outline the various planes in the finished piece, the skew chisel
or the parting tool can be used. This process is done by following
the drawn-in or guide lines on the plane surfaces of the bosted-out
carving. I prefer to use the parting tools for this purpose
in most cases. The reason for this is that the tool makes a
"V" cut, that is, it defines both sides of the cut.
In using the skew chisel for this purpose it is necessary to
hold the tool so that the cutting edge is at an angle of perhaps
seventy degrees to the plane of the stock. The same cut must
be made on the opposite side of the cut with the tool held at
the same angle but in the opposite direction. This process is
shown in Image below.
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A splendid American Eagle carved by Samuel Mclntire of Salem,
Massachusetts, in 1804, now owned by the Lynn Historical Society
with whose permission this and the picture of the bill of sale
are used. It is interesting to note how little the art and technique
of detail carving has changed in one hundred and fifty-three
years by comparing this Imagegraph with that of the American
Eagle, shown in Image 58, carved last year for Senator Payne.
Bill of Sale for (American) Eagle carved by Samuel Mclntire
Massachusetts. (Courtesy Lynn Historical Society)
Using the skew chisel for detailing the mouth and beak on an
eagle's head. The vise jig can be seen under my left hand and
in the woodworker's
care must be used with either of these tools to see that a long,
running cut is made rather than a series of short, jerky cuts.
The latter result in irregular profiles. Each stop made with
the tools makes a distinct mark on the face of the cut. All
of this sounds complicated in words, but again, if you will
try these tools on a practice block, the results will be seen.
The skew chisel requires a greater skill in its use for this
purpose than the parting tool. The reason: the stock is apt
to fracture alongside the tool mark.
that all of the profiling cuts have been made along the guide
lines, that all the back cuts have been made to develop the
profiles of the raised areas of the carving, the next step is
to model the outlined surfaces. This is done with one of the
gouges. It may well be that the modeled planes are to be left
smooth with few, if any, tool marks left on their surfaces.
It may be that you want to leave some tool marks to relieve
the plainness of the finished surfaces for texture. If the first
result is desired, the broader the gouge, the smoother the effect.
a textured surface is desired, a narrower gouge should be used.
The degree of texture is developed by the shape of the gouge.
Here again, the exact shape of the tool to be used is best developed
by using the gouge on a practice block to see if the resulting
cut is the sort you want to make for the textured effect. Various
degrees of definition can be done with the same tool by winding,
that is, rotating, the tool about its axis as the cuts are made
or by holding it so as to make a skew cut, or a combination
of both of these. Just how this texture is to look after all
the cuts are made is left pretty much up to the carver.
are no hard-and-fast rules. Trial cuts will determine the degree
of wind or skew you may want to use. I suggest that two facts
be kept in mind: one, that all cuts made in this process may
well be final cuts; the other, that it is your carving and you
can do what you want to. The choice is yours.