Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hand Strength and Carving

It takes some hand & arm strength to safely carve wood with a knife and/or palm gouge. An expert wood carver and instructor (Tony Erickson) has said that wood carving is a finesse sport and he does not want to hear any "grunts" from members of his carving classes. This is true, but it does take some hand strength. Plus, some arm strength helps too. Recently while carving at the senior center, one of the carvers asked to have their knife checked for sharpness. One of the other carvers inspected the knife and found it was still very sharp. Next, an observation of the carver using the knife lead to the suggestion that the carver "use a bit more force". It became clear the the carver could not muster any more "force" with the knife. To effectively carve wood one must have some strength in both hands and arms. The hand holding the wood and the hand holding the tool must have the strength to achieve safe and successful carving. A simple stop cut requires hand strength to achieve. A slice cut up to the stop cut requires hand/arm strength to safely achieve a controlled cut. Knife cuts that use the thumb on the hand holding the wood as a "stop" to prevent the blade in the right hand from cutting too far; requires strength too.

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