Carving Around the Corner
Thinking about Tools:
2 Curving with Corners
That carvers remove the corners of their gouges always amazes me. And not just because they've paid for them!
There's an idea that, if the corners are rounded, your gouge won't dig into the wood. Or, rather, if it does, there will be less tearing of the wood fibres. But this really is fake news, so to speak. Whether you chew up the wood fibres or not is all about how you handle the tools: technique. And, yes, there are different styles of carving but it's perfectly possible to carve cleanly with your gouge corners present, square and sharp, which I do all the time,
But, whatever, that's not what I want to tell you about here, which is that there is another wonderful reason for keeping those sharp corners...
Think about your skew chisel, also called a 'corner chisel' by carvers (to differentiate for the tool used by woodturners) for obvious reasons:
You could consider that pointy tip of the skew like a knife, with the handle cranked round at 90 degrees. It's obviously very useful for getting into deep corners and junctions and cleaning them up. Indeed, so useful is this function that a skew chisel is always to be found ready and waiting on my bench.
But the skew chisel has got it's limitations: The cutting edge is straight, heel to point, and it's got a long straight shank. Either of these factors can stop that knife-like point getting into curved recesses.
And this is where the corners of your gouge come in...
Look at the top photo: I'm scooping around with the gouge bevel resting on the concave surface in a hollow while the sharp corner executes a curving cut into the junction.
A straight skew could only come in vertically, but would have no chance meeting the junction with a side cut like this - the wood would get in the way.
But you can, more often than not, by treating the corners of your gouge like a curved 'pointy knife'.
Amazing! You get 2 curved skew chisels with every gouge you buy. And there they are, often ready in your hand as you are working, ready to get you out of a tricky spot. This is a great technique to have under your belt
Please don't just read this. Go away and try it. Really understand what I'm getting at.
And keep those beautiful corners! .