Wood carving: testing the new gouge

Lo and behold, I had an open day today! Which means I finally had the chance to do a bit of wood carving and test out the wood gouge I got a month ago.

I had a particular piece of maple from clearing behind the pump shack that I wanted to use. After looking at ideas for a while, I decided to make an olive server. Something along the lines of this.

It took me about 5 or 6 hours, but I got it done! πŸ˜€

Photo heavy post ahead! πŸ˜€

Here is what I started with.

This is about half the length of the original piece. The length was decided by a bend in the wood. πŸ™‚

I now needed to create a slightly flat bottom, and take about 1/3 off the opposite side to create the top of the bowl.

I used what tools I had on hand, which was this beast of a knife.

We’ve dragged this thing around for many moves! I’ll have to get my husband to tell the story behind it. πŸ˜€ It turned out to be perfect for the job. Especially that little sunken in part of the blade, near the handle. It was the perfect width to set at an end of the wood, then I hammered it with a rubber mallet to split off the pieces I needed to remove

Then I used it as draw knife to debark it!

Once that was done, I made a rough sketch on the wood.

The narrower end is where I placed the handle, and I decided to leave a little bit of a “foot” for an extra touch of stability.

Before I started carving, though, I decided I should try and use my new angle grinder to level off the flat parts, take off excess wood, and maybe even shape that handle.

It came with 2 metal grinding wheels. Not wood.

I tested it anyhow, just to get to know the machine. All it really did was leave some marks in the wood. :-/ Ah, well!

Finally, it was time to use the gouge!

This thing is awesome! Oh, my goodness, it cut through the maple like nothing. I could also switch hands with it. I can use my right hand, but I am left dominant. The sloyd knife from my carving kit is for righties. I can use it with my left hand, but it takes some doing, and I still need to use my right hand to control the blade. I did use the sloyd knife a bit, to give my hands a break, since it is held in a completely different way. As I got deeper, though, it just wasn’t possible to use the sloyd knife any more.

Which is exactly why I wanted the gouge!

As I went deeper, I hit the middle heart wood, and discovered it was rotten!

This would not be an issue for the bowl part of the server, since I would be cutting it out completely, but would it affect the handle or the end?

The bowl portion is done!

Along with the gouge, I used carving knives to thin the wood at the top edges, which made it easier to set the gouge to go deeper.

You can see a spot of discoloration at the near end of the bowl. That’s the heartwood. It’s really small, so I’m hoping it won’t be an issue.

The next thing to do was remove excess wood to shape the outside.

I was going to use my coping saw for the handle part, but the darn thing keeps trying to spin on me. So I used a different hand saw, and a chisel to take off the wood under the handle. I almost took off a bit too much, though. !!

The next several hours were spent using carving blades to shape the handle and ends, and smooth out the inside. The handle and the ends were a real pain to work on!

Then it was finally time to sand.

Sanding the inside of the bowl was also a real pain! Getting the curved ends smooth was the worst of it, but sanding the inside in general was really awkward. Still, working my way through ever finer grits of sandpaper, I finally got it to where I was happy with it. It’s a good thing I wanted to keep some of the “rustic” texture in there!

Here it is, all sanded.

It was worth the fight! πŸ˜€ I am quite happy with it.

Here’s a closer look at the handle end of the bowl.

Hmm… Do you see that little divot?

That’s the heartwood.

While shaping the handle, I did end up reaching the soft heartwood from underneath, so I was very careful not to expose any more of it.

Oiling the wood should help protect it. Before I did that, though, I made a last minute change.

I decided to drill a hole though the “foot” of the handle, for a hanging cord of some kind.

Finally, it was time to oil it! I use mineral oil, as it is food safe, and does not go rancid.

I love how the oil brings out the beauty of the wood, as well as protecting and preserving it!

Just a couple more detail shots. πŸ™‚

I have since threaded some twin that’s almost the same colour as the wood, though the hole.

I think I will give this to my brother. They may never use it, but I know he and his wife will appreciate it. Especially since it was made using wood from maples I had to clear away to fix the pump shack window. πŸ™‚ A little piece of the farm!

The Re-Farmer

16 thoughts on “Wood carving: testing the new gouge

  1. Nice job. It’s also nice that you’ve someone who will appreciate the piece and the love and time that went into its creation. I appreciate hands-on time with wood, even sanding, popping-grain and re-sanding. Again, nice job. Good read.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. AMAZING!!! Where did you learn to do that??

    How do you ID the heartwood? And why should it not be touched?

    I saw an episode of Craftman’s Legacy where they would rapidly blowtorch the finished design, then use a sanding wheel to create simple designs before oiling. It looked simple but I’m sure looks are deceiving. Just telling you as a future design option.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you.

      I basically just bought a kit and watched YouTube videos! πŸ˜€

      As for the heartwood, I didn’t know what it was called until very recently. It’s basically just the middle of the tree – those first few rings, though as the tree gets bigger, so does the heartwood. This is *supposed* to be the strongest part of the tree, but I’ve found it is the first area to start rotting away. I tried carving a hair pin out of some cherry I’d pruned, with some very simply shaping at the top, and it ended up breaking at the narrowest points. I’ve had the same issue with lilac wood that I’ve tried to carve. I have a pile of lilac wood slices, and they all have a hole in the middle because I just took out the rotted material. It’s the sort of thing that would become an issue if I want to make a cup or a bowl, since any liquid would seep through!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Wood carving: completing the set | The Re-Farmer

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