Sunday, 7 March 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 9 - Third Drawer Front

 So this third, narrow, drawer front has taken a bit of messing around to get the proportions right. I ended up carving a number of different sizes and layouts until it looked okay.

I tried to free hand the curves to start with, but my brain can't quite get it (yet) so I laid it out with compasses. 

I drew it out completely before starting to carve, it seemed to look about right. 

Done in much the same way as the strap work with stamping cuts made with the right curved chisel (in this case a carpenters gouge) and a mallet. I go round this and cut out the outline. 

Then the waste is removed before a few deatil cuts are added on the leaves. 

For the whole front I added a centre circle to have the handle and then a half circle to compete the look of the carving either end for symmetry. 

I've oiled this one and made a start marking out the forth drawer - this one will be the same design and pattern. Hopefully the whole thing should be finished next week! 

Monday, 1 March 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 8 - Second Drawer Front Finished

I've really enjoyed carving this strap work design. Nice and therapeutic to make, audio book on and just plod away making the cuts and removing the waste. 

Setting it out and getting the right proportions is probably the hardest bit. As well as making sure I had the chisels to match the curves. 

Removing the background took the most time. I left this as a heavily tooled finish. I would pop in and out the workshop (as I'm looking after the children at the moment full time) to steal 10 minutes with a gouge to try to do another panel. 

Fitted and oiled it certainly has the effect I was going for. 

I then went on to try to set out the two narrow drawers. This time trying S scrolls. I struggled to get the proportions right and I will flip this one and start again as it just doesn't look right. I'll use the rest of the space to try to get the pattern I want right first though.

As it is it needs a lot more detail and I just don't think it's symmetrical enough! But practice is always the answer so I'll be back out there again tonight hopefully! 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 21 February 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 7 - Second Drawer Front Started

 So the first drawer front is finished! 

I added a very simple border on the top and bottom just using the V tool and a shaped punch. I think it offsets the main carving quite well. I then gave it a coat of boiled linseed oil for a bit of protection. 

Once I had fitted this I then started machining up the second drawer front from the same slab of lime that the bottom drawer was made from. 

This time I'm going for what is called strap work. With struck lines, not carved with the V tool. The idea being that you use the chisels to dictate what the curves will be. 

Laying it out took a fair bit of time (and head scratching). Everything was divided up evenly to try and make it look right and symmetrical, although it will never truly be as it's carved by hand, but the eye wants it to be!

Once I got it laid out I then started to strike the lines with chisels and mallet blows. I plan to leave the lowered areas with the tooled marks on this one as I think it will be hard to get it to be a clean background. 

Watch this space to see how this one progresses! 

Sunday, 14 February 2021

52 Weeks of Carving - Week 6 - 17th Century Style Drawer Front - Part 2

This week I managed to spend a few evenings carving in the workshop. Was nice to lay out all the chisels and chip away, I also had a great audio book I was listening to so the perfect combination!  

I just worked on this one in a systematic way, making the curves fit the tools I have. 

I did make a few things difficult for myself, I shouldn't have left such a tight gap around the leaves - made it very difficult to tidy up. 

I added a bit of shape to the leaves before carving the veins into them. I think more practice with this type of shape and curve would be great. 

I then added detail to the two centre circles, I decided to make them rosettes like I had previously carved for practice - smaller so used a different range of chisels. 

Next I need to carve a decorative band top and bottom to finish this one off, but I have a feeling it will be simple as there is already a lot going on!

Anyone else carving much at the moment?

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Building A Paulk Smart Bench

 For years I've looked at building a Paulk style workbench. He has a few different designs and I always thought they looked well thought out and ideal for the types of carpentry I do. 

And for years I've kept working off a couple of trestles with some cls on. It's been fine, it means I can cut into the timber, replace them every 6 months or so but they don't stay very flat and it doesn't give me a great worksurface. 

Monday, 8 February 2021

52 Weeks of Carving - Week 5 - 17th Century Style Drawer Front

 So leaving my last project on the shelf for a few weeks I decided it was time to crack on with something else. 

My sharpening station is useable but still incomplete. When making it I thought that carved drawer fronts would work well with the carved legs and it has been my intention to make some that will work with it. 

As the legs were a 17th century style I decided to stick with this for the bigger drawer front (not sure if the smaller ones will or not). I like the "busy" style where every space is filled up. 

Although I know most were probably done in oak or walnut, nothing I had was suitable so I decided to go for [easy to carve] English Lime again. 

The plank had a fair bit of twist so I surfaced it and then ran it through the thicknesser. The max width of my machine (305mm). 

I then started to lay out the design, again the most important bit. A geometric design so it's essential to get this right, the smaller circles echo what's on the legs of the workbench. 

Simple work holding this time on my new MFT bench - just four dogs and some folding wedges. 

Lining in is mainly with a v tool, so doesn't require much force with this wood. Hard to get the curves looking even but quite a nice job to do in sequence, carving all the similar lines. 

By the end of yesterday I had a rough layout lined out. I'll now start to lower some other areas around the circles before working on the leaf pattern in the middle and adding detail. There will also be two decorative borders (top and bottom) but not sure on the design of these yet. 

Probably a bit much for a workbench - but great practice! 

Monday, 1 February 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 4 - Muffin Box Lid

It's air to say I'm not 100% happy with this. It looks a bit messy and there is a few things I'd alter about it if/when I do it again. But it works well as a practice piece and it's good to see it through. 

The base of the cake I made a bit of mess by crossing the lines over. I think I hit the mistakes but no that well. The piping on the cake should have curved more as well. 

I decided to texture the background with a stippled punch I have. I might stain this area darker and if I do it should pick up the punch work really well. 


So now I'm not sure if I should colour the wood or not to make it brighter. Maybe on a test piece. Of course now I have to build the box for the rest of the game I'm making the or the children - when that will happen is anyone's guess! I might completely remake the piece yet as I'm really not happy with it and know that the little things will bug me if I don't sort them out, if that is the case then I will use this one to experiment with colour - I have a set of bright wood dyes in a tool box that hasn't been used for a long time. 

Not sure what this next weeks carving work should be. Maybe a small sample piece, like Celtic knot work, or maybe to start to lay out the drawer fronts to my sharpening bench, which I plan to do in a 17th century style much in line with what Peter Follensbee does (although not as good obviously)! 

Monday, 25 January 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 3 - Muffin Much...

An incomplete one this last week, but I made a start on my next carving. 

My children play what they call "playdough bake off" this is like the bake off on the TV but with playdough. I wanted to make them a box with different themes and tasks inside and decided that having a carving on the top of the box might be nice. 

To start with I drew a simple design of a cupcake on a small block of lime. 

As this is to be a light relief carving I gauged the depth round the outside to rough out the work to. My phone ran out of battery at this point but the next task was to roughly line out the outline with the V tool. 

I then took down the background to a rough level - still needs work but I might texture it yet. The next step will be to add detail to the carving and try to make it look a bit more realistic. Time is tight at the moment as I'm home schooling the children during the day but trying to get out into the workshop each evening if I can (also good to put the heating on in the workshop for a few hours full blast!).

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 2 - Tool Box

It's my eldest daughter's birthday at the end of this week and as she loves helping outside and making things we thought it was about time she got some tools of her own. And then she'll need something to carry them in - time to build a tool box! 

I decided that as my daughter loves my wood carvings (she has to, I'm her dad) that I would carve her a design on the sides of the tool box. 

Monday, 11 January 2021

3d Printed Battery Mounts

A while ago I posted how much I loved Stealth Battery mounts for keeping my Makita batteries out the way. 

The only downside is that I no longer have enough of them for all my batteries. Luckily my friend has just got a 3d printer - time to ask for a favour! I found some files online and he printed them out. 

Straight off the printer they work perfectly, they don't have to do much other than hold a battery out the way but it does make it so much easier to organise and keep the workshop cleaner. And they didn't use much plastic to print them. 

 He's now going to print me some clamps for my MFT bench tops and then I'll have to think about what's after that! Lol - he's going to regret telling me he has it! 

What do you have that's been 3d printed or would like to see? 

Friday, 8 January 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 1

So to develop my carving I'm trying to make sure I keep practicing little and often. I've set myself the challenge to carve or turn at least once a week. 

A mirror I carved for my wife for Christmas

This doesn't have to be for very long, and doesn't have to be a whole project completed, but ideally be more "craft" than more usual work, but if I manage to combine the two than that's even better (and add it to things I'm selling on Etsy).

Week 1 -

I have decided to make a new workbench for the workshop. Although I love my MFT style workbench (and I plan to make a Paulk Smart Bench fairly soon to add to this), I want a solid top workbench that I can use as a dedicated sharpening bench.

In my old workshop I had a good set up but that was nearly 10 years ago and I never got round to setting up anything the same in my new one, and as these things always are they move on and methods change and develop. 

I need somewhere I can easily store and set up my grinders, somewhere for my hundreds of sharpening stones and slips and somewhere to store carving chisels in rolls. I figure a 4ft workbench with drawers would be perfect for this. I purchased some 2" (50mm) thick beech for the top, but decided that there was no need to use that timber for the legs as I already had some large chunks of tulip/poplar that would be perfect. 

As it was tulip I decided that I should probably use it as a good excuse to practice a bit more carving. A simple repetitive design is really medative to work on.

So with the frame assembled and the top on the bench is far from finished but it is useable and I like the look of the legs.

When I make the drawers I plant to carve the drawer fronts, I have some lime that is wide enough so just need to decide on some patterns to carve out, this should provide lots of opportunity to get some more of my 52 weeks of carving in the bag! 

Sunday, 27 December 2020

More Carving Practice

 Following on from my last post. I've managed to fit in some more carving practice over the Christmas period. 

Architectural carvings have always fascinated me and it's something I've always wanted to learn to be able to do myself. A rosette seemed like a good place to start, and was part of an online course I'm doing with carving. 

I decided after my first attempt to flip it over and try again, after all practice makes perfect and it's a good use of the wood. 

I've also had a bit of company while I've been in the workshop - my youngest has discovered the joys of a piece of wood, a hammer and a handful of nails - lots of entertainment! 

The second carving I decided to make up a few leather strops to get the keenest edge possible on the tools - used with some homemade stropping/honing paste. 

It's amazing how much faster the second one was compared to the first one. Hopefully the speed will come after more practice. 

Anyone else do small pieces of carving just for practice?

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