There has not been a lot of carving out of my shop - just a few isolated instances. But I've long held that laying out lines properly and cutting to those lines is the bulk of the difficulty in woodworking. This is true for case work and it's also true for carving. One big difference is that in carving you have to be ultra-aware of grain direction.
I've only carved letters a couple of times and shapes a couple of times. I'm really slow at it. But being careful has helped me with not making firewood.
This time I was making a couple Roubo phone stands and I wanted to add some detail work to each. The first, in white oak, was to get the initial of the giftee and the second, in red alder, was to get a rosette. Before working on the real deals, I did some practice runs.
|A couple practice runs, testing different lettering fonts and carving techniques|
|A couple more potential fonts.|
It's far easier to carve the straight F than the script F.
But I liked the script F best, so that's what I went with. I printed out the script letter F in a 200 or 250 point font and cut out the letter.
|The template taped to the white oak phone stand|
|After tracing the letter onto the wood, I made the first few jabs at terminal points|
Didn't get further progress pics of this, but it ended up coming out great. I will say that the (very old and dry) white oak was far more challenging to carve than the alder. A couple coats of BLO brought out a nice color in the oak. And dang it, I don't have a completed picture either!
The second phone stand was a totally different type of carving. No template for this one, just some layout circles and lines to guide the chisels. I did a first rosette on an offcut, then did the real thing.
|At right is the phone stand with lines laid out.|
At left is a rosette I carved a year or two ago just to try it,
and in the middle is the practice run of the right size on an offcut.
|All done (before oiling) - this came out great!|
I've gotta say, these were not quick to do. The woods were hard and I took my time. No mallet was used - just hand pressure. I was mentally and physically tired after carving. When you don't do it all the time, it really takes a lot of concentration to avoid mistakes with grain direction. Oh yeah, my hand is a bit sore too. You can always tell that you've done something different from usual by the aches and pains you get.