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Jeeves19

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Hi. My first post. I've recently started whittling as therapy for Parkinsons. Found a nice series of videos on YT that show me how to make a little man in stages. Trouble is, whenever I achieve a particular stage the knife strokes on the following stage tend to destroy the previous. For instance: I make the top of the hat then am meant to create its rim. I place a single cut around the base of the hat to begin up strokes that should produce the rim. I believe the lady in the film would call this a 'stop cut'. Trouble is, there's nothing seemingly going to stop my upcuts! The blade carves through the wood then carries on through the cut ridge and damages the hat above it. I'm unsure whether Im using a cheap lime (I buy it on Amazon) or what. But Ive tried to work on three men so far and all comes to nought. Damaged shards of lime seem to fall off anything I do and I try to be so careful. Any thoughts? Any comments very appreciated.
 

stuckinthemud

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What type of stroke are you using for the up cut? There are 9 or 10 types of cut used in whittling. I would recommend a scooping action for this but usually you cut into a stop cut not away from it, the stop cut does what its name suggests, it stops the knife as you cut into it
 

stuckinthemud

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As Yoda says, control, learn control you must. Whittling is all about very small chips and tight control of the knife, large expansive strokes are only used for sharpening stakes, perhaps you are using too much energy in the cut and powering through the stop, also, how have you aligned the grain? If the brim is all cross grain only the lightest of touch will keep it intact
 

Jeeves19

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Thanks for your comments. I’m not really sure what stroke I’m using. I create a little ridge which should be the brim but when I come from below to accentuate it shards just seem to fall off said ridge. There’s no mention of grains in the lady’s demonstration. You’d think that if this was important that it would be stressed by the tutor wouldn’t have you? Are there any whittling tutors in the Midlands that you know of?
 

stuckinthemud

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Without watching the video I cant really comment, and figure carving is an intermediate or advanced skill, so perhaps the instructor had covered grain direction elsewhere. Joining a local group will speed up the learning process immeasurably, the British Woodcarving Association website should be able to point you to a local group
 

stuckinthemud

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Regarding your particular problem, I will assume no knowledge, please ignore the bits you already know.
Your knife is not acting as a knife in the cut you are making, it is a splitting wedge, a very sharp splitting wedge.
You are seeking to control the split-out with a cut across the split. You want to stop the split, you are making a "stop-cut"
your stop cut is not deep enough. Hold an off-cut so that one end is in your fist the other being supported by the edge of your work-bench or dining table. Now press you knife blade firmly onto the edge of the off-cut and rock the blade up and down like a see-saw - do not slide it back and forth like a saw - see how impressively deeply you can cut? That is a stop cut. Caution, if you do this too much you can burst off the rim of the hat you are trying too carve - make two stop cuts side to check this out. DO NOT DO THIS CUT IN YOUR LAP YOUR FEMORAL ARTERY DOES NOT WORK VERY WELL IF EXPOSED TO ATMOSPHERE!!!!!
Now, cut along the grain into the stop cuts, do not cut deep, shave the timber off a few microns at a time, 2mm with each cut is way too much!!
Once you get to the bottom of the stop cut, make a new stop cut and repeat
 

stuckinthemud

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The video is actually pretty good, though my knife technique is different from hers, but that is no surprise as no carver uses the same technique as any other, we all have our own quirks. I would suggest its a difficult project as a first carving. A paper knife or spoon is the traditional first project in whittling.
 

xy mosian

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I have followed that series of videos and found them very useful. However the wood used by SharonMyArt is Basswood, this is not as hard as the Lime I have. If you are also using Lime them do not expect your cuts to be as productive. Unless of course your knife is very much sharper than mine, or your muscles tougher.
Have fun, xy
 

stuckinthemud

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Basswood is very much softer than lime but lime gives more detail and a better quality of finish. Lime is plenty soft enough for whittling but does need more strength in the cutting stroke meaning control can be more difficult
 

Jeeves19

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….and I thought lime and basswood were the same thing?! I've stumbled across Jelutong? Haven't bought any yet as its difficult to source but I will get some next week and press on. Stabbed myself quite badly yesterday btw.
 

xy mosian

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Now don't go stabbing yourself. It's a right pipper getting that red stuff out of the grain. Seriously I hope it is not too bad, get back to whittling soon. Jelutong, I believe was favoured by pattern makers, for castings, at one time. Doesn't it come with the occaisional sap filled pocket?
xy
 

sunnybob

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First rule of sharp things;
Keep your flesh away from the blade,
and you will never need first aid.

Every cut should have a risk assessment before starting. Ask yourself where that blade is going to go if you screw up. After a while it becomes automatic, but as you appear to have already learnt that everybody screws up sometime, youre well on the learning curve.
Hope it didnt need too many stitches :shock: :shock:
 

Jeeves19

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Thanks to all of you who responded to this thread. Sorry to be tardy in acknowledgement but I tend to use an iPhone for email access. Every time I write anything and submit on the wretched thing it declares ERROR so then I curse and pledge that I'll boot my hundred year old laptop to repeat but somehow don't get around to it :/

Stuckinthemud, I messaged you privately. Hope that you picked that communication up.

Best, Jeeves.
 

Woody2Shoes

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Jeeves19":qfk299c0 said:
….and I thought lime and basswood were the same thing?! I've stumbled across Jelutong? Haven't bought any yet as its difficult to source but I will get some next week and press on. Stabbed myself quite badly yesterday btw.
You're right they're both Tilia trees. US Basswood (named because in the past it was a source of 'bast' fibre from the bark) is Tilia Americana and what we in UK/Continental Europe would call lime/linden is probably a commercial hybrid of Tilia Europea and maybe Tilia Cordata.

I guess that much of the difference between two different pieces of limewood is due to the drying/seasoning process and the specific growth conditions in which the tree grew, rather than so much as which species/hybrid they are.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilia

Cheers, W2S
 

stuckinthemud

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I thought so too, and so did the books I read but last year I was given a piece of basswood by a carver frustrated by my disbelieving attitude. Basswood is incredibly soft
 

donwatson

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Hope the injuries are minimal. I have looked at some of her videos before and she is quite good. It does take a LOT of practice to get cutting safely AND quickly but it will come.
I had a look at this thread and then wandered off to check out the link you posted, I have been away for a LONG while so have came back to put in my tuppence worth.
Keep practicing/cutting and you will get there.

take care
Don W
 

Lons

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stuckinthemud":3tr6dqge said:
I thought so too, and so did the books I read but last year I was given a piece of basswood by a carver frustrated by my disbelieving attitude. Basswood is incredibly soft
I have supplies of both and have carved both species, there's a huge difference.

You need to take much more care with the finished carving as a consequence because the basswood is much more easily damaged especially if your other half is a bit enthusiastic with a polishing cloth. :roll:
 

stuckinthemud

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I found that all the time I saved on carving I lost on getting it to an acceptable level of finish, the piece was just too soft
 
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