LumberJocks

I carved my finger

  • Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by Fool_elias posted 05-16-2022 12:35 PM 666 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Fool_elias's profile

Fool_elias

12 posts in 43 days


05-16-2022 12:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hello!
I am very new to wood carving. I have been working for 2 weeks on a project in the aim of practicing and learning through the journey.
Last evening I was trying to finish up something real quick so I deliberately held the tool incorrectly and in the next move it went right into my finger and slashed it. It was very deep and it continued bleeding for so long.
I am really unconfident around the tools and I always pictured such an accident to happen. I am lucky it wasn’t that extremely bad of an injury, like my finger is still there haha.
I am really weak and I can’t control the strength I put on the wood. I don’t know if I am just fine and it is the tools or the wood that is causing the problem. I always notice that wood carvers hold stuff in their hands while carving them, but I couldn’t mimic them. Should I bring something to press the wood on like a surface? What kind of surface it should be? Should i sharpen my tools or maybe try practicing more? I am completely lost, please help!
Thank you so much for your time I really appreciate it! Have a nice day!


22 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

5620 posts in 3480 days


#1 posted 05-16-2022 01:12 PM

It would be helpful to know what tool, what kind of wood and how you hold it.

Hope your hand heals quickly.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

4492 posts in 3290 days


#2 posted 05-16-2022 01:30 PM

Gotta keep those carving tools sharp or it will take uncontrollable effort to use them. Use soft wood like basswood and keep black pepper handy to stop bleeding.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View MrWolfe's profile (online now)

MrWolfe

1972 posts in 1615 days


#3 posted 05-16-2022 01:47 PM

Aj is right. Sharp tools are a must. A good wood carver’s vice for larger pieces or even a make shift vice from a hand screw clamp held down with another clamp. If working on a smaller scale then meat cutter’s glove may be a solution. I learned pretty early on that you have to watch and imagine where the chisel or knife with go if it slips… don’t want it to go into you.
Good luck.

View mpounders's profile

mpounders

1023 posts in 4387 days


#4 posted 05-16-2022 02:51 PM

“Last evening I was trying to finish up something real quick so I deliberately held the tool incorrectly and in the next move it went right into my finger and slashed it.”

Don’t carve when you are tired. Don’t try to hurry. Don’t use tools incorrectly. Don’t point a tool at something you don’t want to cut! Wear safety equipment. I have broken all of these rules myself and suffered the consequences also. I carve a lot while holding the wood in my hand and you can wear a kevlar or other safety glove to reduce damage to your hand. But it is important to control your cuts and where the tool will go if it slips or skates out of the wood. Gloves can be penetrated and still cause damage, so be sure to control your cuts and your tools. A sharp tool is safer because it takes less force to make cuts. And you can also place the wood on a bench or another piece of wood and cut down to that. A wooden surface will get cut up, but won’t damage your tools. And of course, if you are carving harder wood, then it takes more effort to carve them. If possible, try and find a carving club that you could visit with. They could offer feedback and teach you some good habits and advise you on sharpening and tools. Most beginners start with the wrong wood and the wrong tools and the tools aren’t sharp. All of these things can be discouraging after watching someone carving so easily on youtube. But it looks easy because they are using the right wood and sharp tools and have a lot of experience in using their tools. You do have to build up your muscles in using your tools and in learning how they cut. Don’t give up! Get a little more knowledge or ask for advise while you heal a bit.

-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mikepounders.weebly.com

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

3868 posts in 1093 days


#5 posted 05-16-2022 03:46 PM

I cut myself enough just bumping into the business end of a sharp tool. I never allow my body to get in front of the tool edge while working with it. I as stated above look at some carving vises and other work holding

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

1917 posts in 3527 days


#6 posted 05-16-2022 03:59 PM

I use a thumb guard almost all the time when I’m carving. And I also have a carving glove – that I’ve loaned out to a beginner.
If you don’t have a thumb guard and a carving glove, you can always get some friction tape from the pharmacy and wrap parts of your fingers most likely to get sliced.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1797 posts in 1395 days


#7 posted 05-16-2022 04:11 PM

The metaphor of a woodcarving “journey” implies that if you “go there,” you’ve done it. The truth is much more complicated. Acquiring knowledge about wood, tools, techniques, safety, sharpening, etc. involves “side trips” or delays that stand in the way of your destination. Putting them all together takes practice.
On the specific topic of cutting your finger, you need to learn how to plan and carry out each cut . . . of the wood. This often means defining the slice with a stop cut that will tell your blade to quit cutting. The position of each stop cut is planned in relation to the wood grain and project pattern. Don’t be mislead by time-lapse videos.
Carving is a slow process. More time is spend considering if you need to cut deeper or round the corners than shaving off wood chips. You may need to rough out the nose before working on details of the beard.

-- You know, this site doesn't require woodworking skills, but you should know how to write.

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1284 posts in 4309 days


#8 posted 05-16-2022 07:19 PM

I assume that you’re talking about carving in the round?
If it’s relief carving you should get your work out of your hand and onto a work surface. Immobilized. Then both hands will be on the gouge (or one on the gouge and the other holding the mallet) and it becomes much more difficult to carve into yourself.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

21999 posts in 2630 days


#9 posted 05-16-2022 07:49 PM

First, I keep a supply of bandaids in my carving tool box. And I probably average using one every two carving sessions or so. Cutting yourself goes with the territory. You can get cut proof gloves or leather finger protectors to minimize injury but don’t expect to never leave blood on your projects ;-)

As far as work holding goes, there’s not really enough information given. It depends much on they types of carvings you are attempting and the types of tools you are using. But in general, I hold the work however it is most comfortable for me. If it’s awkward to work on it, you increase the chances of slipping and slicing a digit.

As others have alluded to, if you have to ask whether or not you need to sharpen your tools, you need to sharpen your tools. Contrary to intuition, sharp tools are the source of fewer injuries than dull ones. Get them as sharp as you possibly can then strop often to maintain the edge.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Fool_elias's profile

Fool_elias

12 posts in 43 days


#10 posted 05-19-2022 10:30 AM



It would be helpful to know what tool, what kind of wood and how you hold it.

Hope your hand heals quickly.

- Redoak49


It is true- I bought a book and I will study these things thoroughly before I attempt it again.
Thank you so much!

View Fool_elias's profile

Fool_elias

12 posts in 43 days


#11 posted 05-19-2022 10:34 AM



Gotta keep those carving tools sharp or it will take uncontrollable effort to use them. Use soft wood like basswood and keep black pepper handy to stop bleeding.
Good Luck

- Aj2


It is really uncontrollable! I’ll sharpen the tools before I work and find softer alternatives to wood, thank you for the advice!

View Fool_elias's profile

Fool_elias

12 posts in 43 days


#12 posted 05-19-2022 10:41 AM



Aj is right. Sharp tools are a must. A good wood carver s vice for larger pieces or even a make shift vice from a hand screw clamp held down with another clamp. If working on a smaller scale then meat cutter s glove may be a solution. I learned pretty early on that you have to watch and imagine where the chisel or knife with go if it slips… don t want it to go into you.
Good luck.

- MrWolfe

Thank you for the helpful advice! I will try to work more carefully from now on as well~ Thank you, I really appreciate it!

View Fool_elias's profile

Fool_elias

12 posts in 43 days


#13 posted 05-19-2022 10:47 AM



“Last evening I was trying to finish up something real quick so I deliberately held the tool incorrectly and in the next move it went right into my finger and slashed it.”

Don t carve when you are tired. Don t try to hurry. Don t use tools incorrectly. Don t point a tool at something you don t want to cut! Wear safety equipment. I have broken all of these rules myself and suffered the consequences also. I carve a lot while holding the wood in my hand and you can wear a kevlar or other safety glove to reduce damage to your hand. But it is important to control your cuts and where the tool will go if it slips or skates out of the wood. Gloves can be penetrated and still cause damage, so be sure to control your cuts and your tools. A sharp tool is safer because it takes less force to make cuts. And you can also place the wood on a bench or another piece of wood and cut down to that. A wooden surface will get cut up, but won t damage your tools. And of course, if you are carving harder wood, then it takes more effort to carve them. If possible, try and find a carving club that you could visit with. They could offer feedback and teach you some good habits and advise you on sharpening and tools. Most beginners start with the wrong wood and the wrong tools and the tools aren t sharp. All of these things can be discouraging after watching someone carving so easily on youtube. But it looks easy because they are using the right wood and sharp tools and have a lot of experience in using their tools. You do have to build up your muscles in using your tools and in learning how they cut. Don t give up! Get a little more knowledge or ask for advise while you heal a bit.

- mpounders


Thanks so much for taking the time for me! I was very careless after I got some hang of it… I will try my best to be careful on where I am my tools and I started using larger pieces of wood to cut down on as per your advice. I will try to learn from professionals and not rush into anything.
Thank you so much for the invaluable advice!

View Fool_elias's profile

Fool_elias

12 posts in 43 days


#14 posted 05-19-2022 10:59 AM



I cut myself enough just bumping into the business end of a sharp tool. I never allow my body to get in front of the tool edge while working with it. I as stated above look at some carving vises and other work holding

- controlfreak


the tool edge while working with it. I as stated above look at some carving vises and other work holding

Yeah they really cut very fast! I am looking for a woodworking vice so I can hold the wood with. Thanks for the advice!

View Fool_elias's profile

Fool_elias

12 posts in 43 days


#15 posted 05-19-2022 11:02 AM



I use a thumb guard almost all the time when I m carving. And I also have a carving glove – that I ve loaned out to a beginner.
If you don t have a thumb guard and a carving glove, you can always get some friction tape from the pharmacy and wrap parts of your fingers most likely to get sliced.

- Underdog


Oh that is a very useful substitute till I get my hands on a carving glove! Thank you so much!!

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com