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Forum topic by Phil32 posted 12-16-2018 08:58 PM 1325 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Phil32

839 posts in 507 days


12-16-2018 08:58 PM

Many wannabe woodcarvers wonder what tools to buy. The correct answer is another question – What do you want to carve? Many contemporary forms of carving can be done with knives.

But I’d like to focus your thinking for this moment on the tools of classic woodcarving experts. Probably the highest level of woodcarving was achieved in the 16th century by Grinling Gibbons in England and Tilman Riemenschneider in Germany. Do a image search on either name and you will see what I mean.

What tools did they use? They used gouges – chisels with curved cutting edges. Here is a photo of some of Riemenschneider’s tools (from a small museum in Wurzburg):

Note that they’re not shiny, and they’re really big – an inch wide or more wide. – in a canvas tool roll. Considering the hard woods he was sculpting, he must have used a mallet, but he also knew how to use the corners or edges of his tools for fine details.

So my message is: Don’t obsess on your tools. Focus on results.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!


11 replies so far

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ClaudeF

1055 posts in 2310 days


#1 posted 12-16-2018 11:38 PM

Great advice, Phil!

Claude

-- https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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ralbuck

6309 posts in 2869 days


#2 posted 12-17-2018 02:23 AM

That is good advice for life too!

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

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Karda

1956 posts in 1157 days


#3 posted 09-25-2019 11:54 PM

don’t buy sets, they usually have tools you don’t need determine what you want to carve then buy what you need for that, and by quality tools they will do a better job and last longer. But don’t go over board and buy the best. Waite until you know you will be carving for years. I started wood turning. I bought a few tools i needed and made the rest as I needed them. did the same with carving I statrted with spoons. you don’t need much for that. Start with a good knife. I have 2 Mora short straight knives and a crook knife I find the short knife is more useful, the blade is 2” ot less they are great knives and they are inexpensive. that my 2 cents and from a beginner good luck

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pottz

7660 posts in 1587 days


#4 posted 09-26-2019 12:00 AM

so true phil when you look at was done hundreds of years ago and the tools they had to work with it’s amazing what they created.they had skill as their main tool.today i think many woodworkers think they can buy the skill with high end expensive tools,but sadly it still takes skill.better to invest in education first then buy the tools to match.thanks for sharing this,something every newbie should understand.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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Aj2

2648 posts in 2401 days


#5 posted 09-26-2019 12:23 AM

They are not shiny?
Maybe it’s because they haven’t been used in 200 years.
I bet the steel is real good and shines up really fast.
I do appreciate the skill and dedication it takes to master your craft with just a few tools.
That’s badass

-- Aj

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SMP

1565 posts in 509 days


#6 posted 09-26-2019 02:46 AM

Definitely something to think about. Same with furniture. People new to making furniture as a weekend hobby think they need a $20k in fancy table saws, planers, shapers, etc. When the antique they have or saw in a museum was made with backsaw, chisel, and hand plane. Kind of funny when you think about it.

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Dark_Lightning

3750 posts in 3712 days


#7 posted 09-26-2019 03:21 AM

Kind of embarrassing, but I’ve been buying carving tools for awhile, with the size and shape meant to be used on projects that I have in mind but haven’t started. When I worked as an auto mechanic after I got out of the Navy, nothing irritated me worse than not having the tool I needed. The Snap-On “drug” truck was a pain, to say the least. At least I know that the tools I have bought have an end use. Pics will be forthcoming, but they may be many months in the making. TBH, I’ve spent about $500 on carving tools that I haven’t used extensively, yet- but have projects planned. Having to drive 39 miles one way to the store makes me consider the purchases carefully.

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

View Eric's profile

Eric

154 posts in 841 days


#8 posted 10-01-2019 04:04 PM

And they designed the moon mission hardware with slide rules, who cares? We live in a golden age where the middle class can afford things no one could imagine in 1600AD. If someone has the means to build a collection of tools without really knowing what they plan to do, why does OP care at all? If someone claims I’m frivolous I want to see all their purchases in the last few years so I can point out their hypocracy….

-- Eric

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Eric

154 posts in 841 days


#9 posted 10-01-2019 04:06 PM

Oops double post

-- Eric

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Planeman40

1472 posts in 3364 days


#10 posted 10-02-2019 05:38 PM

Carving gouges can be expensive. I wanted a nice set and resorted to making my own. They work great!!!
You can see them here: https://www.lumberjocks.com/Planeman40/projects

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View pottz's profile

pottz

7660 posts in 1587 days


#11 posted 10-02-2019 05:47 PM



Carving gouges can be expensive. I wanted a nice set and resorted to making my own. They work great!!!
You can see them here: https://www.lumberjocks.com/Planeman40/projects

- Planeman40


Carving gouges can be expensive. I wanted a nice set and resorted to making my own. They work great!!!
You can see them here: https://www.lumberjocks.com/Planeman40/projects

- Planeman40


i took a look,wow very nice set of gouges,handles look beautiful.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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