Your First Carving Pattern

Stop Cut

stop cut in relief wood carvingEach tool has a specific purpose determined by the shape of the cutting edge.

To separate a high level area of the pattern from a lower level area you can use the stop cut. This is a two stroke cut made with the bench knife.

Place your bench knife on the pattern line, angle the blade slightly towards the area outside the line. Pull the stroke with even pressure making a shallow cut line. Lift the knife from the slice and re-position it at the beginning of the pattern line. This time angle the knife slightly towards the inside of the pattern area, pull the stroke. This will release a v-trough shaped slice of wood. For deep stop cuts you can re-cut this area several times, slowly dropping the trough to your desired depth.

You can now use your round gouges to lower the background area, gliding the gouges into the stop cut. The stop cut literally stops the gouge from cutting the higher area, giving you control over the gouge cutting stroke.

Learn about Stop Cuts in Relief Carving.


Stroke one
Angle the bench knife slightly away from the pattern line, towards the background area.  Put the cut slowly, using even pressure on the knife blade.
Stroke two
Make a second cut, following the same pattern line, angled slightly towards the high area of the pattern.  This will free a thin v-shaped slice of wood.
Gouge cuts
You can now lower the background area of wood using your round gouges, leading the cutting edge of the tool into the stop cut.  
YFC-022 stop cut in relief carving stop cut in relief carving

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