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Bench Discipline 1

A 'discipline' is nothing more than a good habit - a consistent way of working that will lead to a more productive flow of work and, in this case, protect those vulnerable edges.

In this lesson I'll discuss organising your tools on the bench to speed up your carving and save a lot of time. Seriously. Adopt this habit!


| 16 January 2018 11:40

I have just watched this video but unfortunately can't put it to practice because I have limited space and my bench backs against the hut wall.
What I do is have magnetic racks on the wall in front of me, at the back of my work space, on which I store my gouges. This way I can see them all and replace them on the rack when finished with them. The racks are not expensive and one rack holds about six or seven, even more, depending on which gouges are being held.

| 26 October 2014 23:39

Great lesson, thanks Chris, Tool Feng Shui.

| 16 October 2014 02:42

Safety being the most important thing for me, I keep the 8 or 10 tools needed for the current project in a vertical rack enclosed in plexiglas. That way I can see the blades of my gouges and they are easy to pick from the rack by the handle. The reason for this : while I work, I frequently have one or two stray cats visiting me to chat about the world's affairs and discuss the quality of my work. Having only one tool (the one in my hand) with a naked blade I can make sure no one gets hurt.

However, your "bench discipline" is the one I would choose were it not for those visitors. ;o) Thanks for the excellent videos, Chris.

| 08 August 2013 16:00

I prefer to lay out my chisels facing me and do so at home but at my carving class, my instructor has us keep them facing away. I prefer your method but then, not everyone is as good as Chris Pye!

| 08 February 2012 16:49

Douglas - It is a good idea to make your own bench, to your own needs; and a carver's bench can be very simple. Volume 2 of my Woodcarving Tools, Materials & Equipment has lots of thoughts about it. *** Your back garden? I doubt it's illegal to carve in a back garden unless your house deeds etc forbid it, but you have to live with your neighbours - that's often the rub. Making a big noise or mess would be a cause for discontent. However negotiation and compromise will get you far...

| 07 February 2012 22:13

If I needed to make a carving bench, what sort of wood, screws / bolts or vices would I need? And where am I likely to get the materials for making the bench as custom benches don't appear to be suitable for carving. Also, would it be legal to carve in my back garden?

| 17 December 2011 15:18

Thanks for that clarification. I was laying all my tools out on the bench. It works so much better to use your system as you describe above. Your lessons are fantastic and very much appreciated.

| 20 November 2011 14:01

David - I want to be clear what I'm talking about here because it sounds as if you are mixing storing tools with using them: My tools are actually stored in drawers under my bench. I bring out the tools I need, as I need them, and these tools lie on the bench for the duration of the carving. When finished, I put them away (checked for sharpness) until next time. I don't like huge numbers of tools lying about and this approach helps me use as few tools as possible. But I do like the ones I'm using lying on the bench. As I hope I show, I gain a fluidity in picking them up and putting them down, a facility that I can't duplicate by having them in stands or racks. Putting working tools on the bench is how a lot of carvers work, and it's really just the husbanding of these tools on the bench that I'm dealing with in this video. At the end of the day we all have our own way of working and as long as your way efficiently supports your work, all to the good!

| 18 November 2011 23:56

This technique is not for me. My toolbox stands at the back of my bench with the tools hanging vertically. I made it so that every tool is secure, but visible and in easy reach. I also have a working rack that holds the five of my thirty or so tools that are in most frequent rotation for that particular carving.

| 11 April 2011 13:26

I used this method of disposal of the gouges since reading one of your books and found it great for the speed of the search for gouge, for the protection of fully equipped edges of the gouges. Now I order so spontaneously and I like seeing them, maybe a little obsessive, but it is always a delight to have the carving tools sharp and intact. Regards Umberto

| 11 April 2011 03:08

If you happen to knock a tool off the bench at the back, it is more likely that the handle will hit the floor first rather than the blade.

| 08 April 2011 10:52

I never thought to place the blades towards me, but it truly makes a lot of sense.

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