Backgrounds don't have to be engineeringly flat, just look flat: that is, even and passing around and through the subject in a logical, believable way. Trust your eyes.
Shortbent (spoon) gouges and skew chisels: I've put details of the tools I use in the download. When these shortbent are flat gouges or chisels they are known as 'grounders' or 'grounding tools'.
| 01 April 2019 00:57
Thank you for your quick reply, Chis. I’m thinking I’ll stick with basswood if I try this project. BTW, great site, great instruction, and wonderful projects — you’re the best, Chris.
| 31 March 2019 09:55
Carollane - You can, but here's the issue: when you hit a shortbent gouge with a mallet, the force - the stress - has to travel around that bend in the metal, and you can potentially snap the shank right there.
All tools are different but over zealous mallet use on a light, shortbent tool with a brittle or tight bend is not a good idea.
On the other hand, the problem diminishes with bigger or heftier shortbents with a stronger, more resilient shanks; less tight bends and lighter mallet work. (Thus you can buy quite sizeable sculptural shortbents that you can hit with a mallet with impunity.)
There isn't a straight answer but I hope this helps you understand the problem. By all means try a mallet with what you've got. Take it easy to begin with. And don't forget: it's just a piece of metal and not the end of the day if you do damage it!
| 31 March 2019 04:59
Is it possible to use the short bent gouge with a mallet in harder wood? It looks like you are pushing the gouge forward with your lower hand but with a mallet it seems that the direction of the force would be straight down the line of the handle and you would not be able to get such a nice flat cut.