Tom brought in a nice selection of carving tools and examples of pieces he had carved.
One of the pieces was a porpoise that was
placed outdoors above his hot tub so it would move in the wind.
He stressed the importance of having a good method of holding the wood stationary while carving and also
being able to turn the piece around to access all sides of the piece. He told us that there are short tools for one-handed carving and longer tools for two-handed carving.
There are straight-edge tool and curved-edge tools. The curved-edge tools come in different radii, depending on how small or large you want the cut to be.
He talked about
sharpening and how you don't want to put a hollow grind on the carving tools. You cut the primary bevel at about 20 degrees and put a small secondary bevel on the
opposite side of the tool. He often uses 500-600 grit sand paper wrapped around a dowel to cut the secondary bevel on the tool.
Accordng to Tom the best choice for wood that is easy to carve is basswood, also called limewood. Tupelo (cottonwood), and fruit woods like walnut, pecan, almond are also good for
carving. Mahogany and jelutong are good choices, too. He said soft woods like pine tend to bruise and are not a good choice. He said that you can carve wet wood if you
are doing small projects like spoons, but usually, dried wood is best if you want to avoid splits and cracks.
Cutting across the grain is best, but cutting with
the grain down into the grain works, too just avoid cutting up into the grain or you risk chipping the wood.
Tom presented a slide show of the work of Jim Smock, who lives in Santa Barbara. Jim carves full-size figures, including famous people and Design characters. His
work is superb.
Bruce Powell mentioned that the De Young Museum has a carved fireplace on display that has animals carved into it and the work is outstanding.