Friday, November 19, 2010

The Cleaver

Here's my latest go at knife making.  I call it the Cleaver.

Many carvers out there are using the Stanley utility knife for their knife of choice and a few years ago I gave it a try.  I admit that I liked the utility blade shape with its wedge point and broad width, not to mention the thinness of the blade.  The only problem I had with the utility knife was the handle.  A cold, hard metal handle just wasn't comforatable so I gave up using it. 

Tip from the Stump: make sure when buying or using a knife that it fits your hand and is comfortable to use.  A poor fitting handle will cause blisters and greatly reduce the quality of your carving experience.

The thought occured to me recently that I could use the tool steel that I have been using for my custom knife work to fashion a blade with the same profile as a utility blade and mount it into a comfortable hardwood handle.  So, PRESTO!!!  The Cleaver was born.

I have been using this knife as my roughout knife of choice for my Pegasus (incidentally there are a few new progress pics on The Carving Bench page).  I am very pleased with its performance and I find myself using it for a lot of general carving and even some detail work as well.

The only problem with this blade shape is the width of the blade.  It just doesn't get into those tight or hard to reach places.

In summary I give this little feller a score of 8 out of 10:

  • Great for roughing out
  • Crosses over into general carving and detail categories
  • Not good in tight or hard to reach places
If anyone would like to try one out, I would be happy to custom make one to your specifications.  Details are on the Knife Gallery page.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Pegasus

Well, I haven't progressed very much on my nativity and I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but I've kind of lost interest in the project for the moment.  So, instead of plodding on ahead I have decided to take a detour and work on something else for a while. 

Tip from the Stump: if you reach a point on a carving where you lose interest, do not push through to the end and finish it.  If you do, you will most likely end up with an unsatisfactory piece since you rushed too fast to get it done.  Take a break and work on something else for a while, and when your interest returns, get back to the project and finish it with the care and detail that it deserves.

My carving mentor Lynn Doughty has started working on a cowboy horse on his blog and it got me to thinking.  I've done quite a few horses in my short carving career but I'm wondering, what if I took off the saddle and bridal and put on a lovely set of wings?  That would be keeping with my medieval or fantasy series that I have been interested in as of late, so I decided to give it a try and see where it takes me.  Now don't worry, I'll get back to the nativity soon enough, before Christmas I hope, but in the meantime, I hope you will follow along on this little side trip with me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Little Birdies

Holy Smokes!  Fall cleanup sure takes a lot of work around here.  I haven't had the energy at the end of the day to even pick up a knife.  I did, however find the time to carve these little guys out of some basswood eggs that I have lying around.  My sweet wife loves birdhouses so I thought that she would like to have a few little occupants to put with them.  They are patterned after Laura Dunkle's Whimsical Birds.  I'm leaving them up to my sweet wife to paint the way that she wants them.  She is much better at painting cute little eyes and stuff than I am.  It's kind of nice to carve something you can start and finish in less than a hour. 

Tip from the Stump:  if you do not have a lot of time to carve or if you are low on ambition and energy, instead of working on a large project take a short break from the norm and carve something that can be finished in one sitting.  The simple act of carving will energize you and help to motivate you the next time you pick up a knife.

Hope you like them and there are more photos on The Carving Bench page.

Sorry about the focus on these shots folks.  Boy, I really need to get a better camera, or maybe some photography lessons.