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Bill Hudson

Mini wood carving tools.

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Bill Hudson

Debora,

You posted some of your carving tools on FB. Could you post them here too?  I have a question about the Pfeill gouges. Are the long shanks a problem? 

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Debora Beijerbacht

Ofcourse, i'll gladly show you what I use to carve with. Here's the major bulk I use;

 

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First are my major cutters, no x-acto knives but scalpels. I love the mounting system which is sturdy yet very quick and simple, and you can get most blades in bulk, no matter what country are. And razor sharp :) From top to bottom; # 23. Very common blade, readily available and I find the curve is perfect for taking of slithers. # 11, straight blade with an angle at the tip, making it relatively stronger then the one below, # 10A. That one has a tip that continues passed the bevel making it weaker but more precise. And at the bottom is just one of the few dental scrapers i've got, this one's 1.5 mm wide and sharpened at 3 sides.

 

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Then come the Pfeill gouges. I prefer these above the ones from Dokyard, mostly cos of the handle, which fits perfectly in the palm of my hand. It gives me great steering control. Can't compare the durability with other brands, but I'm very happy with them. 

 

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Below is just one of a few various shaped bits that i've made from broken tool bits. Chucked in a hand vice they are very versatile. I've found that making these is very simple and I don't worry too much about getting the perfect shape. Although i do focus on shape of course, I've found that the major aim is to get them razor sharp. Then they'll work a treat. 

 

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This one is a gouge Bill Robertson showed us how to make in class. In 2013 he taught an 'introduction to Rococo carving' class which I attended and totally enjoyed. The bonus side steps he always takes to give us students extra info on how to do things at home are just wonderful! It's a rod that's drilled out and then shaped and sharpened accordingly.

 

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Next is one out of a set I got when I attended a class given by David Hurley. If I remember correct they are made up of masonry nails (?). The sides are taken down till you get a strip. And then the bottom of one side of the strip is gradually grind down to a straight edge. And then you've got a miniature chisel.  Making a set of three of these, in various wideness let's you get in all nooks and crannies.

 

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And from that same set of David is this gouge or shallow scoop. 

 

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These are most of the cutters I've got. I do have a bunch of other machine bits, but work those more as scrapers. I use some more then others, depending on the jobs at hand, but for sure any one else might prefer others.

 

One thing that's for sure; no tool or brand is more superior than a sharp tool. A dull edge will tear the fibres and increase shoot outs. Carving is like putting your feet on the peddle, giving gas, and at the same time stepping on the break. You give direction and force, but at the same time you have to make sure you rest some of your hand to be able to stop when you want to. Only a really sharp tool will cut smooth and predictable, increasing your controle as you give gas and step the break.

 

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So i have this honing compound at hand all the time. It's a stick and can be rubbed onto paper that's on a hard surface and you've instantly got yourself a honing surface. Hone often and it will keep you from getting blunt tools and the need to sharpen too often.

 

Hope this is of any use???

 

In answer to your Q Bill; sometimes the Pfeill gouges are too long. When doing a hollow shape for instance. But then almost any tool/cutter will be hard to use. You can if you go across the grain/cut across the shape but when making miniatures you quickly run into 'space issues' anyway :)

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Catherine Ronan

Thank you for showing us those. It is all very interesting to me. I would love to try carving something one day.

 

PS... Now we all have your finger prints too.

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Josje Veenenbos

Great post Debora.  It is very helpful to see what tools you use and how you keep them sharp.  

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WeekendMiniaturist

I want to make a tiny bead molding around an oval mirror.  I have never made my own carving tool, sounds like a good class subject. If someone can refer me to a book or a TSC article, perhaps it may be worth a try.  In real life today, I am guessing that a round bead molding is pressed into the wood.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a tool that I can purchase that will help me carve this?  I do have a scalpel, xacto knife, and some dockyard carving tools.  I was planning to use cherry wood, as I've had the most practice working on QA legs using cherry, and the rest of my piece is cherry.  I do not have any steamed pear, and I don't know if I can get the pear to match the cherry, so using different woods and may not present well for my finished piece.  I definitely want the richness of the color of cherry in my finished piece.  Tamra/Indiana

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MissyBoling

I've been wanting to carve a beaded molding for a picture frame and found this helpful.  It's for full size, so it would need to be translated to miniature.  I would use a scratch tool to make the original astragal shape, and then probably homemade carving tools to carve the beads.  This is all in my head - I haven't tried it yet.  http://ornamental-woodcarver-patrickdamiaens.blogspot.com/2012/12/carving-ornament-in-wood-carved-beading.html

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ElgaKoster

Interesting link Missy.

Tamra, I think a tiny chisel for the first step would work well and then for carving the bead an X-Acto knife should do it just fine, cherry shouldn't be too difficult too carve. If you don't have a chisel even just angled cuts with the knife should work well for the first step, change your blades often so that you have a sharp one all the time.

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WeekendMiniaturist

I was thinking about a nail set to press the design in, if I could only find a really, really tiny nail set. The nail sets I have used to set the nails in my real life molding have an indent at the end that is bead shaped, but nothing in our shop is as small as what I need for 1/12th scale.

 

Missy, I like the link, and will study. 

 

I hope I am posting correctly-->and this was the proper place to post my question.

 

Tamra/Indiana

Thanks Missy & Elga for the feedback.

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Bill Hudson

​Kind of late in responding to this topic.  Debora, thank you for posting your tools.  Very helpful and also confirms I am going the right way in developing my small tools. I have been working with mostly X-acto knife #11 blades and Dockyard tools. I find the Dockyard tools  little springy and am planning on removing them from the handles and shortening them someI also want to make more comfortable handles for them. I also like to remake # 11 blades.  

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ElgaKoster

I don't think so Missy as they don't have a cutting edge on the rim, I think they are used for rounding the ends of wire for jewelry making.

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WeekendMiniaturist

Huh?  Please explain how do you remake a #11 blade?  Tamra/Indiana

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Bill Hudson

Huh?  Please explain how do you remake a #11 blade?  Tamra/Indiana

Don't want to hijack this thread. When I have time to put something together then I will start a new topic on it.   :)

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miraclechicken

But we're still talking about mini woodcarving tools no? I make #11 too---

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Bill Hudson

But we're still talking about mini woodcarving tools no? I make #11 too---

You are right. I started this thread to have Debora show us her carving tools.  Why not expand it to what others use too? I don't have time now to put something together about remaking #11s as I am trying to finish some tin work before my eye surgeries next week.  I say "go for it Linda"  Show us how you remake your #11s.  

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oz9ny

If you hone the scalpel blades often you can use them for a very long time. Some honing compound and a piece of leather is all needed

/niels

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miraclechicken

I actually read that wrong, I thought it said "make" #11 not remake. I will get pics of a bunch of my home made mini carving tools tomorrow. I LOVE making tools, carving, turning, gravers etc so fun---

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miraclechicken

Some tools I made:

post-51-0-66973000-1407113176_thumb.jpg

This is a set of chisels made from allen wrenches. I don't remember what the two gouges are made from. I like the way the handle nestles in my palm. Turned from Walnut.

 

Here is a carving set,  I use this for a lot of my minis. The handle is turned from Rosewood, with a small chuck I found online.:

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Here is a similar set but bigger. I use these to carve dolls. Hitty is Ash, very hard wood.The chuck is larger, I found it at the hardware store, never saw another one... I chucked it into a screwdriver bit holder then turned the handle from Mopani.

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Here are some of my favorite turning tools. I've used them on brass, acrylic and wood. The two made from allen wrenches are my favorite for hollowing out the lamp shades. The blue set I made a long time ago, the skew in getting kinda short....  

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And here the some miscellaneous tools. The dog leg chisel was the very first tool I ever made in the 80's. Also shown, two nails and three hypodermic needles.

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Mesouth

Oh, I think tool making is above my skill set, but I do want to learn to carve and can see the value of custom shapes. Any recommendations for a set for beginners?

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miraclechicken

What do you want to carve? Carving in the round, like animals #11 shape is good, relief carving you'd need some gouges (U and V) and chisel (straight and skew) shapes.

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WeekendMiniaturist

Referencing post #18, those are beautiful tools!  ok, so how does one start making their own tools?  There has to be some basic rules, like use a certain kind of steel, and grind it down, oil and a strap of leather?  My father in law has a sharpening wheel that is about 24" in diameter that I've never touched, but I'm sure I could bring it home....I have dockyards, xacto, and just purchased some palm tools, too, but gosh the hyperdermic needle definitely caught my eye.  I just carved two hearts last night for a petitpoint pin (cushion / base) to upholster, and just used my xacto.  While Deborah and others have recommended swiss pear, I was quite pleased with how easy I was able to carve two hearts out of ordinary basswood... I carved one on Tues nite, and one last night, the second one because I decided the heart needed to be larger.... it isn't a mini, because I decided the PP design was stitched on silk gauze that was too large, resulting in a design that was too large for my "opinionated" eye as a cushion/pillow for wicker.... long story short; it has to be used as real life jewelry or 2 weeks of evenings stitching is wasted.... so anywho,,, back to the thread at hand... how does one go about making their own carving tools?  Are the tools edited by the instructors at GS for the purposes of having better results for scale miniatures? 

 

I know it goes without saying for all the experience in this forum, but for those who have never carved anything... when I changed my blade in my xacto, it was pure heaven, a dull blade is dangerous....

 

Tamra

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miraclechicken

I make tools out of anything from allen wrenches, to actual tool blanks. And yes even hypodermic needles. You can buy tool blanks. Hypodermic needles are already hollow. I've had decent luck grinding and sharpening the gouge shape from a needle. Miracle's vet sent me some #`14's, as these were the largest he had. Allen wrenches are fun (more than I can say for their actual application, I hate them!) I grind the shape and re-harden. I love turning handles. But I made some turning tools from allen wrenches for hollowing out miniature vases/lamp shades etc. and I just hold them as is, no handle. I had bought some large knife blanks in the 80's and I've been cutting them up and making small tools. Even old hack saw blades work. 

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Bill Hudson

Oh, I think tool making is above my skill set, but I do want to learn to carve and can see the value of custom shapes. Any recommendations for a set for beginners?

 

I do not know where you live but this link may be helpful.  A very good source for wood carving tools and supplies.

 

http://www.woodcarverssupply.com/home.asp

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WeekendMiniaturist

Miraclechicken, and Bill H... thanks for the reply.  I have learned so much and found new resources because of the forum.  I was looking at the hyperdermic needle of the food basting equipment in the store today with a new eye.  If pressed, and I have to make a large quantity of something,  I can make a jig, but making my own carving tools or cutting tools would definitely be a new experience for me.  Knowing their are options for creating the perfect profile will be useful information.

 

Tamra

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Teresa layman

I would like to learn this too! I would like to carve decorative fascia boards for a building.

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