Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ultra Flat Plane Animals For Patterns

Thanks Mark for your suggestion for a photo of each animal...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Ultra Flat Plane Animals

I subscribe to the thought that success breeds success.  What this means to wood carving can be found in the initial learning process.  Whether you are learning on your own, or being taught; early success is important.  Without early success a learner will become discouraged and stop trying.

It is my hope that these ultra flat plane stylized animals can provide this early carving success, and lead onto more difficult carving and more successes.

These ultra flat plan carved animals may be pushing limits of traditional flat plane carving by their simplicity.  I am calling them "Ultra Flat Plane" because of the small number of larger flat planes on each piece.

The following photos illustrate the basics involved in carving a ultra flat plane stylized rooster.

Start with a drawing of the rooster in profile.  Next, Transfer the drawing to a 1/2"piece of Basswood.   I use a scroll saw and eliminate the curved lines as I cut the blank.  You may wish to convert the curved outlines on the drawing before transferring it to the wood.
Once the rooster is cut out you can begin to cut the flat planes with a knife.

This ultra flat plane style uses three basic knife cuts: 


The following photos will show the steps:

To prepare for the carving, first mark on the blank where the stop cuts will be made.

Make stop cuts ate the edges of the wood where the drawn lines are.  After these corners have stop cuts made connect these stop cuts as shown by the solid lines.  Neck, comb, tail feathers,and feet

With a sharp knife, make push cuts or paring cuts to remove slices of wood to the corner stop cuts.  This is illustrated by the pencil marks that darken the flat cut on the roosters back to the tail.  Then using the push cut or paring cut, remove slices of wood between the "flats" that define the tail.   Make these cuts of each side of the blank (same cuts on each side).

Continue making these cuts right around the blank on both sides front and back.

Pay attention to the direction of the wood grain.
Make the cuts with the grain.
You do not have to remove the whole thickness / slice of wood with one cut.
Try to remove the slices at the same thickness, to maintain flatness.
It helps to think of being a diamond cutter!  Maintain clean and even slices the same as the facets on a cut diamond.

Add some color and you have a very easy and quick Ultra Flat Plane Rooster.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Stylized Ultra Flat Plane Fox (Step-by-step)

In keeping with my laziness, and trying something new, here's a step-by-step without explanation.  I am hoping that you all can figure out what each step photograph illustrates.  The important thing to remember is to make a stop cut first then either Pare or Slice to the stop cut.  And you can make several slices/paring cuts to get to the finished cut.

Personal safety gear is important too.  Carving glove and thumb guard.

You also may wish to use a piece of wood longer than the finished piece (2 1/2"), to provide additional holding space.

Start with a 1" x 1" x 2 1/2" piece of wood.  All carving is done on the corner.














You may wish to make some cuts on the back of the fox too relieve the center corner.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

3 to 5 Minute Fox

Being an avid whittler, I am always looking for and trying out new small items to whittle.  I especially like small, fast, and not too involved pieces, since I like to pass them out to kids.  Here's an example:
This little fox has all flat cuts, that are not too hard to achieve.  The big question is; does the piece look like a fox without paint?

I will continue to refine and maybe make some adjustments, then post a step - by - step.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Santa Ornament TIPS

With Christmas and Christmas craft shows fast approaching some whittlers and carvers like to carve Santa ornaments for these times.  Whether you sell the ornaments or gift them, you'll need several.  In fact you may need lots of them.  This is one reason that I like to be sure to be very efficient in making them.  That's why I like to cut some corners in the process.  Here's the way I do many of the Santa ornaments.

I have already decided to finish the ornaments natural, instead of painting.  There are several reasons for this decision.  First, I am lazy.  I also do not like to paint, and run the risk of ruining an other wise decent ornament.  I am just not as steady as I used to be.  It's also much faster.

I do not like to sand my pieces after whittling them with a knife - with one exception.  The tip of the nose.  In my humble opinion. a smooth rounded nose tip makes for a happier looking Santa.  Here's some of the materials that can smooth and round the tip of the nose.  The last/bottom device shown is a dental burr held in an adjustable chuck.  Some refer to this as a "pin vice".

Here's the result of smoothing and rounding the nose tip.  Compare this photo to the previous photo and see if you agree that the rounded and smooth nose tip makes the Santa look happier.

Next I push an eye piece into the top of Santa's hat.  This will serve to help DIP the piece into finish as well as hang on a tree.  Notice, that in keeping with the lack of paint, I have wood burned some "snow flakes" into the hat band.

I dip the piece into wood conditioner and hang to dry.
After drying, wax and buff.  Add more wax to get darker, or stain - but that's one more step.

Dpn't know how much easier this can get!  But I'll still try.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Paint vs Natural Finish

Every ones individual tastes vary about everything.  This applies to carvings and whittlings too.  Some like their pieces painted while some like them natural.

I remember looking upon a carving of a Santa, that was excellent.  Very very well carved.  The piece was painted to the most exact detail.  The piece was being judged, and only garnered a red ribbon.  I remember talking to the carver and he said the judges told him the carving was excellent, but the paint job made the piece look like it was plastic.  Whether one agrees wit the judge or not, his reasoning points out the two schools of thought on finishing a carved wood piece.

I like both the painted piece and the natural.  Although, there are reasons for a natural finished carving over a painted carving.  At the top of this list of reasons to finish a carving naturally is the steadiness of the painters hand, and the painters vision.  Of course there is always the time element.
 and the fact that some just love the look of natural wood.

Here's a photo of painted and natural finishes.

The ornaments and pins in the top row were merely finished with HOWARD'S FEED-N-WAX.  This is one of the fastest finish methods.  I could have dipped the pieces in a wood conditioner, then dipped into a stain, let dry and waxed.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Real Santa!

After the last post I feel obligated to post a photo of a recently whittled REAL Santa.

Thanks for putting up with me!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Zombie Santa!

I can't believe I've actually done this.  I did however have a request for a "Zombie Santa".  Maybe not a real request, but a challenge.  Maybe something like; "...you can't whittle a Zombie Santa, can you"?  Well, the rest of the story, was "why not".  I think I remember saying,: "what, you got to be kidding me"!  Whittle one I did!

To justify my odd behavior, I even came up with a story, in case a true believer sees the Zombie Santa.  The story goes like this:  Some believe that there are two Santa's.  One Santa is the one we all know and love.  However, there is a second Santa.  The first Santa responds well to good little boys and girls.  But the other Santa is a Zombie and does not respond well to boys and girls who were not so good.....

This Santa will have a eye screw at the top so it can be hung and buried somewhere on the tree.
I guess there's an "up side" to whittling the Zombie Santa.  No eyes and nose to worry about.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Apples For Teachers

Soon the Christmas craft and wood carvings shows will be here.  Lots of wood carvers like to exhibit and sell carved items at these events.  We always try to have something special.  I like to to whittle and have items that kids will want and can afford.  One such item is a whittled refrigerator magnet.  I found out early on that kids still like to give their teacher a gift.  Thus the idea of an APPLE.

Actually my daughter who is a teacher suggested the carved apple as a refrigerator magnet.  She said this item would be something that any teacher would use...

This project is so simple and easy that it is almost self explanatory.  One just needs:

Thin Basswood (I use 3/8" thick)
Scroll saw or fret saw
Thumb guard
Drill (to recess the magnet)
Super glue (I use the thicker super glue)
Magnet I use the extra strong (Rare earth - approx 2# pull, 1/4" in diameter)
Paint and brush

You can whittle lots of these with little expense in time or materials.  But a warning!  When done hide some, because everyone who sees them will want one.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Travelin and Emergency Accessories

No recent posts cause I've been travelin.  Drove to California and back in the last two weeks,  This road trip brought  to mind the special needs of whittlers and carvers, when on the road.  We need to be sure to take the necessary stuff so that we can whittle anywhere we wish.  As a whittler, I always have my pocket knife with me, in my pocket.  But on a two week road trip you best make additional plans to be sure you have the correct whittlin stuff.  You'll need a strop and some blanks.

Here's a simple "tool roll" to stick into your suitcase, carry-on, purse, briefcase, or car/truck glove box.  From now on I will put my backup knife, small strop, pencil, thumb guard, and a blank or two in the tool roll and leave it  in my van glove box.

Maybe I should add a few band aids!