Peter Berry 13 June 2013 


Because wood carving is quite a different discipline to woodturning Peter tookSee Peter's photos us through all the different stages. He started at a basic level , with relief carving, then moved on to appliqué relief carving and finished with three dimensional carving, also known as carving in the round. Throughout the demonstration he used Flexcut tools; these consist of a series of different gouges which slot into handles.

1. Relief Carving

Peter started by placing a template of a leaf on a block of lime then drew round the outside of it and added the main stem. Using a ‘v’ cut gouge he cut round the pattern, working with the grain. Starting at the widest part of the curve, he worked towards the point on both sides then turned the block round and carved from where he had started back to the stem, then he carved the stem itself. To make the leaf stand out he carved all the way round the outside of it so the leaf appeared to be raised from the surface. He skimmed the surface of the leaf with a very shallow chisel and tidied the stem, then textured the area surrounding the leaf. Finally, he drew on the veins and carved them with the ‘v’ tool, then made a nick on the outside edge of the leaf, at the ends of the veins. After signing it he sprayed it with silicone spray. (See photos PB_01 and 02).

2. Appliqué Relief Carving

For this project Peter had a piece of lime that he had already cut on the bandsaw to the shape of a man’s head and shoulders with details of the ears, eyes, nose, hat, and neckerchief all drawn onto it. First he chamfered all round the edges, with a shallow gouge, curving them down to about half of their original thickness. Then he carved away all the detail that had been drawn onto it. Once this was done he redrew the detail onto it and carved out the lines for the edge of the hat and the neckerchief; he carved these quite deeply, to make them stand out. After that he finished carving all the fine detail. (See photos PB_03 to 05).

3. Three Dimensional Carving or Carving in the Round

Peter started by saying that to visualise a project in the round you need to think of it as two halves. He started with a block shaped mouse which had the grain running along it, from the nose to the tail, thus making the tail very strong. It also had a block of wood screwed to the underneath to hold it in a vice. The vice he used is a universally accessible one, which means he can move it round so he can work from all angles. This is available from Axminster’s and can be found on their website as a Stanley Multi Angle Hobby Vice’.

He mounted the ‘mouse’ in the vice and started carving it with a shallow gouge, working away from his body, at right angles. He rounded off the corners both manually and with a power carver, explaining that “a power tool is a way of doing things more quickly, not of doing things you cannot do manually”. He also used a palm handle for his gouge so he could get close in to the work. He shaped the body, head, tail and ears with the shallow gouge then used a deep gouge to carve out inside the ears. When he had finished he sprayed it with acrylic gloss lacquer. (See photos PB_06 to 13). After finishing the mouse Peter repeated the project, starting from scratch, cutting the block shape into a small piece of wood, approx. 1” x 1” x 12”, using a small (Proxxon) bandsaw to cut the block shape. Then, because it was very small, he carved it with a knife, holding the work in his hand. This is called whittling. (See photos PB_14 and 15).

4. Relief Carved Wood Spirit Face

For his final project Peter carved a face into a silver birch log which had a flat surface cut at an angle down its length. He drew the pattern onto the surface then started carving it away with the ‘v’ gouge in his reciprocating power carver, this replicates the in/out movement of the hand carver. He gradually cut away all the drawn lines which he had been using to ensure the different areas of the face were in the right place. He carved the deeper detail by hand as the power carver isn’t so good at this. He explained that it’s the deeper detail that makes the face look more animated. (See photos PB_16 to 19).

Lorrie Flannery

SWC club member