Chip Carving – Cutting Triangle and Square Chips

Triangle Chips in Chip CarvingIn today’s free online Chip Carving Seminar by Lora Irish, we look at the wood carving cuts used to create triangle and square chips in your chip carving patterns.



Chip Carving Seminar by Lora Irish

Chip Carving Seminar
Chip Carving Supplies
Chip Carving Graphed Patterns
Chip Carving Hand Positions and Grips
Chip Carving – Triangles and Square Chips
Chip Carving – Straight-Wall Chips
Chip Caved Game and Chess Board
Chip Carving Sampler Pattern Layout
Chip Carving Common Mistakes
Chip Carved Shortbread Cookies



free chip carving patterns

Triangle Chip Patterns

The triangle and square are the primary shapes in most chip carving patterns.  In the sample, right, you will see six different ways you can cut one 3×2 grid diamond motif using these two geometric units.  Any chip carving pattern can easily be altered by simply dividing the triangles in your pattern into smaller triangles.

In my chip carving patterns the outer edge of any chip unit is shown in black, the inner liner shown in blue represent the individual cuts that make up that shape.

In row one the diamond is cut in four separate chip cuts to create one deep well at the center point of the diamond.  The second row divides the diamond shape into two individual triangle chips and does row three.  By the fourth row you can see that this same diamond shape can also be cut using four distinct triangle chip units.

By using just these six sample diamonds you can create multiple chip carved borders or motifs.


cutting triangle chips in chip carvingThree-Sided Triangle Chip

The three-sided triangle chip is made with three cuts, turning the board with each new cut.  This releases a small chip of wood, leaving an inverted pyramid shape in the board.
The angle at which the knife approaches the wood determines the depth of the chip cut.  A low angle makes a shallow chip, a steep angle cuts a deep chip.


cutting triangle chips in chip carvingCUT 1

The first cut is made by placing the point of the blade along one side of the triangle, holding the blade at a 45 degree angle to to the wood.

The knife is pushed in to the wood until the blade edge has cut along the full length of that leg.  For large chip triangles the knife blade is pulled along the pattern line.


cutting triangle chips in chip carvingCUT 2

Turn the wood to bring the next leg of the triangle into position for cutting. Lay the point of the knife at the beginning point of the next leg.  Push the knife into the wood until the entire leg is cut.



cutting triangle chips in chip carvingCUT 3

Turn the wood to bring the last leg of the triangle into position for cutting. Lay the point of the knife into the point at the end of the last cut line which should be at the beginning of the leg.  Push the knife into to the wood until the entire length is cut.




cutting square chips in chip carvingSquare and Rectangle Chips

Square and rectangle chips are created with four angled cuts, similar to the triangle chip.  This pattern of chip is excellent to add small accents to a larger designs and for large area fill patterns.



cutting square chips in chip carvingCUT 1 – 4

A square chip is worked exactly as a triangular chip, cutting each side of the square with the blade  point angled towards the center point of the well. Cut along one side of the square, then turn the board to cut the next side.  When all four cuts have been made a small pyramid shaped chip will be released. Rectangular patterns will have a long, centrally placed line in the well.  This long line parallels the long sides of the rectangle.  Rectangle chips are commonly used in chip carved lettering.


chip carving cutsCutting Adjacent Triangle and Square Chips

Most chips that you cut will share one or more sides with another chip.  Begin a motif with touching or shared-side chips by working the inside chip first, working each series of new chips out from the center.  In the photo sample, right, one row of triangle chips touch the inside square of the motif.  The second, outer row of triangles touch the outer square lines of the motif.

cutting adjacent chips in chip carvingWork each new chip by cutting  the trapped angle of the chip along one shared-side line, working from the inside point towards the outside point of the triangle.  The second cut is made from the same inside trapped angle out towards the outer point of the line on the second side of the trapped angle.



cutting adjacent chips in chip carvingThe third cut is made on the free side of the triangle, releasing the chip.  Working form the trapped angle avoids the inner-trapped point of the chip from breaking out.





free chip carving pattern by Lora IrishToday’s Free Chip Carving Practice Pattern

Please click on the image to the right for a full-sized printable chip carving pattern to use for your practice board.  You may either transfer your chip carving pattern using a pencil grid or by using removable spray adhesive.  Remember chip carving takes practice to create clean, smooth, even sides to each chip.  So print several copies.

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