Saturday, June 29, 2013

The use of a Soft-V

Denny (OCCT) Ortel Soft-V
A recent question on one a Caricature Carving forum polled the members for their favorite roughout tools.  One of the often mentioned items was a Soft-V.  Now I understand some folks might wonder what a soft-v might be as compared to a standard V gouge.  Simply stated the bottom of the V is rounded and does not form a strict angle.  This can be seen a little better in the picture below.

Ok, so its rounded...what does that mean for me the carver?
Well with time carvers come to realize that before actually adding detail to a carving they really need to get the foundation correct.  In the above pictures is an in progress whittling modeled after a rough setup demonstrated to me by Mitch Cartledge.  At this point in the carving I am locating the elbows, shoulders, overall head  size, eyeline, and bottom of the nose.  A major portion of what has been done so far has been done with a Soft-V, knife, and a very large #9.  The use of a Soft-V vs. a standard V tool allows me to set planes of the carving without committing to that plane.  If I had used a standard V tool I would have left lines in areas that I did not want.  The carving in its current state allows me to make changes or adjustments without major issues.

One other item of note is that the Soft-V in the picture has very high shoulders which I also find helpful.  As you become more advanced you will learn to use these shoulders and find they are quite useful.  In case you are wondering about gouge size,  I tend to buy the largest palm gouges as it is best to start at the largest sizes and work your way to the smaller sizes as a carving progresses.

The gouge shown is a tool I would recommend...its stout, in use by many carvers, been around for a few years, and manufactured by a maker committed to quality.

I hope you found this helpful...sharpen and strop them tools and get out there and carve something!