difficulty carving

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geforce83

Member
Jul 8, 2010
30
4
sheffield
hi guys neewbie here in need of some help/advice. i have recently started carving spoons and letter openers with some sucess, however i have just tried to make a bowl using poplar and even though i considered my axe(small forest axe) to be fairly sharp it only seems to chip off small chippings rather than cut when trying to shap the bottom of the bowl. does anyone have any ideas what my problem could be or is it just that the wood had been stood too long since it was cut (1-2wks). thanks in advance
 

vizsla

Native
Jun 6, 2010
1,517
0
Derbyshire
If the wood is dry then it will make smaller chips more likely but depending on witch way the bowl is being carved from the wood so if the grain of the wood is running top to bottom or left to right at some point your going to be battling against the grain so smooth cuts with a axe are hard also as you will no the axe must be razor sharp.
 

bushwacker bob

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 22, 2003
3,819
12
STRANGEUS PLACEUS
If your wood is only offering small chips,take them! Sometime wood doesn't always conform to how you expect it to so you need to adjust your technique to the material you have.
On the bright side if you only get small chips off, you can only make small mistakes. It is unlikely that your wood will become unworkable in a couple of weeks and it would have similar characteristics if it was fresh from the tree.
 

Retired Member southey

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jun 4, 2006
11,098
1
your house!
If your wood is only offering small chips,take them! Sometime wood doesn't always conform to how you expect it to so you need to adjust your technique to the material you have.
On the bright side if you only get small chips off, you can only make small mistakes. It is unlikely that your wood will become unworkable in a couple of weeks and it would have similar characteristics if it was fresh from the tree.


I think you have become my life coach !
 

Stringmaker

Native
Sep 6, 2010
1,891
1
UK
If your wood is only offering small chips,take them! Sometime wood doesn't always conform to how you expect it to so you need to adjust your technique to the material you have.
QUOTE]

That is entirely my approach too.

I am a noob in terms of green woodworking so I just take what the wood chooses to give me. Some of my spoons have a nice longitudinal twist to them as that was how the splitting turned out.

My ambition is to carve a spoon where I can eat round corners!
 

Hoodoo

Full Member
Nov 17, 2003
5,302
13
Michigan, USA
A good method is to make a series of light chops inline with each other that raise the wood but does not remove it, like making a rough featherstick, then follow with a sweeping chop that takes the chips away.
 

geforce83

Member
Jul 8, 2010
30
4
sheffield
Thanks again guys, think I might try to sharpen my axe again it's not sharp enough to cut paper but cuts logs for fire wood with ease
 

heath

Settler
Jan 20, 2006
637
0
42
Birmingham
Thanks again guys, think I might try to sharpen my axe again it's not sharp enough to cut paper but cuts logs for fire wood with ease

I'm ready to be shouted down here, but i don't think the fact that it's not sharp enough to cut paper is an indication that it's not sharp enough to cut wood. I've always thought that the best measure of whether an axe is sharp enough to cut wood is if it will cut, well, er, wood. I haven't tried it, but i don't think my carving axe would currently cut paper, but it works a treat on wood. I'm quite prepared to be wrong though. Obviously there's a difference between sharp enough to carve and sharp enough to split wood, but unless you can tell that it's blunt, then i think that it's more likely to be the nature of the grain or a problem with technique. If, for example, you are cutting end grain, then it's not going to slice off nicely. I'm no expert though, just my thoughts.
heath
 

geforce83

Member
Jul 8, 2010
30
4
sheffield
I was trying to use the axe to shape the bottom of the bowl with the grain running vertically even cutting diagonally across the end grain it only chipped flakes off.
 

Perrari

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 21, 2012
3,090
1
Eryri (Snowdonia)
www.erknives.com
Heath, no need to shout you down, you comments are fair. When I asked will it cut paper I was simply trying to find out how sharp it was ? Which is difficult to do on a forum without actually seeing it.
He's got a Gransfors small forest axe which is a quality axe that you can get razor sharp ! You could shave with it (or slice paper).

Obviously there are other factors to consider like the wood or technique, but the sharper the tool the easier the work.
 

SOAR

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 21, 2007
2,031
4
45
cheshire
Poplar when wet, like yours sounds like it is (only a couple of weeks old, remember that the trees are trying to put out leaf so the saps rising.) can when worked with an axe or knife can resmble potato peel, i.e small chips rather than larger pieces like when working Birch.
 

brancho

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 20, 2007
3,648
411
53
Whitehaven Cumbria
Just watchet that vid my wife looked over my shoulder and said "Dont get any Ideas that's why you have a bloody great workshop out there". I think she was refering to carving in the lounge

My wife said something similiar whe I showed her it when it was first posted.
 

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