Useful Tools used for Carving

The most useful tools lists are shown below

I most commonly use these four tools. The long-handled gouge I use for most bosting-out processes.

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Top to bottom:
3/8-inch #13
Long Bend Gouge ½-inch #41
Parting Tool ¾-inch #5
Straight Gouge 1-inch
#4 Straight Gouge

A handful of tools-top to bottom: straight parting tool (note heavy handle), right-hand short bent skew, knife-edged rif-fler, straight parting tool. (Courtesy Maine Coast Fisherman)

About one half the tools from a carver's chest. These are the tools that are used from time to time. The beginner does not need all these. {Courtesy Maine Coast Fisherman)

They are identified so that you can see what I think are the most useful, once you get into the serious business of "making something." The mallet is a most important part of the collection. Mine is lignum vitae. It weighs about a pound and a half. That is heavy enough at the day's end to warrant a steak about an inch and a half thick, after you've refreshed the inner man with the cup that cheers. I don't think that a beginner should try a heavier mallet to start with. What the mallet does is to drive the tool in the direction in which it is guided. It can raise a lump on the knuckle of your finger with equal facility. The mallet should be used with caution to begin with. Light, tapping strokes are more effective than hard, driving strokes and a lot less painful if you miss the end of the tool handle—and you will.

By the way, don't try to drive a carving tool with a metal hammer. It isn't a good mallet; it burrs the end of the handle and isn't made for that purpose. Avoid abusing the end of the tool handle because, when you start using the chisel for fine cuts, the end of the handle bears on the palm of your hand and a rough end can raise a blister quickly. I usually varnish all my tool handles when I get them, then rub the varnish off with No. 4 Ought paper and then wax them. This adds protection to the smooth finish and, once done, need not be done again if care is taken in driving the tool.

It is necessary to sharpen all tools after you buy them. They can be rough-sharpened by the dealer when you get them. Even so, you must stone them, hone them, and strop them before you start work. Good oilstones can be bought from many sources. I have found that a Carborundum stone with a coarse face and a fine face is a good combination. When I get a new stone I usually soak it in oil. To do this I put the stone in a large-sized tin can such as fruit juices are packed in. Then I fill the can as full as possible with a mixture of light machine oil (automobile oil No. 10) and kerosene—about two parts oil to one of the latter. Let the stone soak a couple of days. Turn it end for end and soak it another day.

This soaking lubricates the stone so that steel chips won't fill the pores of the stone as you use it. A few drops of the same oil on the face of the stone keeps the pores open and floats off the chips. The few drops of oil while you are using the stone prolongs its life, prevents it from getting glazed, and makes it cut faster. All stones other than hones, which are fine-grained natural stones, are better off for this same treatment.

You will need slips of various shapes. These are smaller stones-artificial, specially shaped to fit the cutting edges of your tools. They are essential parts of your kit and care should be used to prevent breaking or marring the sharp profiles. Hones should be lubricated with water or saliva.






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