What's the first thing to do? Stop! Carving wood has a lot of what we may call the 'inner game'. In other words, the actual carving is an outer effect of inner processes: thinking about what you are doing; visualising the form underneath; identifying where to start, where to go, and so on.
So this is where we'll start. Then we'll begin.
| 31 July 2015 11:21
Jo - It's quite standard to have the grain vertical in faces. This means you cut across the grain in the 'valley' between nose and eyeball rather than along it, and that's by far the easier option. I think the issue might be in the tool you are using. You want a shortbent gouge that's shortbent (spoon) enough and with a rounded heel - in fact you can lose the heel entirely and form a smooth curve to the bevel from the cutting edge to the blade proper. This will help the cut arc across the valley; with a heel, there is a tendency to lever and prise fibres rather than cut them. Also make sure you make a slicing cut, don't just push the edge straight in.As you get to the final surface take small, light cuts. Hope this helps!
| 30 July 2015 15:45
Hi Chris - I wonder if there is a particular advantage to grain direction on this piece. I am having more difficulty than I thought possible getting the smooth transition between the high spot of the nose and the "valley" of the eye high spot. The grain is giving me fits!
| 24 December 2014 12:37
Laurent - That's an interesting question! It makes great sense to cut away wood and THEN draw, rather than immediately lose your drawing to the gouge. And it can also be a better way of carving: the drawing is only really ever a guide into the wood. However, since I'd always need SOME lines to start with and my desktop printer/copier is so quick, it's often easiest just to stick paper to wood these days rather than draw, especially on the flat surface of a relief carving. In these videos specifically though, I glue on the paper primarily so you can see clearly what I am doing and where I am going. When I'm well into the carving, the paper also tells you what's left of the original wood surface. You'll see me get the pencil out and draw on the wood later.
| 18 December 2014 03:44
Hi chris, would it be better if we do the bosting part before drawing the whole design on wood? Wouldn't it save time/paper+glue?