LED lighting advice for carving?

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Argus

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There's no obvious home for carving issues, but here goes.......I need a little advice on lighting…. Specifically LEDs.

Over many years I’m an intermittent carver – like turning, it’s not my main wood-pursuit but it comes to the fore now and again.

Recently I’ve resurrected letter carving and at the same time I have also resurrected an old problem in close-encounter carving – lighting.

My set-up for lettering is that I work standing up, carving flat, without a mallet, on a set of chops bolted to a bench. The working-height is about 44 inches (or1100 mm) off the floor.

The workshop window is north-facing, I mostly work in shaded daylight, and I don’t use magnification much, preferring decent eyesight, but I need good, but not overwhelming illumination; also, an array that can be varied to allow me to see the effects of shade on the incisions from various angles.

A bit of a niche requirement, but where I’m finding difficulty is understanding the range of LED lighting sets that are available.

Has anyone else had this issue?
 
What about a photography ring light. You can get ones that change the colour a bit as well as the brightness.

You can also get small LED photography panels that can have the brightness and colour changed.
 
A new one on me, surely all you need is decent lighting without shadows that illuminates the workpiece. I would suggest two decent lights, one one each side shining onto your work from the sides and keep them low but also some decent general lighting for the workplace.
 
Led bulbs are available for most types of fitting these days. I've retrofitted them to various track, desk and pendant lights all round the house. It's hard to gauge their real-life output from the figures for watts, lumens and beam angle though. But colour temperature is an easier choice in my book, and for most purposes a 'warm white' of about 3000K is generally friendlier than a 'cool white' which can be a bit clinical.

Do you have existing lamps that you can experiment with?
 
A new one on me, surely all you need is decent lighting without shadows that illuminates the workpiece.

Good question....I do need good light, but also the ability to introduce shadow by changing it.
But the whole point of incised lettering is to capture a changing illusion of the shape of the letter by exploiting shadow within the incision. It is something that the Greeks and Romans enhanced with the addition of the serif.

Outdoors, it's appearance changes with the angle of the sun.

At present I do this by turning the work in the chops to check it..... not so easy on larger pieces

@rogxwhit - I do have a couple of really cheapo-orrible LEDs and they are precisely that.......... not very good. I hope that there are better quality lights available.

What I'm trying to achieve is illumination that is good enough to see the fine detail as it is carved, but also to test the appearance of shadow from different angles. So I am assuming that I'll need to assemble a few different lighting sets around the bench.

@Lorenzl's idea about photo-lighting sounds interesting....... so thanks for that .....assuming that I can afford it!

LED lighting seems to be readily available, but I'm a bit 'mused by the jargon...... which is sometimes beyond me.
I was hoping to see if there have been any similar experiments using LED - unfortunately filament bulbs have vanished into history.

Anyway, thanks to all for the interest..
 
Is this like putting a shadow on fonts? I used to have big problems with shadow in photography but you want shadow which cannot be easily controlled due to the direction of the light and any object that impeeds it. Sharp edges come to mind for shaddows but it will be just a variable amongst many. You have not mentioned color, temperature or kelvins which will also play a part, are you wanting warm, cool or daylight to work in? You may find that you need filters on your lighting to knock out the blue.
 
Is this like putting a shadow on fonts? I used to have big problems with shadow in photography but you want shadow which cannot be easily controlled due to the direction of the light and any object that impeeds it. Sharp edges come to mind for shaddows but it will be just a variable amongst many. You have not mentioned color, temperature or kelvins which will also play a part, are you wanting warm, cool or daylight to work in? You may find that you need filters on your lighting to knock out the blue.

Thanks, Roy, but no - It's not like the illusion of shadow surrounding printed fonts.

The shadow in the finished 3-dimensional incision on a flat surface is very real and wholly within the carved image. Unpainted, incised letters would be barely visible without natural shadow.

It is the option of generating temporary shadow by varying the lighting level but principally the angles to check work as I go that I'm hoping to achieve.

The rest of the jargon about colour, Kelvins and temperature, as I said , is beyond me !
 
mentioned color, temperature or kelvins
That's what I forgot to mention in my post. When I said colour it can just be colour temperature - cool white to warm white.

I worked at a company that made lenses amongst other things. Due to a fire we had to move premises and we had a company draw up all the walls and services.
In the lens department they covered the ceiling in fluorescent light which seemed strange to me. When I checked with the glass polishing manager he confirmed that was wrong. He needed minimal overhead lighting and angle poise lamps to highlight the lens finish.

Do you want for instance general lighting when working and also spot lighting to see the shadows?

Not all photography lighting is expensive I brought a 400mm dia ring light for ~£80 my daughter uses.
 
Image borrowed from www.rmd-leuchten.de
Colour-temperature-of-a-led-1350x675.jpg
 
I think you need very good even light, for working, but have an articulated 'spot' light to move around to create shadows.
It would be handy to be able to vary the brightness of each source to change the balance. varying the colour might give some interesting shadows, but not sure if it would be any better than white light sources.

Large sources of light give even lighting, so a well diffused panel type light, or a few of them will give a nice even light, then have a smaller articulated lamp on a dimmer to move around to create shadows. Something like an angle poise mounted upside down above the work area, so you can rotate it and vary the angle.
 
There's no obvious home for carving issues, but here goes.......I need a little advice on lighting…. Specifically LEDs.

Over many years I’m an intermittent carver – like turning, it’s not my main wood-pursuit but it comes to the fore now and again.

Recently I’ve resurrected letter carving and at the same time I have also resurrected an old problem in close-encounter carving – lighting.

My set-up for lettering is that I work standing up, carving flat, without a mallet, on a set of chops bolted to a bench. The working-height is about 44 inches (or1100 mm) off the floor.

The workshop window is north-facing, I mostly work in shaded daylight, and I don’t use magnification much, preferring decent eyesight, but I need good, but not overwhelming illumination; also, an array that can be varied to allow me to see the effects of shade on the incisions from various angles.

A bit of a niche requirement, but where I’m finding difficulty is understanding the range of LED lighting sets that are available.

Has anyone else had this issue?

12w LED R80 Reflector Bulb 6400K Cool White appears to be what you need. These bulbs are equivalent to the old 100W incandescent bulbs and at near daylight temperature (colour) with little or no heat. Perhaps a couple of angle-poise fittings either side of your working area which can be adjusted to suit your needs.

 
Thanks to all who have provided some ideas.

It's not an area that I know much about, so I'll systematically work through the suggestions.

Again, many thanks.
 
Two suggestions:
The brand Unilite make rechargeable LED worklights of several types. Their range includes "high CRI" lights meaning good colour rendition not marred by the strong flgreen, purple and other tints seen in cheap LED lights. These are all adjustable brightness and have 3 or 4 tints from warm to cold.
They are aimed at painters, car finishers and the like. Build quality is very good.
Best place to buy is ebay where they are offered regularly and can be found used or new and included in ebay's regular 10 -15% sales.

I also second the suggestion about photographic lights. LED panels are sold as video lights and the same adjustable colour and brightness are available. Godox and Aputure are two Chinese brands that make a decent product in multiple sizes.

For support, look at photographic lighting "grip". The term for the multitude of stands and clamps that the film industry use to fasten lights all over a film set. Manfrotto is a leading brand and Calumet are or certainly were a leading retailer who also had a lot of decent good value own brand products.

You will find clamps that grip the edge of a bench or a bar, heavy duty flexible gooseneck, spring clamps, all sorts ....

Maybe a
cri1650_1.jpg

Or
2560x1500_CRI-700R_6.jpg


Raised up a bit on a manfrotto 209 or similar tabletop tripod ?
71S3GswuVzL._AC_SX679_.jpg

Look at the Sunwayphoto brand too.

That should give you a lowish angle moveable light that is also a useful light for odd jobs and power cuts. These run for over a day on low and bright really is :)
 
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Of course just when I decide not to keep a record of every source of information I have used, I need one.

I am trying to start more carvings on a small scale. Lighting can be a problem. Here is where I could do with a link to offer, sadly not.
Part of my research, OK web browsing, led me to look at engraving, as the problems there would be similar. I did find some guidance with respect to lighting.

From memory.
The source of the light needs to be below eye level, this to avoid the eye reacting to a sudden bright light.
Light source is best to the front at about half past ten for right handers, and slightly above the work.
Lamp is prefferably not extremely bright, equivalent to 70-80 watts is about right.
Colour temperature chosen is often too blue, a slightly softer colour is to be prefferred, 3500°K to 5000°K works well.

From the above I chose an LED outdoor lamp of 850lm. The effect just one of a good, unspectactular, illumination.
I use a similar light source over my bench in my dull garage workshop, it saves the problems associated with moving form garage to bright sunight and t'other way around.

HTH, geoff
 
I've got an old anglepoise mounted on a simple floor stand, off the bench. Various bulbs can be fitted but the most important thing is being able to move it about easily and the reflector giving it a slightly focussed beam which shows up shadows such as from marking gauge lines or from planing irregularities. Should be good for carving too.
 
I think what you need is a chat with a Lighting Gaffer (TV & Film), many years ago such a friend, lent and set up lights for me to photograph cabinets for a brochure. V.interesting but above my head. So much more to it than would seem to be the case.
 
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