Love


2/4 The Glorious Grinling Gibbons - Carved with Love


3/4 The Glorious Grinling Gibbons - Carved with Love


4/4 The Glorious Grinling Gibbons - Carved with Love