First bowl carving tools - which ones?

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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:54 pm

Yes, of course, car paintwork requires very fine paper, great idea, thanks. We do get 3M products here too.

I made 2 new Ben Orford style "sharpening sticks" this morning. In his excellent YouTube vide, he suggests (if I recall correctly): 1 new-ish 600 grit, 1 old 600 grit (finer), a strop (or possibly 2 strops one with grinding paste and one clean):
Sharpening sticks strops #1.jpg
The image shows 600 grit wet & dry, my old seude strop (smeared with Autosolv chrome polish & grinding paste) and my new strop.
Sharpening sticks strops #1.jpg (165.18 KiB) Viewed 8671 times

The leather comes from torn old welding gauntlets, used for wood-cutting. As Ben suggested, I used a tube of contact adhesive for the leather strops (£1 for a large tube from the local cheap hardware shop) and some of my son's spray adhesive ("no charge" - about £4 to buy?) for the 600 grit wet & dry paper (10p/18p/£1 a sheet - depending on where/how you buy it).

The metal ring is a thick, stainless steel cookie-cutter from the local charity shop - I wonder if I might be able to make it into a scorp with some grinding and a handle?

I tried the sharpening sticks out on my father's old draw knife and they have taken the already freshly sharp blade (from my little 250 grit wet bench grinder) to a whole new level of sharpness. The scratches/abrasions/pits on the edge have largely gone now being replaced with a more mirror-like finish - I think a finer paper (e.g. old 600 grit/1200+) would probably be worthwhile to get that ultimate clean edge. After stropping I noticed a drop of blood on the blade - must have nicked myself but didn't even feel or notice it! So big thanks to you guys and Ben Orford - well worth sticking with and almost certainly the best, least expensive introduction to serious sharpening. :)

[BTW I've added 3 new images of the oiled & waxed Tonewood #3 to my post on the previous page, P6]
Last edited by ToneWood on Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Finishing the spoon / HK Spoon knife

Postby ToneWood » Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:28 pm

I finally got around to oiling my first spoon this morning. I gave it a final scrape but could not resist the temptation to tweak it with a knife. I thinned the base of the neck and added an ergonomic thumb rest on the top and a more subtle groove & flats to the underside to fit my fingers - of course when I passed it to my wife to make sure it fit her grip, she held the spoon entirely differently :D. It it more for display than use though - and she can always use it to learn how to hold a spoon properly :D (Whack!)
spoon2.jpg
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I also hollowed out the spoon's bowl and flattened the top a little more. This gave me the chance to try out the Hans Karlsson spoon knife for the first time. It is quite simply brilliant! Yes, sharp of course, but the curve shape was the main thing, just perfect for cutting across the grain of the bowl (which I believe is the preferred technique) and it also work well down the grain, just to tweak the ends. Certainly the blade shape is a significant improvement on my inexpensive, sharp and functional Mora 164 (although apparently almost all other hook knives are*). The bowl of the spoon is now very thin - thinner than I planned but that's fine,it's still structurally sound.
spoon1.jpg
Clearly I was wrong about the spoon coming from the same limb as the bowl, the colours are quite different.
spoon1.jpg (158.86 KiB) Viewed 8660 times

I also found a new, unused counter-sink tool, which apparently I bought a few years ago for £3. I used the smallest of the 3 heads to countersink/clean the front and back of the hole in the top of the spoon's handle; it improved the hole but not as well as I had hoped & expected.

Unfortunately, like many carved spoons, the size and shape reminds me somewhat of a plastic spade from a child's bucket & spade beach set, so I rounded the bowl to try to reduce that impression. Perhaps it is unavoidable, being a simply shaped, popular childhood toy, they probably make quite a deep impression.

*I hope try and buy some British craftsman made tools in the future. Something by Nic and Ben Orford (perhaps the large native American style crook knife?).
Last edited by ToneWood on Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Next project: Finding/selecting wood / next spoon / ladle

Postby ToneWood » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:49 pm

Busy yesterday & this morning but managed a quick hunt round for a suitable log to make a bowl or a bowlmate this afternoon but, as yet, no joy.

However, I have the unused halves of my current bowl & spoon. I've marked out a new spoon design with a "modernist" large triangle on the end of the shaft
- however the rather short log only lends itself to a broad bowl, which I fear will end up looking rather like a child's plastic beach spade again :(.
However, I think making the bowl very round rather than the more normal oval might help and seems to fit the rather geometric design, as it is sketched
out on the log. Anyway, I notice that the family prefer to use our round soup spoons rather than the more traditional oval desert spoons, when given the choice;
for some reason they seem easier/better. However, I didn't feel like working on such a similar spoon so soon...

Inverted Tonewood3 + spoon#1 edited.jpg
Inverted Tonewood3 + spoon#1 edited.jpg (118.58 KiB) Viewed 8612 times


So I started looking through the small logs that my father-in-law gave me last week. A long one - limewood I think - with two shallow kinks in it
caught my eye. Long enough to make a long, deep ladle, unfortunately it cannot be symmetrical, in fact it will be quite radically offset/asymmetrical
but nothing wrong with that - my asymmetric grind axe has given me a new perspective on symmetry :D. Chopping this odd shaped log is challenging
- with a major emphasis on retaining all of my fingers. I've managed to take the top 1/3 off with my old small axe, the new Lidl axe (which is now
very sharp and starting to develop an asymmetric grind :)), splitting wedge and sledge hammer (what my father's tools lacked in finesse they made up
for in mass - the hammer is huge, 10lb? - a 2lb lump hammer would have sufficed*). The wood is fresh, wet and surprisingly fibrous - like stringy chicken,
not something I expected from lime wood.

*Yet another project: I need to make one of those big, round-wood/branch "mallets" I see folk using to hammer froes and splitting axes, so as not to damage the tool.
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:42 pm

Starting shaping up my next project: a ladle from a doubly-kinked branch of lime wood that was given to me. The size and shape of the branch was crying out to be a ladle. The basic shape has taken form now - mostly done with the wonderful Gransfor Swedish Carving axe (I was wrong - it is still razor sharp, I just strop it with autosolve and then a clean pig skin strop [see pics above]). I made a few tweaks with my £5 Lidl's axe (which is also wonderfully sharp and a joy to use now) - which allows for greater control on detail.

Rough Ladle back.jpg
Rough Ladle back.jpg (107.48 KiB) Viewed 8612 times


I have just started to move over to the knives. The Mora 106, and other tools, cut easily through this lime-wood - sometimes it feels not much harder than cutting through a raw potato.
I also started on the bowl - which will be steep & deep if all goes well - with the HK spoon knife (and a little help from the little Mora 120). I was just thinking how well things were going when the spoon-knife slipped into the fleshy part of my palm under the thumb :(. Well, at least its a fine, clean cut.

Rough Ladle front.jpg
Rough Ladle front.jpg (90.91 KiB) Viewed 8612 times


ToneWood wrote:...
...I've marked out a new spoon design with a "modernist" large triangle on the end of the shaft
- however the rather short log only lends itself to a broad bowl, which I fear will end up looking rather like a child's plastic beach spade again :(.
However, I think making the bowl very round rather than the more normal oval might help and seems to fit the rather geometric design, as it is sketched
out on the log....
...

Lucky I left that log with the sketched out spoon laying around - it gave me an opportunity to review the design. I now reckon it might be more Art Deco than modernist :D.
More importantly, I realised that the bowl cannot be so large (I have it drawn the the edges of the flat face of the log) because this is half of branch/cylinder, and not a rectangular block.
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:34 pm

I finished most of the ladle carving today. I had a rough basic design and allowed the wood to dictate the details. Towards the end I was struggling to determine how best to finish the top half of the handle. I cut a rather wacky groove into the right-side of the rather wide top section. Then I played with it - uncomfortable. So I set about making the grip a little more ergonomic, like my earlier fish slice, I figured there would be at least 2 normal grips, so I added grooves, etc. for each -- but really looking for an interesting shape. Well, it still looks wacky. I was going to cut off the grooves and try to make a more elegant, more conventional handle - there looked like there was just enough wood width ways to pull it off. But I showed it to the wife unit and she said, no, leave it wacky (former art student, what can I say).
Wacky ladle plan-view with knives.jpg
Big wacky ladle
Wacky ladle plan-view with knives.jpg (142.59 KiB) Viewed 8612 times
Ladle side-elevation with HK hook-knife & lime wood log.jpg
The bowl is quite deep - 1.25" deep inside. The inside of the bowl is ~3" long x 2.5" wide.
Ladle side-elevation with HK hook-knife & lime wood log.jpg (113.78 KiB) Viewed 8612 times


I was not possible to finish the spoon, or even finish carving it yet - the lime-wood is just too stringy and fibrous at the moment. I'll leave it to dry on the boiler as usual, checking it a couple of times a day and turning (otherwise the wood dries out on one side while the other remains wet to the touch).
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Flexcut Slip Strop / gouge sharpening

Postby ToneWood » Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:24 pm

Anybody use one of these, I think it is the same product used on the gouge sharpening webpage [link posted a page or two back]:
Slipstrop by Flexcut (Flexcut make a lot of small carving knives, US company I think).
ImageImage

Looks like it might be a bit small for our big, broad bowl gouges - perhaps a big round dowel (per Ben Orford)(/broom handle!) would be better suited?

BTW the Ben Orford sharpening stick system (shown above) is working out well for me. I use the strops mostly but fall back to the 600 grit paper when there is visible damage to the edge. I gave the Mora knives a quick touch-up on the 600 grit this morning, followed by autosolv strop, followed by dry strop - by which time the finish is mirror-like again (my definition of "mirror-finish" may be less demanding than, say, Nic's ;)).
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby Davie Crockett » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:44 pm

Anybody use one of these?


I use one for a flexcut carving jack. It's a little small for any other gouges, but it certainly does the trick for the jack.
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...Gouges / Roughened axe-handles/ Asymmetric axe grind

Postby ToneWood » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:11 pm

Thanks Davy. I have 1 or 2 small old gouges that are in shocking condition that it would probably be good for (e.g. about 1/2" wide), I've started to try try and flatten and regrind them but possibly not worth spending money on them (I'm sure better tools have been thrown away in the past - in fact I know they have :().

Roughened axe-handles
By the way, I have an anti-que (i.e. old) huge, very coarse rasp that I picked up a few years ago from the local charity shop. I had no use for it then and they wanted rather more for it than I wanted to pay (they had a box load of similar tools and probably ended up throwing the rest away :( ) - but I had a strange feeling that I would never see such tools again and that I should buy at least one, so I bought the biggest, roughest, ugliest one there :D. Anyway, I recently used it to rough up the polyurethane coated handle on my cheap (but very effective) 8lb American splitting maul - inspired by the crafty/tactile factory-roughened handle on my wonderful Granfor's Swedish carving axe. The maul feels much better now, less likely to slip out of my hands. This week I decided to do the same to "my second finest carving axe" (by Lidl's/China :D). I roughened it most in the areas that Gransfor Bruks does but I also roughened-up other areas that I commonly grip. I then rubbed a little raw linseed oil in and wiped off the excess (don't want a slippery axe handle!). It really has given the axe a "second step up" in look and feel (the major sharpening and the on-going move to a right-hand side-axe bias* being the first step up). It really is starting to feel like "my" axe, and a carving axe at that, rather than some cheap (but functional), anonymous, mass-produced kindling-splitter.


Asymmetric Axe Grind
*I discovered a couple of drawbacks to the asymmetric grind:
1. It becomes more difficult to turn out of a cut, when carving - something Robin Wood alluded to. Not too bad as yet, as the bias is not (yet) extreme.
2. It is far more difficult to cut into the left-side of a piece of wood. This is not something I normally/naturally do and, actually, is something I probably try to avoid. However, at the weekend, I wanted to make a few, small, tidying cuts to the inside of my wheelbarrow repair [see Guardian story thread] - the metal end-bracket provided a good safety stop between me and the axe, and I stood to the side. I was surprised to find the axe really didn't want to cut in that way, because of the shallower grind of the right-hand bevel. I ended up figuring out a rather contorted way to cut it as if it were a right side (if that hadn't worked, I would have used a carving knife). Presumably this is why Carpenter's axes have symmetric bevels (...starting to make the case for a (Husqvarna-Whettlings Carpenters axe? Better not. :D)

So, not sure yet whether to continue to bias the Lidl axe's edge, restore it gradually to a more conventional, symmetrical grind (or, more likely, a deeper carvers symmetric grind), or just leave it as-is. On balance, I am enjoying this [£5 Lidl] axe the way it is now, so will probably leave it as-is for now.
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Re: ...Gouges / Roughened axe-handles/ Asymmetric axe grind

Postby Ian S » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:13 pm

ToneWood wrote:*I discovered a couple of drawbacks to the asymmetric grind....2. It is far more difficult to cut into the left-side of a piece of wood.


And though you don't say so, I'll bet you're awfy glad that you didn't buy a left-hand ground carver as you were thinking about, because if a right hand grind is lousy for left hand cuts, a left hand grind would be lousy for right hand cuts....

(It sounds better with my Scottish accent - An' though ye dinnae say so, ah'll bet ye're awfy glad ye didnae buy a left-hand groond carver as ye were thinkin' aboot).

Cheers
How sharp is sharp enough?
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:22 pm

:D You know I had terrible trouble understanding Scottish accents when I first returned from the USA. I think I've gotten used to them again now though - I understand your comment fine.

I wasn't looking for a left-hand grind as such, I was looking for an axe to suit my right-handedness and was just confused by that one website. Probably unlikely that I would have purchased one, more likely I would not have purchased at all (my default behaviour). But yes, absolutely delighted with the right-handed carving axe :) - so much so that I am grinding my second axe that way too, as described above. I see that Woodland Craft Supplies now offer left, right and symmetrical options. I think Robin Wood now recommends the symmetrical grind because of a change in the biased grinds. However, I'm perfectly happy with mine - each option has (fairly subtle) advantages/disadvantages and you can change the bias (as I believe you have already done) gradually over time to suit you, if you feel the need.

There are a couple of benefits to biting the bullet and "investing" in the Gransfor Bruks Swedish carving axe, one that I anticipated: it diminishes your desire and need to buy other axes, which at the end of it all would end up costing more in total. And one that I didn't: it shows you how good an axe can be. For example, I had no idea an axe could ever be that sharp - spurred on by that revelation, I have sharpened my other axe way beyond what I originally thought possible, and I've also biased it to my right-handedness. I've also roughed up the handles of 2 other axes, which I think improves the look, feel and grip. The next time I have to re-handle an axe (I've re-handled more tools in the last 2 years or so than in the entire rest of my life - can't see the point of leaving tools without useable handles), I hope to carve something a bit special/unusual, inspired by the Gransfor axe handles (and Robin Wood's video tutorial).
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Pre-finish Ladle pics

Postby ToneWood » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:02 am

Ladle
The ladle, part finished. I have since scraped it again and, at wife's request, sanded it :(:
Ladle pre-finishing - front.jpg
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Ladle pre-finishing - back.jpg
Ladle pre-finishing - back.jpg (154.21 KiB) Viewed 8539 times
Last edited by ToneWood on Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wacky fish ladle - sanded

Postby ToneWood » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:18 am

Ladle sanded:
Frosty fish ladle & sanding blocks - front.jpg
Frosty fish ladle & sanding blocks - front.jpg (143.89 KiB) Viewed 8537 times
Frosty fish ladle -back.jpg
Frosty fish ladle -back.jpg (179.27 KiB) Viewed 8537 times

Frosty fish ladle -back -detail.jpg
Frosty fish ladle -back -detail.jpg (123.33 KiB) Viewed 8537 times
Frosty fish ladle - front -detail.jpg
Frosty fish ladle - front -detail.jpg (72.13 KiB) Viewed 8537 times

One more sanding & then oil?
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:50 am

I bought some similar to these (possibly Toolzone brand) as part of a big order of cheap hardware years ago as "woodcarving tools". They looked like feeble toys when they showed up but I have for a while suspected that they are actually quite specialized tools intended for something quite specific (chip carving perhaps?). Reading the reviews on Amazon kind of supports that: two buyers think they are rubbish and a third thinks they are the bargain of the century. I'll need to dig around to find mine (BTW I found my large Sheffield steel meat-carving knife - now extra-large wood carving knife :)).
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000 ... B0001K9SFC
Image
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USA: Bowl/dog-leg gouge / gouge waterstones (ebay)

Postby ToneWood » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:51 am

Something for our American friends?
Noticed this on ebay, it's in the USA: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LARGE-NO-28-F ... 0662115447 Image
Ditto: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-Sentora-Sli ... 256ed2ab56 Image
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Funky Bass Ladle

Postby ToneWood » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:21 pm

I've started calling the wacky fish ladle's handle design reminds me of a large steelhead breaking the water surface (as seen "running" in Washington State, USA) - but as it is lime wood (basswood in the USA) and I generally like to fish for the beautiful sea bass, the name Bass Ladle seems appropriate. If I gain detailing skills later, I might even cut a gill slot & perhaps even some scales/fins - who knows!
BassLadle1.jpg
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BassLadle1-2.jpg
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BassLadle1-mug, bowl.jpg
BassLadle1-mug, bowl.jpg (122.97 KiB) Viewed 8504 times

UPDATE: After re-working 3 months later (July 19th 2012):
Image
[More at: viewtopic.php?f=26&t=2354&start=15 ]
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