more simple carving 2

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Blog entry by Harold posted 05-22-2008 05:58 PM 2817 reads 12 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Carving the curved letter section begins with the stop cut. I use a out cannel gouge that is close to the radius that has been layed out. If you don’t have an gouge close, you can work you centers down with a parting tool, or you can use the corner of your bench chisel to work carefully around the curve. when using your bench chisel, be aware of how deep your actualy cutting, just like before you can always clean up alittle deeper.
I will try and work the curves in 1/4 sections (90 degrees) turning the piece as needed to keep cutting downhill where possible. Now you won’t always be able to cut with the grain, but keeping your chisels SHARP and not trying to pop you chips up will help when working up hill.
Once I have my stops in I will begin carving. I use a bench chisel for the inside radius and a incannel gouge for the outside section.
I like the incannel gouge on the outside sections because it allows me hold the chisel at a much more comfortable angle and I feel like I can better anticipate where the I am cutting
Once I have the 95% of the curved letter section removed I will clean up the bottom with what’s left of my little carving knife. I have broken this thing many times but to be honest the shape it is now really seems to work for clean up
So I finished the lettering, which looks fine and then ran down stairs and removed some of the dead spaces on the bandsaw where possible and the rest with the coping saw and have begun the stop cuts that will outling the various curves in the flowers and leaves.Photobucket
I also took a forstner bit and drilled a hole at the center of the flower. Photobucket
I started the flower working aggressively towards the center
I will continue this until the rough shape is there, I will also try an remove any areas around the flower at this time so that I don’t damage the flower later
keep working down, defining the petals more as you work deeper
carve alittle more, I’m using the 1/4 ” gouge now to texture the petals
once I’m content with the flower, I’ll start working on the leaves and stem
Photobucket and here’s where I am so far working on the leaves, cut the one leaf all the way off ( I some how roughed it in upside down and it would have been too deep to carve now, so I sawed it off. Don’t tell anybody) Photobucket

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

11 comments so far

View Jimboe's profile


257 posts in 4996 days

#1 posted 05-22-2008 06:08 PM

Does the title really have the words “simple carving” in it !! LOL Looks hard to me .Great carving harold !! Beautiful !!

View Mark Mazzo's profile

Mark Mazzo

352 posts in 5159 days

#2 posted 05-22-2008 08:03 PM


Very nice tutorial – please keep it up for us aspiring carvers!

I am guessing that an “incannel” gouge is one where the concave edge (i.e. the inside curve of the gouge) is also sharpened. Is that correct?

-- Mark, Webster New York, Visit my website at

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 5237 days

#3 posted 05-22-2008 09:32 PM

Wonderful Tutorial… Thank you very much!

I do have a couple of questions though:

1. What is the difference between incannel and outcannel?
2. Would you explain what is meant when you stated “Once I have my stops in I will begin carving”? Stops???

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 5013 days

#4 posted 05-22-2008 10:47 PM

Very cool stuff!

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 5415 days

#5 posted 05-22-2008 11:20 PM

Not so simple but great post. Thanks.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 5093 days

#6 posted 05-22-2008 11:29 PM

hello Chris,
the difference between incannel and outcannel is the side on which the bevel is ground or cut. An outcannel will have the bevel ground on the bottom, or bevel down and an incannel will have the bevel ground on the top or bevel up. The gouges are intended for concave (outcanel) and convex (incannel) work, for example when you are carving the out side bevel of your letters I use the bevel up or incannel gouge because it can be held at a more comfortable angle for my personal taste. It is also easier for me to follow the lines with this gouge even though from a technique stand point I am using the gouge upside down. Now I refer to the stop cuts as the center cut, this line and cut represents where the two cuts or bevels will intersect at the bottom. This cut does a couple things, it sets the initial depth of your letters and it also provide a relief for the chips on both sides to break free. I will take a couple pictures of the two gouges.
I hope this makes sense,

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View David's profile


220 posts in 4961 days

#7 posted 05-23-2008 12:57 AM

Sweet!! You ”free form” guys never cease to amaze me: I’m a saw jocky. This is very informative. Thanks for the lesson. Hope to see more of your works and “lessons”


-- [email protected]

View Phil Clark's profile

Phil Clark

359 posts in 5041 days

#8 posted 05-23-2008 04:07 PM

Harold – thanks again for the tutorial and the explanation of terms used in your description of process.

-- Legacy Woodcraft

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 5093 days

#9 posted 06-21-2008 07:04 PM

I finished up this little sign, I think I try something alittle different that may be easier to understand, but for now here’s a picture…


I use common artist oil paints that are thined for the color, it’s a compromise when painting a carving but the color does help when the work is intended for outdoors…..indoors I tend to shy away from color and will lightly stain if anything. this little sign is mango and it has naturallly beautiful patterns in the grain so a compromise always has it’s downside.

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 4678 days

#10 posted 07-30-2009 12:28 AM

Very nice work

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View a1Jim's profile


118258 posts in 4823 days

#11 posted 07-30-2009 12:36 AM

Wow Harlold
This is far beyond what I call simple great job.


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