the Process of Bosting Out
thing you should bear in mind-the work must be held firmly in
place on the bench top. I have improvised a means of holding
the heads of eagles and such in the vise by a gadget that works
out very well. I have tried to show it in figure below. Variations
of the same theme can be worked out in your own shop, lacking
other hold-down means.
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have found that, to facilitate the process of bosting out, mounting
the "broad" gouges on long handles makes the work
a lot easier. You can make your own handles and use short sections
of brass or copper pipe for the ferrules. The ferrules prevent
the tang of the tool from splitting the handle. I suggest you
do not try to drive these long-handled tools; they are too difficult
to guide. More care in their use will have to be exercised,
for the reason that they enable you to make heavier cuts than
shorter-handled tools do.
carving tools can be made to make different kinds of cuts, each
kind depending upon the angle that the cutting edge of the tool
is held with reference to the stock. By rotating the handle
of the tool as the cut is madenot laterally, but along
the axis of the handlethe cut can be made to look as though
it were twisted. I call this sort of a cut a "wind."
I may be wrong in this term. It is difficult to describe in
words. By rotating the end of the handle about laterally, a
still entirely different kind of a cut is made. These are tricks
that you learn as you go along.
The vise jig in use, supporting partially bosted out eagle head.
(Note the rif-fler marks on this portion of the carving.)
Bosting out with broad gouge, in drawing, Figure 7-1. Note the
use of the hold-down shown
is a tool on the market that looks to me as if it would be an
extremely useful and valuable adjunct to the carver's bench;
it is called a "power arm." Sculpture Associates has
it for sale. Let me say here the reason I refer to this company
is that it happens that theirs is the only thoroughly illustrated
catalogue of carving tools I have seen. I have bought tools
from them and like them. I have not used the "power arm"
in my work for the reason that I have fallen into a rut, I guess,
and use the techniques that worked out well in previous experiments
or on carvings. I could say here, I suppose, that I am come
upon parlous times.
bosting out the outside of comparatively large pieces where
no internal cuts are to be made and where no fine detail work
is to be done, it frequently happens that a great deal of excess
stock can be more readily removed with the draw shave than with
the chisel. This tool, used properly, is a versatile one and,
with some practice, can be used for many purposes in the carver's
shop. It may not be orthodox to use it in this way, but if the
results justify the means, then do so. I should, perhaps, call
attention to one drawback of this tool; it has to be pulled
toward you. It should be razor sharp and, if care is taken to
draw it through the wood with constant pressurethe blade
held at a slight skew to the run of the cut-there should be
no danger that the tool edge will leave the wood and suddenly
damage either you or the carving.
Image 45 Finishing off the profile with a spoke shave. Set the
blade for a fine cut in this process.
spoke shave is also a useful device (Image 45). This tool can
be used to great advantage in making cuts if they are long,
sweeping curves or straightaway cuts on the edge of the carving.
As a matter of fact, if the pattern of the periphery of the
finished piece should be round or oval, it is the only tool
I know that you can use to reduce the edge of the piece to the
design line advantageously. It, too, is a tricky tool.
The blade should be set so as to take off thin shavings. Do
not try to take heavy cuts with the spoke shave-it refuses to
work that way. It is primarily a finishing tool, as its name
implies. These two tools should be in everyone's shop, in my
opinion. If you have them, try out several different pieces
of stock under them to see for yourself which tool will work
best for the particular cut you want to make. As in all instances,
to use edged tools effectively, they must be kept very sharp,
clean from gums, and properly set in the tool holder or in your
have stressed this business of using great care with these various
tools. I have done so on purpose. All edged tools are potentially
dangerous even in the hands of a highly skilled artisan. I know
from my own experience in working with them that nicks and cuts
on your fingers, on the back of your hands, and even on your
wrists are too easily come by not to call attention to this
fact. I do not mean to scarehead the fact. You can learn one
of two ways: by precept or by sad experience.
Pierced work. Repair of an ancient Chinese scholar's scroll.
The light portion shows the repair insert. An interesting and
typical difference change in the symmetry of the design. (Courtesy
Mortimer Graves, West Newbury, Massachusetts)
Pierced work. First step boring the holes inside the sections
to be removed.
Pierced work. The webs between the borings are cut away. Second
Pierced work. The piercings have been pared off to designed
lines. Here further bosting out has been done on the carving.
Note the irregularity of the profde of the Eagle's mouth.
Pierced work. The completed carving with all details carved
and modeled. Ready for gilding and polychroming. (Courtesy Mrs.
E. R. Freeman, Damariscotta, Maine)
respect for the tools of your endeavor, but don't fear them.
In the final analysis, the greater care that is taken in bosting
out, in profiling, and in stopcutting a carving, the better
the final results will be when you start the detail carving.