Your First Carving Project
The background to your pattern is next dropped to its level in the wood using a large round gouge, straight chisel, or as in our sample a small round gouge. You can work the background to a smooth finish or allow some of the cutting stroke ridges to remain to create a textured effect. The deeper you drop your background the more space you allow for your carved pattern.
As you work your round gouges to drop the background your cutting stroke will end at either the flower design or at your outer margins. With your bench knife cut the gouge sliver free using a 90 angle to the wood cut.
The v-gouge can also be used to create stop cuts. The v-angle of the tools cuts a v-trough in one stroke. Where the bench knife stop cut has vertical walls along the pattern lines, the v-gouge will leave a trough with 45 degree walls.
In any relief carving stop cuts will be made with both tools depending on the angle that you need in that area. I prefer the bench knife for deeper stop cuts. Stop cuts can be made in several stages – stop cut, lower the background, make a new deeper stop cut, lower the background again.
The straight chisel is used to shave the area into its shape. Placing the tool with the back of the cutting edge against the wood will make deep cut strokes. Working with the flat back of the tool edge facing up allows you to make thin shaving cuts.
7. With your small round gouge drop the background area to 1/8” – 1/4” below the surface of the wood. Work the gouge with the grain of the wood. Slide the round gouge from the background into the flower area, cut the gouge sliver free using your bench knife at the edge of the flower.
8. Use your bench knife to dress out (re-cut) along the edge of the flower petals and leaves.
9. Separate the leaves from the petals, cutting along the pattern lines with your v-gouge.
10. Using your straight chisel shape the leaves to curve away from the flower petals and to curve down at the leaf edges. Work this step with the grain of the wood whenever possible.