CARVING PRACTICUM - VISUALIZATION AND TYPES OF CUTS TO USE


MODEL SHIP CONSTRUCTION - HOME

CARVING HOME

SELECTING WOOD TYPES

TYPES OF CARVING TOOLS

MAKING TRACINGS

DIMENSIONING WOOD AND TRANSFERING THE TRACING TO A BLANK

CUTTING OUT AND HOLDING DOWN YOUR CARVING BLANK

VISUALIZATION AND TYPES OF CUTS TO USE

VISUALIZATION AND TYPES OF CUTS TO USE CONT.

FINISHING

USING SOURCES OTHER THAN YOUR MODEL PLANS

LINKS TO OTHER CARVING HOW-TO SITES:

CARVING INTRODUCTION

CARVING FAQ

The carving that you have seen traced and transfered to a blank so far in this practicum is one from the Wasa that is affixed to the clinker built bulkhead that separates the helmsman's cabin from the weather deck. It resembles a crouching devil or demon with his forearms up beside his head. The reason for its stepped back is that it will be attached tight to the clinker surface. We will now tackle the task of shaping this figure in yew wood.

I should mention here that many model ship carvers like to carve under a magnifying glass. This is something that I don't do yet as my eyes are still in decent health. It will, perhaps, become a more practical thing as I get older. Also, I like to keep looking at the carving as other people will see it. I have heard it said that a magnifying glass allows you to carve in more detail and the carving will look even more detailed than it would without the mafnification. This is just another thing that comes down to preference.

In the below picture, to the left, the carving is shown with stop cuts behind the figures forearm and around the backside of the figure's head. Stop cuts are made by plunging your blade multiple times into the wood along a line of elevation difference in your carving, which is usualy denoted by the lines from your plan that you transfered to the blank. Wood can then be removed from one side of the cut, thus making an elevation break. Make your initial stop cuts rather shallow; you can always come back later and make them deeper. When you go to cut the wood on one side of a stop cut, your blade will automatically stop where you made the original cut, hence the name. In the picture on the right, I am removing material along the stop cuts that I made. Since the carving needs to drop behind the figures upright forearm, the wood on the backside needs to be removed.   

Note: any of the pictures in this section can be clicked on in order to get a larger, more detailed view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the below picture, the wood behind the arm and head of the figure is cleared out to a satisfactory extent. I am also going to cut the stop cuts along the top of the arm, the leg and buttocks, the top and bottom of the forearm are all places where downward cuts, or stop cuts, into the surface of the figure need to be made. I usualy use both hands on the knife, with one finger down close to the blade or even on it, and the other on the shaft of the handle. This allows me more control. Obviously, however, I could not hold the camera and use two hands on the knife at the same time.  

Once all of the stop cuts are made, the next thing to do is cut the areas on one side of stop cuts that need to be cut down in relation to the part on the other side of the stop cut. In this carving this includes the upper boundary between the figures leg and forward part of the stomach, and the lower boundary between the figures arm and body. This step takes some visualization. What do you want to be of higher elevation in the carving? What needs to be lower? Another way to think about this when making these decisions is how light will interact with your carving. Light will be reflected off of higher or lower surfaces differently and cast shadows to the lower ones, depending on the direction of the light source. This play of light is what will bring life to your carving.

The arm, stomach, leg etc of the carving now need to be rounded off since no figure has any part of its body that is perfectly square. Hold the blade at an 45 degree angle and gently push it forward along a square edge of the carving, making shallow cuts. Move the blade to different angles and push it across the wood making shallow cuts to make it more round if you desire. You can always cut your stop cut down farther in order to make the transition between the two parts more drastic. Notice that the front part of the stomach is cut down farther than the back part in order to simulate a rounded stomach that somewhat hangs between the legs of the crouching figure.

Now it is time to turn the carving and the scrap piece of wood on edge in order to start carving the forward edge. Clamp it in the vice like the below picture shows.  

We will start with the legs of the figure by making a stop cut down the center of this face of the carving where the legs are going to be.

Next, I am pictured carving a grove between the legs of the figure. I make this groove wider at the bottom since I want to make it look like his legs are slightly spread as he stands and his feet be narrower than the upper parts of his legs.  

Round off the legs throught to get a realistic appearance.

The next part includes carving the face. But first we need to make a stop cut in this carving around the forhead since there is a separate surface over the figures head. Then we need to take wood out from between the figures head and this surface in order to make it look like there is a separation between the two. 

In a face, the eyes are set approximately halfway up on the forward side of the head. Make stop cuts down into the face as shown where you want the top of the eyes to be.

Now, make vertical stop cuts coming down from your original stop cut as also shown in the above picture. This will eventually form the nose. Take your blade and hold it at an angle and push it up towards your first stop cut alongside the nose. You are now cutting out the eye sockets. Make a small grove on the outside edge of the figures eye socket and round off the edge of the face while tapering it down to the chin.    

Now, the carving is really starting to take shape. The arm on one side, the legs, the eye sockets, the nose and the general shape of the body are visible. Notice how, on this particular carving, the socle that the figure is standing on has a thin ledge around the upper part. This is done in the same way as every other aspect of carving that you have learned thus far. By using stop cuts and trimming unwanted wood on one side or the other.