learning carving

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Project by Jess Littlefield posted 11-08-2017 11:22 PM 1805 views 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So far all my carving trials and errors come in the form of clock cases. My thinking is if they don’t like my carving then at least they can see what time it is. I try to not hurt anyone’s feelings and since time is a universal thing.. Sooner or later someone on this planet will need to know what time it is. All my caving is still done with a dremel with a flex shaft. I use no knives like the real carvers use.. The key
to doing a good and fast job is the bits and I use none of the bits dremel sells.

On this clock I used store bought appliques to lay out the design and trace around for the outline of the clock case.. I always buy at least two of each different appliques , one for each side of the clock if I am making a symetrical style case. But there are times when I can’t get two to match up and look to suit myself so I have to change designs of a few pieces. The 5th picture shows an applique on the left and one I copied and made using 1” thick maple, The appliques are usually about 1/4” thick and is a compressed wood material.

So being self taught I am actually learning and doing more than I ever dreamed of.

I had a furniture repair refinish shop in the sixties and seventies so the construction and finishing chapters has not been a burden and I decided carving might be worth chasing and getting handle on before I expire.

-- Jess Littlefield

13 comments so far

View woodify's profile


348 posts in 3235 days

#1 posted 11-08-2017 11:38 PM

Great carving job. I like your beefed up carvings compared to the thin store bought ones

-- Woodify ~~

View ralbuck's profile


6753 posts in 3429 days

#2 posted 11-09-2017 12:03 AM

Very nice. Stay learning, stay at least mentally younger!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View BurlyBob's profile


9183 posts in 3428 days

#3 posted 11-09-2017 01:33 AM

That’s really beautiful. The color is super attractive.

View bushmaster's profile


4130 posts in 3445 days

#4 posted 11-09-2017 03:03 AM

Learning, I would say professional, a professional learner. Good attitude to have, we all are in a learning stage, new skills etc.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4723 posts in 4272 days

#5 posted 11-09-2017 03:35 AM

Nothing to be ashamed of, using power tools. I have a lot of chisels, but I have a project coming up that’s going to be more chips than wood when I’m done, and I ain’t doing all of that with a mallet and chisels. There will be Forstner bits and (non-power) saws involved.

And those clocks are gorgeous! Those pieces appear to be maple. You wouldn’t even want to carve with hand tools, unless you have hands of steel.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View dalepage's profile


387 posts in 2003 days

#6 posted 11-09-2017 01:50 PM

Great job! Like you, I am more interested in the outcome rather than the process.

-- Dale

View Jess Littlefield's profile

Jess Littlefield

203 posts in 3772 days

#7 posted 11-09-2017 03:00 PM

You folks are super nice. The learning curve has been easier to get started than I figured.
Now I tell everyone its not I think I can, its why yes indeed I know I can do than. Mine might
not be as great as yours but for sure I will get er done one way or the other.. Every ones ability is completely different but some never decides to ever give it a try. Thats
the biggest mistake of all… Yes the wood is had maple and a little over 1” thick. I wanted lots of room for the swooping of the leaves and other things.

-- Jess Littlefield

View Levex's profile


46 posts in 2318 days

#8 posted 11-09-2017 03:09 PM

Beautiful work HalfAcre. I’m trying to teach myself how to carve as well and and am curious about a couple of things. How do you come up with the overall shape of the clock and how have you contoured the body, (the body looks like its arched not flat).
Bravo, keep up the excellent work.

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5260 days

#9 posted 11-09-2017 03:32 PM

Beautiful work.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4029 days

#10 posted 11-09-2017 04:08 PM

You did a very nice job on this clock. It’s a beauty!

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4740 days

#11 posted 11-09-2017 11:12 PM

Impressive very nice work.


View Jess Littlefield's profile

Jess Littlefield

203 posts in 3772 days

#12 posted 11-10-2017 02:28 AM

Levex study the picture where the graph paper is showing all in the middle area. Some of the carving has been started where some still has the pattern on but all of the carving has been cut away from the body. At this point in time all the carving can be lifted away leaving just the body.Now I set the carved pieces away and use a belt sander to slope all the body from the edge of the dial out to the carvings. The closer I get to the carvings the deeper I sand making the inside of the carvings really stand out as if someone took forever and chiseled away lots of wood. Before I am ready to start cutting the outside of the clock I first attach a backer board and on this clock I use 1/4” baltic birch. Once the outside of the carving is cut away from the waste I then take off the backer board and then using a very thin scroll saw blade I cut away the pieces to be carved. Sometimes I keep two or three pieces attached to each other and that is determined as to how much sharp curves there are in the pieces to be carved. The very curved ones I have to cut out in smaller sections for sometimes it is hard to separate the body from the carving pieces. I use a really thin scroll saw blade for when all the pieces are finished and it is time to glue it all back together the lines between will disappear when all glued together. Making it appear as if I did all the carving to one solid piece of wood. I cut the pieces out so I can sit down and hold one piece at a time holding the flex shaft and grind away. Up until three weeks ago all my clocks have been 20” tall or less. The reason being my dewalt will only handle 20”.
The pink one I posted today is 25” tall. I had to come up with a way to cut it out not using a scroll saw. I had to order a newer model jig saw for the five I already own are very old and all they would do was jump up and down in the thick of wood. I use graph paper 20×30 size and using a french curve set draw out what I want the shape of the clock to be then design curved shapes that will enhance what I am after in looks. The clock today was a picture of a very old antique with a few broke off parts that are missing… I find a dial on the internet, print it then like to scroll saw the numbers out to give it my look. I printed out the picture of the clock then enlarged it to the size I wanted. By the time I got it big it was so blury I had to do lots of guessing as to which way the curves went. But being curvy no one knows for sure whats what. Its hard to see someone elses mistake. I have a 30” pattern of the same pink clock for the next project and will start cleaning up some maple to get ready to glue up i the next couple of days. I” thick maple 30”x 20” with a backer board will be really heavy. Don’t know yet if I can handle that much weight. The printer printed out 8 pieces of paper I had to tape together for the pattern. The backer board is to have a place to glue the body of the clock and all the caved pieces back together turning it back to being one solid piece of wood….

-- Jess Littlefield

View Sasha's profile


1301 posts in 2375 days

#13 posted 11-10-2017 06:10 PM


-- Ganchik Sasha. Life is not a draft, tomorrow you will not redo......

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