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The Backing off Grip

It looks like a one-handed grip - and I'm always saying, 'Both hands on the gouge' - but in fact it's two. Or, rather a hand and a thumb.

This lesson is taken from the Moth Project - you can view the whole project here - and I've singled it because this grip is a really useful one to know and you can see it in action really clearly here.

I use tools like this when I need to support a delicate piece of carving against the pressure of the carving tool. Commonly, this happens when I'm 'backing off' a carving towards the end.

Quick definition: 'Undercutting' happens from the front. 'Backing off' or 'back cutting' is sort of the same thing but you are literally able work from the back of the carving.


| 21 May 2018 16:17

Gordon - You mean about 6:30 where I put the gouges down blades away and pretty close to the other edges? I'd claim being distracted by filming in my defence but it's a good observation and you are quite right - I'm only human!

| 21 May 2018 04:09

Chris, I just watched this useful video in which you fail to follow your own bench discipline. We're all human!

I probably would not have commented, except that I watched both the BD videos immediately before viewing this one.

| 27 October 2014 14:14

Dermot - I usually sand the upper surface because dead smooth really brings out the figure in the wood - and you really want that - and leave the underside cleany finished off from my flat gouges - I'm lazy; I don't want to do more work than I need to, especially where it won't be seen!

| 26 October 2014 23:44

Chris, I suppose "Clean Cut" is preferred when carving rather sanding the whole wing ?

| 26 October 2014 15:41

Dermot - For 'clean' read 'cleanly cut'; in other words, no tearing or digging in, just nice clean cutting. You can certainly leave facets but these want to be light or shallow, got as you work over your surface with flat gouges. The whole surface wants to look integrated rather than bumpy..

| 25 October 2014 22:38

Thanks for the great Back Off Grip explanation Chris.
A question about the butterfly wing........
When you refer to "Clean" do you mean that the wing should be smoothly cut with no bumps using the chisels.

| 09 August 2013 13:55

Henry - Thanks for that observation/question. It's all about control. If you practise mindfully what I show you: keeping fingers etc BEHIND the vector (direction and force) of the blade; pivoting on the thumb; tight, controlled slicing movements; and, of course a properly sharpened tool, you can't cut yourself. Can you see that? All the grips and ways of working that I demonstrate on this site have control - and a deep portion of safety - at their heart. I don't like wearing gloves because I lose sensitivity, which for me is a big element of control and the joy I have in carving. But that's me. You are quite right to mention gloves and, no question, if you feel safer or more comfortable wearing protective gloves, then do.

| 08 August 2013 03:07

I love the videos but one in this one in particular why you are not wearing a carving glove which would prevent a trip to the hospital if you slipped.

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