Monday, April 25, 2011

Contest Results

First of all, I need to apologize about not having posted in a while.  I have just started a new job that takes me away from home for days at a time, and I have been very busy.  I hope that things settle down soon so that I can get back to posting, and more importantly, carving.  I hope that you will stick around in the interim.

Next, I would like to thank all of you that sent in your ideas for a beginning-carver project.  All of the ideas were fantastic and it was difficult to make a choice, but in the end I had to make a decision.  After considering all of the entries and the benefits that each project would give to a beginning carver, the idea that I settled on was carving a study stick, an idea sent in by Keith Stewart. 


For those of you who may not know, a study stick is a practice piece where one carves multiple faces in the blank at various stages of completeness.  It is a step-by-step study of the needed cuts to complete the details of the face.  I believe that this project will give a beginning carver the confidence and practice that he/she needs to tackle what is arguably the most difficult part of a caricature to carve, the face.  It will also give the more seasoned carver some great practice and a chance to maybe try something different with faces.

I hope to get started soon on this new tutorial and I hope that you will follow along.  No, I take that back.  I hope that you will CARVE.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Custom Knife Orders and Competition (Win Your Own Custom Knife)

I’ve had some interest lately in my custom carving knives, in that people are wondering if they can “special order” a specific blade or handle shape that is not listed on the Knife Gallery Page.  The answer is a resounding “YES”!!!  I am always more than happy to take a special order if you have something particular in mind and I have the ability to fill the order. 
Why, just today, I received an email from a customer asking if I could make a specific shape of blade.  He attached a photo of the blade that he wanted and asked how much extra it would be for me to make one like that.  I was more than happy to craft him a knife to his specific length and shape of blade, and the price of a true “custom” knife is the same as for any of my other knives, a measly $30.00.
So, moral of the story, if you want a special blade or handle, send me an email with a sketch or a photo of the knife that you want, be specific now, and I’ll do my best to fill your request.  So, show your support for The Old Stump Blog by ordering your own knife today.
All that aside, I’m about ready to start another tutorial.  I would like to do something directed toward the beginners in the group, who might not have the self confidence yet to attempt something more advanced.  I thought that it would be fun to get some feedback from you, my faithful followers, and maybe make a competition out of it.  Here’s my idea:
Submit your idea for a beginner-level carving to , being specific and original.  I will sort through the submitted ideas and choose the one that I like the best.  Yes I know, that’s not very subjective, but hey, this isn’t Burger King!  Here are the rules:
·         All ideas must be original
·         Any idea will be entertained (you don't have to stick with medieval or cowboy themes)
·         The idea must be “beginning carver level”
·         You can submit as many ideas as you would like, just do so in separate emails
·         Submit all entries to with the title “Carving idea” in the subject line
·         All ideas must be received by Saturday, April 23rd to be eligible for consideration
The chosen submission will then receive as a reward a Free Custom Made Carving Knife of his/her own specifications and have their idea implemented in the next tutorial.  So, put on your thinking caps and let’s see what you come up with.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Tool Box

I thought that it might be kind of fun to let you have a peek at, and into for that matter, my tool box.  I made this old thing out of some scrap pieces of pine that I had laying around my shop.  I build it as a prototype, but it worked so well that I have been using it ever since.  The construction is simple, all butt joints and screws, but it's durable and keeps all of my tools handy.

Inside the little drawer at the bottom I keep my strop, some honing compound, a couple of dowels for add-ons, some super glue, and a couple of pieces of sandpaper.  The drawer is shallow, but I find it quite useful.  Here's a look under the hood:

As you can see, I don't really have very many tools in my box.  It looks like I have 17 palm tools and 12 knives, a few of which I use all of the time, and some that I hardly ever use.  In fact, most of the knives that I have in the box I made as prototypes themselves to test out new blade shapes and lengths.  Actually, I only use about 4 of the knives at all.  I guess I just like to look at the others.  Of the palm tools, I probably use 9 of them all of the time, and the rest I will use every now and then.  See what I mean about not needing very many tools to produce some nice carvings?

All of the palm tools are arranged according to width and profile so that I know where each is without guessing.  All of my knives are also arranged in three rows: rough out, general carving, and detail.  I suppose that one could put some labels on each tool so that he could tell them apart, but this system works for me.

Also in the box you can see my glove and thumb guard in the lid, an assortment of small files to get into those hard to reach places, and a pencil and sharpie to draw with.  That's really all that I use to get the job done.  Here's a picture where I have removed the palm tool insert so that you can see the construction underneath.

As you can see, none of the tools edges can touch each other because of the grid that I made out of 1/4" plywood.  The only thing that I would like to change is to add some foam or some rubber at the bottom of the box so that the points of my knives are protected.  Right now, there is only a piece of cardboard, but it seems to be getting the job done.