Essential Wood Carving Tips
Any experienced wood carver will be able to provide you with essential wood carving tips that can make a huge difference to your hobby. These tips are not just about handling your tools, but also about picking the right kind of tools, holding techniques, usage techniques and a lot more. Every hobbyist or professional has their own set of technique that they master over time; this is a collection of those essential wood carving tips from some of the masters of the game.
Sizing up your Wood Carving Tools
When you head into the store to buy your wood carving tools for the first time, you might get confused with the choices. Like everything else, wood carving tools have numbers too and one of the most essential wood carving tips for buying these tools is to learn just three of those numbers, within that numbering system. Learn the numbers for either extremes and learn the number for the one right in the middle. Confused? Well, think about it - If you are picking wood carving gouges, then they are numbered from 1 through 11.
No. 1 is almost flat while no.11 has the greatest curve, almost U-shaped even! No.5 tends to be the middle one here and if you remember these three, then depending on your requirements and project, you will be able to quickly guide yourself towards the direction that will give you the tool number that will fit your project. If you have to buy one, to begin with, always buy the middle-number and it shall serve you well. This is for the gouges - for carving tools, ratings are based on the width of the tools, along with the number.
So, you could have a No.5 chisel that's 3mm wide or 30 mm wide, depending on what you need it for. All essential wood carving tips will tell you to buy the biggest chisel that you can get your hands on, to do a specific task. That will always make your work cleaner, better and faster. There are no rules about which chisel can do what and you should just go with what feels right than what anyone tells you.
Using Mallets in Wood Carving
While the use of a mallet in wood carving might seem quite similar to that of using a hammer to drive in a nail, that's where the similarity ends. One of the most essential wood carving tips about mallets has nothing to do with how you hold them or use them - it has more to do with how you pick the material your mallet is made of. Steel hammers always ruin the handles of your carving tools and that is why most mallets are made with wooden-heads.
The material is brilliant when it comes to absorb the impact of hitting the back of the chisel. As a result, there's no bounce-back, vibration or improper impact on the chisel. Your cuts, thus, are clean, sharp and just how you want it. A sculptor's mallet is also a great choice - they are generally round-like in shape and have no front or back. They, too, give you great control and precision when it comes to applying force to the chisel.
If you find urethane mallets, there isn't too much to worry about - they should do the job quite well. However, whatever you do, never buy a bronze or a rubber mallet. Bronze mallets will destroy the handles or backs of your tools, thereby ruining the quality of control you get when holding them or using them with your hands. The weight of the mallet is also the next decisive element you need to worry about and the general rule to follow is - the bigger the project, the heavier your mallet should be.
Caring for your Wood Carving Tools
At the end of each day, when you are ready to put away your tools, you need to take care of every single detail. Every experienced wood carver will tell you that you need to get a good tool box for your carving tools. This isn't like a hardware tool box, but is something slightly more sophisticated and less likely to cause damage to your wood carving tools. Even the most essential wood carving tips tend to overlook this important aspect of tool-storage because most tend to focus on usage and techniques, however a good wooden case should hold you up quite well.
If you don't have a box, use a chisel roll or simpler still, just wrap your tools into an old towel. Basically, the idea is to stop letting them bang against each other when being moved around. Just don't throw them around because even the best wood-carver in the world is useless without tools.
These are some essential wood carving tips that are aimed at those who are either starting off in the hobby or finding their way through it. It is never too late to learn something new and hopefully, these essential wood carving tips will help you understand and improve upon your hobby-habits!