Sunday, October 10, 2010

Start with a straight blade knife

As I said in the first couple posts, this blog is about helping others who are in the same boat as me - pretty good, but wanting to get better. To do that, you'll have to make some decisions and probably spend some money. For sure, you have to make some sort of time commitment. Whether you hope to be the next great caricature carver or just want to dazzle your friends with an 8-foot chain carved out of a 2X4, you need too study and get the right tools. Choosing (and getting) lots of tools is part of the fun of being a carver. I am not a big fan of buying sets of tools. Note: this is one of those do as I say not as I do moments). I have purchased several so-called sets. But learn from my mistake - you won't use them all. If you can, buy what you need, as you need it and your tools collection will grow, have no fear. The best tool to master is the straight blade. It can be a two-blade pen knife, a fixed blade carving knife or a Stanley utility knife. Learn to sharpen it and do a bunch of whittling to learn what the tool can do. Get yourself a good instructional book or find a couple beginner tutorials on YouTube, and start to work.
I learned a lot from this book. It's still available online. I was lucky to find this one used for a couple bucks. Every project here teaches something about the limits of your skill, the wood you choose and the tool you are working with. I encourage you to do multiple versions of each using different tools and different woods.

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