Monday, October 25, 2010

A Third Hand

Cutting a carving blank on a band saw still leaves a lot of material to be removed. It becomes unsafe to try to hack off all the corners with a band saw, so I turn to my large sculpting gouges. These guys are big and they take off extra material fast. But I need a  vice or clamps to hold the work in place. Often they slip off and they can damage the wood. Plus I have to worry about hitting a clamp with my gouge and chipping the edge.

This contraption is a solution to not having a third hand!  It is a little jig made from some scrap plywood, a couple of bicycle inner tubes and some padding. This device can also be a good helper device for roughing out blanks for carvers who don't own a band saw. I cut a couple slots in the plywood and found some foam rubber laying around the shop. For hold down "clamps" I chose some old bike inner tubes - free from a local bike repair shop. You could also use an old belt or strap or even a length of rope. Clamp down the jig to saw horses or a bench or table top. Feed the straps up through the slots.
Lay the carving blank under the strap loops and place some pads under the wood. Now all you have to do is put your foot through the loops and apply pressure to hold down. You can easily apply as much pressure as you need to offset the force of carving. When you need to rotate the blank, just let up on the foot pressure and adjust. Very fast and simple. It can be made to work standing or sitting down. Best of all, no dents in the wood and no worry about hitting a metal clamp with one of your tools. If you cut the rubber tube - so what? I find this jig to be very flexible and the technique removes wood fast! You have both hands on the tool and with most woods, you don't need to use a mallet.

1 comment:

Phil Land said...

That is really awesome. I really could have used that a couple of months ago. It would have saved me a bunch of bucks shipping my gouge to Rick at Little Shavers.