Wednesday, October 28, 2009
For me it's a time to get together with friends and see what is new in the world of Caricature Carving. I hope to get together with Allen Goodmen and check out his knife offerings (been saving my pennies). Its also a chance to add to my woodcarving collection, I hear there are some Hobos and Santas that will be passing through.
If your in the area drop in, it's free, and they even hand out free apples!!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
For more info visit their website:
Friday, October 23, 2009
Please understand that tools can vary by manufacturer but usally are pretty close to one another on sweeps.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
A: It's as simple as 3 dimensions or 2.
A cutout is simply a block of wood where 2 dimensions of a pattern (front and side) are cut from a block usually with a bandsaw.
A roughout is formed from a duplicator where the excess wood is cut away with a router. This method removes a greater amount of wood.
When purchasing either of these it is typical to receive multiple pictures or a copy of the pattern showing both views.
Both Cutouts and Roughouts are available from individual carvers, instructors, and retailers. If you are buying in person take the time to inspect the wood and pick the best one. There is no guarantee that you won't find a surprise in the wood, but a careful inspection usually will eliminate most of the issues. Also pay attention to the color of the wood, the color should be pale. Be on the lookout for knots (can appear as tiny blemishes on the wood but when cut into can be much larger).
As for price, that will vary greatly so it will be up to you to decide if it's a good deal or not. Carving from a cutout or roughout is a good way to get started in the hobby and its even easier when a companion book or DVD is followed. Also ask other carvers, they can usually point out a good source for these items.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
In case you are just joining this carving community I should say that carving exchanges are quite common and it is a great way to being your own wood carvng collection.
So this carving will be heading south where he will now take up residence with a good friend and fellow carver. I sure hope Big Dave enjoys him...
Friday, October 16, 2009
Of course with any type of wood carving comes the risk of injury and carving injuries are usually the result of a momentary lapse in judgement. Its usually occurs when the carver disregards what he knows to be safe in order to get that one last cut in, or when he becomes distracted. That being said lets talk a little about safety so that you can spend more time carving and less time figuring out how you are going to explain the $50 emergency room co-pay to your other half!!
One rule to understand is that a large number of injuries come from the carver using dull tools. The use of dull tools causes the carver to exert a greater amount of force which in turn results in accidents. Make sure all tools being utilized are "Wood Carving Sharp" (I will define this furtherin an upcoming post) before and during use. Trust me a cut from a dull blade hurts a lot worse than one from a sharp one.
Use safety equipment. This means a carvers glove (I have in case my primary fails), the glove is worn on the opposite hand as it usually holds the wood being carved. A thumb guard can also be used if desired. The other item is VetWrap made by 3M, this is sold usually at a farm store in 4" wide rolls. The roll in the picture has been cut down to a 1" width. VetWrap is not made for stopping a sharp blade but is worn on the carving hand to diminish the chance of minor cuts while padding the hand to prevent blisters.
Safety Tip: Employ the "Line of Fire" rule. This meaning to keep any appendages(fingers) from being in line with a cut. That way if you slip there is a good chance it will not result in injury.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Many a discussion has been had in the Caricature Carving world related to this, with seldom an agreement. As with most things in the carving world it is open to interpretation which does not put limits on individual feelings.
It seems caricature was really derived from early published political cartoons as can be seen in articles on Wikipedia. As far as the woodcarving world goes, Caricature Carving is seeing steady growth in popularity. This growth can be attributed to many carvers through the years including the likes of the Tryggs (father CJ, and sons Carl Olaf, Nils, and Lars), Emil Janel, Andy Anderson, and of course, Harold Enlow. Please forgive any omissions but these are some real big-hitters when it comes to this style of figure carving.
In the years since I have been carving (15-20) three major items of note stick out for me, the first being the creation of an organization for the promotion of the style, the Caricature Carvers of America. This group holds an annual competition for just this style. The second for me was Peter Ortel's "Love" taking the first Best-Of-Show awarded to a Caricature Carving at the Affiliated Woodcarvers 2000 Congress, the show being the premier US Woodcarving show for non-birds. An image of this carving can be seen on their website (http://www.awcltd.org/past_shows/Old%20Show%20Reports/2000/2000%20Highlights.htm) .
The third is related to my own personal taste and that would be the one-piece creations of Marv Kaisersatt. If you have yet to see one, just do a google search for him or even better yet you can see a good portion of them on the Affiliated Woodcarvers website. He has consistantly won many awards over the past 10-15 years.
In writing this I feel I would be remiss in leaving out others who are well known and have had a large influence in the past 10 years. The one receiving the least credit but who has shared much would be Tom Wolfe. He has published many a book sharing his secrets in such a way as to allow many a carver to find enjoyment with this form of art. Many a time I have seen a version of one of his hounds or his Civil War soldier. I have had the pleasure of meeting this gentlemen and participated in many a Whittling Competition he has sponsored. Others who have contributed much with their designs, teaching, roughouts would be Phil & Vicki Bishop (excellent teachers and roughouts), and Pete LeClair (the man with a thousand faces), and Gary Falin (the man has a way with eyes). There are many more out there who are sharing with us and I look forward to discovering what each has to teach. Strike up a conversation with a Caricature Carver, they have much to teach and they don't mind sharing (albeit sometimes for a cost)
One trait of Caricature Carvers is that they do like to express their sense of humor in many ways. It makes for exciting dinner conversation thats fer sure! (Be wary as they do like to celebrate your birthday)
Getting back on the topic of Caricature, a good example of Caricature can be found in one of the US's most irreverent publications, MAD magazine. Tom Richmond does art work for MAD and has a fantastic blog that discusses the art of Caricature (http://www.tomrichmond.com/blog/). Tom posts frequent updates and usually is good for a chuckle at least once a week. He also has published a tutorial on drawing in the Caricature style in several segments. Much can be learned from what he is sharing.
I was recently asked, "why Caricature Carving?". I have given the question much thought and I would have this observation, when someone observes a bird or fish carving they remark on how it appears often by critically comparing it to animals they've seen, but when you watch a person looking at a Caricature Carving they often just smile. At that moment, your art has affected someone in a positive way. The memory of that image is often enough to keep you carving for years...
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Ross has recently decided to sell his business (West Falls Products) which include the OarCarver pocket knives we are familiar with, to the very capable Bob Stadtlander. The link to Bob's website follows.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
As a collector I feel I am a little behind as I only have about a bakers dozen. I am sure I am only considered an amateur given this tally, but I promise to do better.
At left I show a few from my collection, these are some of the more popular knives out there. In my travels it would seem that the Wells/Shipley is the most popular, while a Helvie can be found in most toolboxes (comfortable handle), the Denny is a good all around knife that comes with a rounded spine, the Dunkles come in many shapes and sizes, and the Butz detail is one of the most flexible out there (mine came unsharpened). Other brands are available (Lyons, Ferguson, Cape Forge, etc.) so a carver really has options. There are also custom knives being made out there as more carvers are experimenting in creating there own.
For many of us, we simply started with an inexpensive bench knife. The one shown below was sold at a
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
To understand Caricature Carving you must start with the most commonly used wood, Basswood. Basswood is of the tree genus Tilia, or as it is most frequently called, the Linden tree. To us woodcarvers it supplies us with Basswood. This tree is found across North America and Europe and in the states is most likely planted as a specimen such as the gorgeous tree shown in my neighbor's yard. The tree grows in a triangular shape. This tree was photographed today and is showing the stress of the approach of fall as we are experiencing nightly lows in the lower 40's. To better understand the tree there are actually 30 trees in the genus, that's a lot of flavors and I can't begin to understand what grows where. For more information check out the Wikipedia link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilia
Not that we really need to know which of the trees supply the best wood, there is already a preferred origin of what is commonly thought the best, that being the far north of Wisconsin and Minnesota. The wood emanating from this region in some fashion benefits from cold weather as it easily distinguishable from others with its white color and clear grain(block shown on left). Wood from other regions tend to be yellow in color and harder to carve. The lesser woods also have streaks and defects within the grain (block shown on right).
The alternative to Basswood is Butternut, which due to a disease affecting this species is becoming rare. Butternut is considered an excellent carving wood as well, however, it is seen in the Caricature category less frequently than seen in Realistic or Relief carving.
No matter what, the best advice when it comes to wood is to buy the best you can get. Over time you will be able to distinguish the difference and get more enjoyment from carving.