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Carving Chisel Advice

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ByronBlack

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SWMBO bought me a dvd on wood carving - and was thoroughly engaged and i'm looking to start a little carving of my own. I'll mostly use it to decorate the bodies of guitars, or for small items on furniture.

The guy on the dvd recommended Henry Taylor gouges, but for a small set of what he used on the dvd is going to set me back nearly £80 - this is too much for me to spend on something I just want to try out.

So, whilest looking around for alternative, I came across these at Rutlands:
http://www.rutlands.co.uk/cgi-bin/psPro ... ,0,0,1|23|

They are dirt cheap, but are they utter rubbish, or would these be useful for a complete newb like myself to try out with first?

OR does anyone have any other alternative's to the henry taylor tools that are good but a bit cheaper?
 

Chris Knight

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Byron - at that price they are utter rubbish. Reckon to pay £8-£15 for a good chisel. The best modern ones IMHO are by Pfeil (Tilgear stock them) Ashley Iles are good too. Modern HTs are not as good as they used to be.

Main things to look out for in a chisel are thin steel at the business end, a handle which is in line with the metal bit, pre-war or known good steel from a good maker as mentioned above. Many modern chisels come pre-sharpened which is useful but often they are shaped badly which is worse than useless to a beginner, get a good book (Chris PYe has some) that describe the sharpening/shaping process.

Modern Vee tools can often be awful and as they are the hardest tools to shape/sharpen it pays to get a good one - Ashley Iles probably have the best Vee tool at the moment.

You could also consider a starter set of Flexcut tools, their Vee tool is pretty good too and the tools shapes are fine and they are sharp. If you can get on at all with these, it won't be long before you get hooked and go after a bunch more tools though. You have been warned!

If you go the regular chisel route, this makes a good starter set

 

Gill

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Chris mentioned the Flexcut tools. Santa bought me a beginners kit which comprises four interchangable cutters, a handle, a guide booklet and a block of lime for an introductory project. Here's a piccy:



I've made a start on the introductory project and it seems to be coming along nicely, although it's very much a "Work In Progress":



Of course, I'm a novice and not really qualified to comment, but I think you could do a lot worse than try Flexcut.

Gill

PS Can anyone suggest a good book to help me learn more about carving?
 

PowerTool

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Gill - just ordered tonight from Craftsmans Book Club "Woodcarving" - Book 1 Basic Techniques by Ian Norbury,published by Stobart Davies.

Have no idea how good it is (or isn't :D ) yet,but it seemed like a good entry-level book,so fingers crossed.. 8)

Andrew
 

ByronBlack

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Thanks for the replies guys.

Chris, the chisels you have in the photo, which make are they?

I've been looking at the flexcut chisel sets, and have to say i'm quite tempted by them as I will mostly be doing detailed work, but can you also work on larger carvings with these, or would a regular set of chisels be a better bet for the future?

Also, I keep seeing mention of 'Chris Pye' i've been wanting to get a book to help fill in the blanks of what I learned on the dvd, does anyone have a recommendation of a good starter book?
 

Chris Knight

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Byron,

The chisels are not mine but they look like Addis or older Marples.

As to books, I find them all helpful but deficient in some way! A good one is "Woodcarving - The Beginner's Guide" by William Wheeler and Charles H. Hayward/ It is an older book - my edition was published in 1972 but it is pretty comprehensive and very sound in its techniques and not too hard to follow for more modern books, anything by Chris Pye is good, ditto Dick Onians and Ian Norbury.

Gill,
That looks like good progress - keep it coming!
 

MikeW

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Yep, I do believe those are Marples carving chisels.

These are mine...



I've had these for more years than I want to admit. The older Marples are great tools.

As for books, the Hayward book is really good as Chris says. Also, Pye's web site is full of good tutorials and other information:

Chris Pye's web site

Take care, Mike
 
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