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Some wood work problems….?

Recently started my first carving project. I basically cutting out a sort of display shelving unit from a tree trunk and I’m doing it without the aid of power tools. I’m running into some problems as my knowledge is some what limited. I’ve supplied some pictures to help you see my problems. I’m using poplar wood.
I’m having a hard time keeping a smooth cut. When I get to a point where I’m breaking through from one side to the other, the wood just starts to break and I can’t figure out the technique I need to use.

Take a look at the pics and let me know what you think. Any ideas, tips and websites would be gratefully appreciated.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk31/devine1001uk/wood/woodpic.jpg
http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk31/devine1001uk/wood/ruffidea.jpg

All the best

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4 Responses to “Some wood work problems….?”

  1. Les H said:

    dont go all the way through on the working side turn the work over and finish the cut

  2. thewrangler_sw said:

    First off – whatever you are using to carve with is dull. You’re tearing the wood fibers instead of cutting them. You need really sharp tools to carve with. (It looks like you are using a dull chisel, and hammering it, is only tearing the wood, instead of cutting it) One of the first things to learn about hand carving, is actually how to sharpen your tools.

    While Poplar is technically, a hardwood – it is among the softer woods to work with. You’d have better results with a harder wood. It may also help to take smaller ‘bites’ with your carving tools. Let the tool do the work, don’t force it.

    Give some serious consideration to using power tools to remove the bulk of the openings, and finish up with hand carving. For example, use a drill & large bit, to remove stock quickly, from the corners of the openings, and a reciprocating saw to help rough cut the openings.

    When you are about to cut through to the other side, flip the piece over, and go at it from that direction.

    WoodCraft is an excellent resource for hand carvers looking for tools, materials, and books, etc – http://www.woodcraft.com/

    Good Luck

  3. oil field trash said:

    I want to add to the comment on tool sharpness. You need to have your tools super sharp. Not only do you get a smoother cut but also they are actually safer to use. At least half of your time as a carver needs to be spend sharpening your tools.

    Also cut with the grain and not against it when ever possible.

  4. Sarah said:

    I agree with the above answer. It would be better if you heavily sharpened your carving tools to have a finer and smoother wood carved results. Shelves made of wood are great furniture inside the house. But it should look well-polished and presentable.

    If you are looking for equipment tools needed for your project, here’s the link: http://www.bennettsironmongery.co.uk/




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