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Carved birch mouse #3: The tools

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 06-19-2021 03:24 PM 604 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Body rounding and ears Part 3 of Carved birch mouse series Part 4: Refining the ears »

I realize I probably should have posted this earlier in the sequence, but I was adapting tools and figuring out what I needed as I went. Here’s a photo of the tools I’ve used so far.

From left to right:

A Morakniv Basic which I used for days 1 and 2 of this blog, mostly roughing out the mouse.

One of the SPRAD knives I made. Used for detail work where the Basic knife was too long.

A 6/6 gouge, used for hollowing the ears.

A Morakniv Classic 2C that has been shortened to about a 35mm blade for working in tight areas. Sometimes the more classic slöjd blade works better, but sometimes I want a straight blade, and this works out to be a good length for working under and between the ears of the mouse. Hacksaw and grinder were used to shorten the blade, but a Morakniv Service Knife would also work.

That’s the tool list so far.

-- Dave - Santa Fe



16 comments so far

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1490 posts in 1057 days


#1 posted 06-19-2021 03:38 PM

You have taken the right approach to choosing the tools for your carving. Rather than following some “expert’s” list of recommendations, you have tried, modified, and selected what works for you.

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7935 posts in 1736 days


#2 posted 06-19-2021 04:01 PM

Thanks, Phil. The gouge was recommended by the article at TFWW on carving the ears. I picked a 6/6 because it seemed the right size for the ears on my mouse, but an 8/6 might’ve been better if I had one.

The shortened knife is something I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks. It just finally became time to make it.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

3263 posts in 3344 days


#3 posted 06-19-2021 04:24 PM

The self-made tools are a pleasure to use, provide a better sense of accomplishment.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7935 posts in 1736 days


#4 posted 06-19-2021 05:41 PM

Agreed, Tom! Even if I don’t get it right on the first try, it’s a nice feeling using a tool that I made.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View crowie's profile

crowie

4751 posts in 3105 days


#5 posted 06-19-2021 10:25 PM

To my thinking Dave, If you’re enjoying the carving and improving your skills, it’s great reason to head to the tool shop to expand your weaponry. Just a thought for a Father’s Day gift!

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7935 posts in 1736 days


#6 posted 06-19-2021 11:23 PM

I won’t argue with that, Peter, but I do have a box with five more Moraknivs sitting unused in it, plus almost a dozen knife blades (also from Mora) that only need suitable handles affixed. Last time I ordered from Sweden, I made sure I got my money’s worth on the postage. ;-)

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5430 posts in 2376 days


#7 posted 06-19-2021 11:36 PM

Looks like a shiv collection from the local penitentiary, have you been “bad” Dave? 8^)

Nice working set, I like seeing the tools behind the art!

#2 and #4 have the palm swells, I assume you use these with the blade facing your thumb and basically squeeze with your fingers pulling the blade toward your thumb (paring cuts)?

Can’t wait to see the electro-shock equipment you decide on for animating your critters 8^)

Thanks for the update Dave!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7935 posts in 1736 days


#8 posted 06-20-2021 12:35 AM

I use about four or five different grips with each knife, Splint. And the same grips with all the different knives.

I think there are maybe three or four of the grips from The Swedish Knife Grip Sessions that I don’t use much, but I’ve tried hard to remember to use the right grip to remove material based on what I need.

I’ve thought about making movies of how I carve, but there’s folks who are better at it, and when I try to film myself working, it sucks all the fun out of it. When things are going well, it’s almost meditative.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

10500 posts in 3197 days


#9 posted 06-20-2021 02:16 AM

Oh come on Dave, now I’m all confused. I don’t know if you’re on part 1-C or C-1.
Just kidding. Looks like a nice arsenal to get you where you want. The second one with the fat egg shaped handle looks like a good one for me. We get accustomed to the tools we have and use all the time.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7935 posts in 1736 days


#10 posted 06-20-2021 02:29 AM

Thanks, Dave! That second one is a stacked birch bark handle, and it feels awfully good in my big hands, even on days like today when it was over 90 here.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View MikeB_UK's profile

MikeB_UK

564 posts in 2188 days


#11 posted 06-20-2021 06:02 PM

Nice Dave.
I like the stacked birch bark handle, not sure I have the patience to make one though :)
Not so keen on the sawn off wharncliffe, not sure why, I think I might be just used to seeing them on folding instead of fixed blade knives.

Still need to find time to play with those beavercraft knives.

-- Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7935 posts in 1736 days


#12 posted 06-20-2021 08:26 PM

Thanks, Mike! The stacked birch bark handle is pretty easy to make if you have clean birch bark, which mostly seems to come from Russia nowadays. The US stuff requires scraping and fussing to get it clean. That and a punch of the right shape for the tang. I’m currently using a leather punch, but I’ll make a contraption to punch holes in birch bark one of these days.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View MikeB_UK's profile

MikeB_UK

564 posts in 2188 days


#13 posted 06-20-2021 09:30 PM

So, you punch each layer instead of laminating them and treating them as solid stock after?

Do you glue it, or just leave the tang and end cap to hold it in place?

-- Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7935 posts in 1736 days


#14 posted 06-20-2021 09:40 PM

Mike, I punch each layer. They’re not glued, but they’re held together by the tang and end cap, and if you bake the whole assembly in the oven at about 90C for a while, the pitch from the bark will ooze around a bit and glue things together. Then the BLO also holds things together a bit.

The project page has more details.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View MikeB_UK's profile

MikeB_UK

564 posts in 2188 days


#15 posted 06-20-2021 10:00 PM

Cheers, interesting, mostly silver birch around here which I think might be too flaky without a lot of effort.
Beech might work though, perhaps rowan or apple, I’ll add it to the ridiculously long list of things to try :)

-- Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

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