Wednesday, November 4, 2009
As you can see on the left there is quite a variety of styles (Intermediate-size and back-bent gouge styles not shown) each having their own merits. The full-size gouges are generally used on larger pieces and can be used by hand or in combination with a mallet.
The palm-size and micro gouges are most commonly used by Caricature Carvers and since we generally use a large variety of types (sweeps) with multiple sizes the compactness of these tools allows for greater portability and ease of use when carving smaller figures.
Each of the styles above is used for a specific cut and its angle to the wood while performing the cut is different. Carvers should experiment with each and should practice inverting tools and making cuts (quite handy on nose bridges!) as well as learning to use each tools cutting surface in different ways. An example of this would be to make a cut just using the side of a V-tool. Having this knowledge gives the carver that many more options.
I cannot stress enough the importance of learning to keep your tools sharp and protect the cutting surfaces. Dropping a tool or allowing a tool to glance off another can cause damage to the cutting surface and the object here is to keep the perfect edge.
While the tools shown in the picture above only represent 3 manufacturers these styles are made by several tool makers and its up to you to make the best decision possible before buying. When considering manufactures its important to compare like styles, sizes, and sweeps as this will give a good indication of how the manufacturer generally makes its tools. Some manufactures incorporate a considerable amount more steel in the stem of the tool. It also important to inspect the tool for balance. This meaning to look at a gouge to ensure the the metal is even and balanced throughout, you do not want to buy a tool that has more metal on one side than another as it will not cut properly. IT'S YOUR MONEY, BE CHOOSY!!