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2 Heart-shaped Leaf

A heart-shaped, 'generic' leaf. The main tasks here are levelling the background and carving flowing lines. As a rule before oiling, waxing, or otherwise finishing a carving, test on a piece of mocked-up carving, in similar wood.

Note: Around 1:00 into the video I incorrectly name the tool as a #5 gouge. Apologies for that. The tool is in fact a #3 x 1/2in. (14mm).

Subscriber download: Working drawing and tool list (PDF)


| 03 June 2021 13:20

Thank you so much Chris for the swift and detailed reply! It’s great to know about the inner bevel issue: as a beginner it is tempting to write off a technique as too hard/advanced, when in fact it’s a failure of tool preparation.

Actually that one is a new gouge that I haven’t commissioned properly yet. I am testament to why it’s a bad idea to get boxed sets ... too many to deal with all at once.

| 02 June 2021 12:29

Andrew - Well spotted! I can't say why that tool has appeared there - or why someone hasn't spotted it before; it's not in the tool list for the project. I'm using the 1/2in. (14mm) #3 as you surmise. I'll add a correction in the text above; I'm afraid it's quite a fiddle to go back and change the popup itself.

As for your point: you could use a #5 gouge. In fact the curvature will give you a smoother look than going back and forth with a flatter gouge. If your gouge is digging in. then I would guess you do indeed have insufficient inner bevel. The inner bevel gives you a 'heel' on which to pivot out of the cut.

Thanks again for pointing out the error. My apologies and I hope this helps.

| 02 June 2021 08:34

At 1:00 the popup indicates the gouge used, inverted, for rounding over the edge of the leaves is a 20mm #5. It looks more like a very flat #3?

I am having trouble with my Stubai 12mm #3 for this sort of inverted use, its corners seem to kick up a touch and catch very easily when used inverted. Perhaps a bigger inner bevel helps? Or maybe a narrow Stubai #3 has a bit too much curvature and I need a 2 1/2! Fortunately my 20mm #3 is very flat and does this job fine.

| 09 April 2021 13:35

Thank you Chris. I have a Pfeil #2-20 and two Chris Pye #2 1/2's coming next week, so it'll be interesting to see the difference in the texture they provide. I'm a lifetime woodworker ............but, at age 74, a new woodcarver. I'm finding it quite enjoyable. Your videos are very helpful. I also just received my copy of your "Relief Carving Wood" book, so will have a go at carving a couple of fish.

| 09 April 2021 08:23

James - Well done! When you eventually use a flatter gouge you'll have a good idea of the different effect each gouge makes.
Bottom line, exactly how flat you make the background is your choice as a carver; there's no 'right' or 'wrong' here. Sometimes we want very textured surface; sometimes smooth.
What IS important, however, is your control over the carving tool and whatever facets you leave on the surface.

| 09 April 2021 03:08

The flattest gouge I have right now is a Pfeil #3-14, so that's what I used to level the background, after taking it down close with my Pfeil #7-14. I spent a lot of time with it and was quite pleased with how nice the background texture ended up looking. More texture than the Pfeil #2 would have provided, but very nice just the same.

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