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4 Undercutting

Before undercutting, we need to refine the carving a bit more: cleaning up the hollows, setting in the edges and punching in the junctions. All this will follow easily from the earlier work we did. In fact, one of the amazing things about this style is how the clouds seem to fall off the carving tool:

The tools are the carving.

Depending on how hollow you make the 'petals', you may or may not need a shortbent (spoon) gouge.

What's important to remember in this (and many other carvings) is that your initial drawing was just that, a 2-dimensional drawing. Not the carving. As you've been working, I hope you've felt free to adapt the clouds to the tools you have.

Subscriber download: Japanese Clouds - Working Drawing and Tool List


| 26 February 2022 13:07

Duh! Of course! And thanks.
I made a bow saw, but the blades have been languishing in Toronto since just before the pandemic: hopefully, my brother will make it over here in the summer, bringing the Gramercy blades with him.
Until then, though, I'll do as you recommend in the first paragraph (which is much clearer than what I had in mind--whatever that was).

| 26 February 2022 09:51

Michael - Good question. And that sounds like a plan! I'm not sure if you are saying this but, yes, trim away as much as possible with your hand saw, then lower the remaining wood around the outline of the subject as if it were a background. Complete your carving, then use your coping saw to remove the final waste around the carving, much easier now as the wood is so much thinner.

Those bandsawless carvers of olden days used wooden 'frame saws' (also called bow saws), which really look like something from the Bronze Age and have been, and are still, used by many cultures. Indeed, when I started carving, I didn't have a bandsaw and happily used one of them for quite a few years. I still have it for 'emergencies'.

If you search for 'wooden frame saws', you'll find they are still made along with replacement blades. They vary in size, build quality and 'reach', and thus price.
Frame saws are pretty efficient with a sharp blade. You can pop the blade off like a coping saw and thread it through a hole for internal spaces; also the blade. can be rotated like a coping saw.
The bigger the saw, the wider the blade so you need to look at how you want to use it. My frame saw had a 1/4in. (6mm) blade which was good for the sorts of curves we carvers work with. The wider the blade the more it's intended for straight lines.

Anyway, I think one of those might help!

| 25 February 2022 15:03

Hello Maestro Chris,
A question: As I don't have easy access to a bandsaw,and while I could do the outline with the coping saw, could I just leave a rough outline with my handsaw and then set in further down the line? I ask, as there won't be much of the outside left when we're done.
What did the carvers of old do, I wonder, being bandsawless?

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