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 Woodcarvings by Maura

Carving Techniques

Types of Carving  


This is the most basic type of carving. It is done with a simple pocket knife

"In the round" The carving is 3D.
 Tools :   gouges, chisels, knives, sandpaper, dividers, ruler, tracing paper, coping saw (or band saw), hand drills, mallet and vice.

Relief carving   The carving is 2 ˝ D.
Viewed only from the front. Tools needed are similar to those for carving in the round.

Chip carving Chipping out triangular pieces on the surface of the wood.
Used to decorate wooden objects - boxes, furniture, etc.

Tools needed are special chip carving knives.

Type of cuts

 There are only three

The first cut is called a "push " or "lever" cut.
This cut is made by holding the handle in your fingers and allowing your
thumb of your opposite hand to become a
fulcrum at the back edge of the knife blade.

 The second cut is called a "paring" or "pull" cut.
This cut is the same cut you use when you peel potatoes or apples.
Hold the carving in your left hand, and
 pull the knife towards you as you slice away
a piece of wood.
Keep your thumb out of the way!

 The final knife cut is the "stop" cut. This is the cut you make when you want to control the end of your "push" or "pull" cut. Your desire is to "stop" the cut precisely at these lines. Use the thumb on your right hand to brace the cut and make deep (relative) incision along your line. Use the "push" or "pull" cut to cut to the incision. Out pops the chip (or slice).

From Concept  to Carving

Put your ideas down on paper if you are carving an original thought.
This will give you a general idea what it will look like and at this stage it is very easy to make changes.

Working with clay (3D model)
It is very hard to go from a drawing to a 3D carving.
Easy to make changes with clay.
It will make the carving go faster because you have done it in clay first.
Use plasticine clay it is oil based and will not dry out, crack, or shrink.


Repairing and preventing
Crazy glue is thin like water and it will soak into the wood and strengthen the fibers
Two part clear epoxy can be used to fill voids and makes a bond that is stronger that the wood.  If you have removed a piece inadvertently, use yellow wood glue and clamps to reattach the piece.


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Maura Macaluso

Staten Island, NY



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carving in nyc

NYC New York City Artist 2011

Copyright Notice
All rights to this material are reserved. No part may be reproduced, photocopied or reprinted in any form, electronic or otherwise, without the express written consent for authorization.
Original patterns contained herein, may be purchased by individuals and used to complete their own personal carvings for sale or show, as long as such sales or shows are not through licensed commercial businesses.
To that end, the author encourages the use of purchased material for personal and educational use. Mass production and other commercial use of the material herein, is strictly prohibited by law.