Large Chip Carving
For some designs you will want the triangle chip to be fairly large. Trying to cut large chips can be difficult because of the long pull strokes needed to reach from edge to edge and the depth at which they need to be cut. I have found it easier to make three small chips into one large one.
With Traditional chip carving, the pattern that you trace will be made up of many triangles. For large chip designs each triangle will be sectioned into three smaller triangles that you will cut down toward a central point. In fact, each triangle unit that you trace will become three triangles to carve.
The first pattern above shows the original tracing lines. The second pattern shows how each triangle unit will be subdivided into three sections. Once the pattern has been traced, with a red pencil mark a dot where the center of the unit seems to be. With a blue pencil pull a line from this red dot to one corner of the triangle unit. Pull blue lines for the remaining two corners of the unit. Since everything inside the units outlines will be carved away neither the red nor blue pencil lines will show after the carving is complete, but by using different colors than the basic pattern you will not become confused as to where the next carving area is.
Only the basic outlines of the tracing will remain after the chip carving has been done. Take care to make each cut within the unit so that the outlines remain crisp and straight.
Each small triangle within the unit is treated separately. Begin carving with your bench knife at the dot, this will be the deepest point of the stroke. Cut along the line toward the corner gradually tapering the cut up to the surface of the wood block. Take this stroke right to the corner of the triangle. Keep the cut as vertical as possible on this stroke. Return to the red dot and repeat this stroke toward the second corner of the small triangle, again tapering upward to the point. Again hold the blade in a vertical position.
Place your bench knife blade at a 65 degree angle along the outer edge of the small triangle so that the point of the blade reaches toward the red dot. Gently remove the chip. This stroke will begin shallow at the point of the triangle, become deepest at the red dot, then taper back toward the surface of the wood block as you reach the second point of the triangle. When you have completed the chip you will have a three dimensions triangle that reaches deep into the wood surface. Repeat this process with the remaining two smaller triangles of the unit. Each of these will also use the same red dot as their deepest points.
These three chips create the look of one large chip when you are finished.
The sides of this chip may be straightened with a skew blade or by scraping the walls of the small triangles with the edge of your bench knife. Smooth walls and crisp lines, both in the depths of the chip and at the top edge where one chip connects to another, is what creates excellence in this technique.