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The first problem with carving is to keep everything in proportion. Nothing ruins a carving more than to have pieces and parts out of proportion to each other. To solve this problem we will start with "blanks" The photo shows a set of laser cut blanks for the stern of the Oliver Cromwell. What we will do with these blanks is to carve depth and some details. Carving is simply, layers at different depths blended together.
click on photo for a larger view

click on photo for a larger view

There are a number of ways and tools to approach carving. Some modelers will use power tools with various bits and carving burs, others prefer micro chisels and there is the use of knife blades. In these instructions carbon steel surgical blades of various sizes and shapes are used. Some advantages to these blades are the sharpness and to a degree their ability to flex and bend. The surgical blades are so sharp they make a clean smooth cut without ripping the wood grain. Cuts can also be made micro thin, creating shavings that are almost transparent. The photo shows the typical blades used for carving.

The next two pictures show the size of the chips from cuts. Judging from the hair in the first photo the shavings are very small. In the second photo the back round is 400 grit sandpaper, once again a few hairs show how small the shavings are. The surgical blades are so sharp it takes little pressure applied to a cut. A great advantage to using light pressure to make a cut is, the cut itself can be made in any direction to the grain without the cut veering off and following the grain.

The carving sets are cut in ½ = foot scale and if you care to carve along laser cut blanks are available.


mouseover photo for a larger view

mouseover photo for a larger view

Photographs in this series, have been done with macro photography so you are looking very close at the carving work. At normal view the carvings will appear to have finely carved detail. To do the carvings it is recommended to carve under magnification. The carvings are small and they become more and more delicate as the detail is carved in. To prevent breakage while the piece is being worked on it is fastened to a block of wood or metal with two sided tape.

To prevent a knife from slipping or the cut following the grain, a knife is held between the thumb and finger. This allows pressure to be applied to the cut and back pressure from the finger prevents the cut from "getting away".

Go to PART 1

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