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4-4 Rocking Cuts

'Rocking' cuts. Sounds so cool!

Old carvers - and this doesn't include me yet of course - used the expression 'rocking the tool through its cut'  as a way to describe an action that is another fundamental way of working you'll be using again and again.


| 17 April 2019 14:42

Jof - It's not just important here but important as a good general way of carving.
All (what I call) 'true' gouges have a 'sweep': an arc which is part of a circle - thus you can make a gouge stab in a circle, the size of which depends on the particular sweep and width. Yes? This 'rocking' motion makes good use of that fact:

When you 'rock' a gouge through its cut, you rotate the handle so the cutting edge follows and sits in the arc which is its sweep. As you do this you are slicing across the fibres, and a slicing cut is always a more efficient and cleaner way of working, compared with pushing the tool straight along, which is called a 'running' cut. You are right in that the exit cut will be cleaner if you rock the tool.

There is a place for both types of cut. Generally, running cuts are longer. Rocking cuts are shorter and often used for finishing off the running cut. You want to have both in your repertoire, to a point when you don't really think about the difference, just carve.
Good question! Hope this helps.

| 14 April 2019 10:07

Hi Chris. Why is the rocking motion important here? I'm not seeing night and day between straight and rocking cuts - which I suspect is mostly due needing practice - but if I were to hazard a guess the the quality of the exit part of the cut seems to be better. Is that right?

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