Blue Jay, California
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Wood Carving Terms to Know
Wood carving is a popular art form that was practiced as long ago as the middle ages. Most people use a pattern to guide them, and if you are new to the practice you will probably want to start simple and then work up to a more complicated pattern when you get comfortable. Here are some terms to become familiar with in this area.
Relief - A three-dimensional projection from a flat background. The protrusion can be only slight, termed basso or bas, or pronounced, termed alto.
Bracket - A support for a projection, one part of which is flush with the wall and the other flush beneath the projection. Often carved in a scroll shape.
Engrave - To create a work of art using a block of wood and cutting into it using very thin, delicate lines.
Gilder - A specialist who covers the completed carved product with fine gold leaf or powder.
Chisel - A metal implement used to carve that has a sharp beveled edge.
Gouge - A form of chisel with a curved or angled blade edge that is usually used to carve hollows, rounds and curves.
Coping saw - A light saw with a narrow blade stretched across a U-shaped frame that is used to cut small curves.
Router - A power tool used to make grooves or hollow out an area, often used when making cabinetry.
V tool - A gauge with a v-shaped cutting edge that is used often for outlining and decorative cuts.
Whittle - Method of carving which involves only the use of a knife, usually something small such as a pocket knife.
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Wood carving is a sub specialty of wood working. Professionals skilled in wood carving use special tools like a knife or chisel to etch, whittle, and engrave wood products. The end result might be a piece of furniture, a custom sculpture, or work of art. Some may use larger pieces of equipment, such as chainsaws and power tools, to achieve the designs and patterns they want.
They work with all different types of wood, from pine and oak to chestnut and walnut. For easier carving, it's best to go with a softer species, such as balsa. But if it's durability you're going for, hard woods like cherry, oak, or maple are best. Carvers know what to look for when selecting the right wood for their projects. One of these components is grain. Choosing the right grain is imperative, especially if the product will retain its natural looking finish with a light stain after completion.
Specialists purchase their materials from a wood carving supply store or lumber store. Wood carving sets and supplies kits are available here, as well as online. These come in handy for beginners who want to try their hand at wood carving.
Wood carvers learn the craft over a period of many years. Eventually, they become proficient in custom chiseling, carving, etching, pattern making, and cutting. They may engrave artistic pieces or even become proficient in wood relief carving. From hand carved teak wood panels to mahogany airplane models, wood carving can be a fun hobby or a unique job.
Looking for more information on wood carving? Head to your library to check out books on the craft or go online to get professional listings in your area. You can pick up a high quality knife, chisel, or other carving tool at any local home improvement store.