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What You Need for Knife Wood Carvings

selective focus photography of mask sculpture

Volume sculptural woodcarving is considered as the most complicated form of carving. DIY decorative wood carvings are created in several stages during which you need various tools for carving as well as lots of inspiration and patience.

Very often carvers choose figures of animals to create sculptures. Creating wooden creatures is a fascinating and beneficial activity. How beautiful they are in their variety – elegant, powerful, calm or impetuous. Image one of these beautiful masterpieces would be a significant part of your home interior. Professionals are looking for new inspiration for work both in various photographs and drawings depicting animals and in observing interesting specimens in zoos or zoological museums.

Preparing to create wood figures

After the idea has been formed and enough material has been picked up, it’s high time to make a sketch. If together with the figure of an animal or bird, a whole composition has set, it also needs to be drawn in detail. It’s desirable to parse a complex figure in space from all sides. The sketch is transferred to tracing paper and then to the wooden blank.

At the preparation stage, experienced carvers strongly recommend that you do not start work immediately on the tree. In the beginning, you should make a model by molding it from clay or plasticine. A measured, carefully thought-out stucco model will help not to make mistakes and the work will be done much faster and better.

Carving tools

Although you can cut out a tree with any sharp item using special tools to make a beautiful figure with your own hands is much easier and more enjoyable. So you will need the following tools for carving:

  1. Cutter. Knife with a short beveled blade. Depending on the width of the cutting edge, it can have a very different purpose. For example, a hatchet cutter is used for rough processing of wood. Cutters with a narrow edge of up to 16 mm are perfect for hard-to-reach spots and cutting small parts.
  2. The Bogorodsky knife. Suitable for almost all types of work from rough processing to creating a fine study. Perfect for sculptural carving.
  3. Chisel knife jamb. For the professional, this is an almost universal knife. The jamb blade is short and beveled. Most often used on a flat surface.
  4. Bent chisels. They are used to sample the background and have different cutting edge widths from 5 to 10 mm.
  5. Chisels semicircular, flat, angular. They are used for rough notching, obtaining concave parts and indentations on the surface of the product.
  6. Rivets. Chisels with a pointed blade. Used to work on small elements and parts.

Wood selection

DIY carving can be made from almost any wood – logs, glued boards, chocks, branches of an unusual shape, snags and other things. For example, trees with roots are great for creating animal sculptures. And from branching trunks, wonderful wooden cat figures are obtained. The main thing is that the material is well dried and free from defects in the form of cracks, rot or damage by insects. So you can easily store and work out your projects for your perfect designed room.

The ability to effectively use the material comes with experience, and the following softwoods are suitable for training:

  • linden;
  • aspen;
  • alder;
  • cedar;
  • nut;
  • apple tree.

Wooden blanks from these grades are cut without extra effort and do not blunt the tools. There are other options for the material but it will be more difficult to make a thread and process them:

  • Oak. Very durable and decorative but difficult to process due to the high density of the wood.
  • Maple. It has a dense structure and resistance to chips. From maple, you can make small ornaments and details.
  • Pine. It has a pronounced beautiful pattern but prone to chips.
  • Spruce. Worse than pine, it can be cut but it has a more uniform structure.
  • Birch. It has a sharp structure but it lends itself well to decorative processing, is perfectly polished and takes on a color.

Knife Sharpening Basic Tips

knife sharpening with stone

In a perfect world, we would all have time to spend 5-10 minutes every day to sharpen our kitchen knives on a waterstone. This is how chefs finish their shifts – they sharpen their knives traditionally at the end of the day. Remember the best time to sharpen your knife is when it’s still sharp. If you wait until it’s blunt, it will take much higher effort and time.

A sharp knife is essential in order to preserve the true flavors of fresh food. Cutting with a dull knife will spoil food on a cellular level and change its taste and appearance. The quality of the cut is becoming a progressively important problem in expert cooking.

A sharp knife is also crucial for safety. A dull knife is more susceptible to slip on food and might result in physical injury. Sharp knives are also essential for kitchen area efficiency. It will take more effort and time to cut with a dull knife than a sharp one.

Knife honing can be a masterpiece. For this post, we prepared the basic 5 honing tips.

5 Basic Sharpening Tips

1. Keep the right angle. No matter what product you’re using, the particular angle to sharpen is not as important as keeping a constant angle. A 20-degree angle to the surface of the blade is the angle to shoot for as you sharpen. Keep it consistent. You can use a digital caliper to check the angles.

2.¬† Take it easy.¬†Bill Raczkowski of the American Knife & Tool Institute shared the following insight on a common sharpening mistake: “One thing new individuals tend to do is over-pressure the knife when sharpening. My best analogy is a golf swing or throwing a bowling ball – more effort does not always mean the ball goes further or straighter. It’s an extremely light grip and low pressure on the knife is the best. Let the stone do the work; keep a consistent angle and a constant pressure on the stone.”

3. Rock it. The oldest honing strategy, which is still practiced commonly today is a stone honing. But don’t presume any rock you pick up can get the job done. Raczkowski once again offered his know-how: “I’ve tried many ‘stones’ and the very best one is an individual choice. A rough stone with low grit density is for the first pass, particularly with a dull knife. A medium stone is next, then fine and ultra-fine. The worse the blade’s edge, the more time it takes to get the best edge. Another factor to keep the knife’s edge sharp continuously: Less time to bring it back to life! I personally use a super-fine flat ceramic stone daily.”

tomato is cut in pieces

4. Know your Stone. Most honing stones can be used damp or dry, however, some stones are quickly broken down by oil. It’s crucial to read the producer’s guidelines on a stone. On the incorrect kind of stone, oil permits the collapsed cutting particles to clog the surface of the stone and can over-lubricate the surface area, slowing the honing process.

5. Blade Test. Test blade sharpness by cutting a paper. If it slices easily through the paper without tearing or bending the page over, you’ll know the blade is sharp.

A final, and apparent, tip: Never test the sharpness on yourself. Conserve your arm hair or skin. Inanimate things more than happy to help figure out if you have actually done the sharpening job right!

Essential Steps to Sharpness

Wet stones

Fill in a plastic container with room-temperature water and let stones take a bath in there for about 10 minutes.

Lay a kitchen towel down on your work surface area and set a stone on top of it.

NOTE: Keep stones wet throughout the process by spraying them with water as you work. Because the mud that builds up on that surface serves as a useful abrasive as you hone.

Form the burr

Set the stone in your stone holder. Establish an angle by setting a matchbook down flat versus your stone, then placing your blade in front of it. This will give you an angle of about 12 – 15 degrees.

You have to hold the grip of your knife strongly in your hand. Spread out the fingers on your opposite hand across the blade in order to achieve more pressure. You’ll want to apply about 4 to 6 pounds of pressure on the knife as you work. So you can use a kitchen scale to check your pressure.

Slide your knife throughout the stone. If you’re a beginner, you may want to practice by gliding the knife 5 or 6 times on one side, then changing to the other side. What you’re pursuing is a smooth technique in which you move the knife in one direction across the stone, switch sides, and after that move it back in the other way on the other side. As soon as you feel that the thin wire (the burr) runs all the way across the length of the knife, it’s time to go on to a better stone.

Try it on

It is necessary to spread your fingers out throughout the blade so you’re using pressure properly and don’t end up with a blade with no sharp blade.

Get across the stone

Draw the knife across the stone, from a corner to the opposite corner, using the whole surface to shape up that blade. See the guide videos if you’re not confident about how to do it right.

man is honing knife

Points of contact

Start your stroke with the heel of the knife just barely on the stone, and sweep across and up, pulling the heel towards your dominant hand and finishing with the pointer as the last point of contact on the stone.

Get rid of scratches and polish

Switch to the 1000 grit stone.

So our aim is to polish up the shape of the blade that we created with the coarser stone and get rid of any scratches formed throughout the preliminary honing.

Wet the surface area of the stone.

Use the same strategy with the coarser stone, glide the knife across the stone.

Complete that edge

Switch to the 3000/8000 grit stone.

Wet the surface area.

Find out which side of the stone is better to use based on your preferred results:

  • Use the 3000 grit side of the stone to remove scratches from rougher stones and to improve the edge. 3000 grit develops an aggressive edge that is well fit to cutting rope and opening cardboard boxes.
  • Use the 8000 grit side to develop a high-performance razor edge with the slightest bite.
  • Use a nagura stone on the 3000 grit and 8000 grit stones to make up a slurry on the surface of the stone, that is required for remarkable sensitivity.

Then, using the same mean, put the final polish on the edge you established with the very first stone.

When your knife is good and sleek, get rid of the remaining material from the surface area by rubbing it with a cleaning stone.

Final honing

Finish the procedure by sharpening your knife with a fine ceramic hone.

Now you’re ready to cut out perfect slices.