Sunday, 9 February 2014

Chip carving demo

I have been asked by a few folk who follow my blog if I could post a demo on chip carving. I have been meaning to do this for a while and today I finally got some time and remembered to photograph it, so here goes.

I do teach spoon carving and have added some dates this year for chip carving and Kolrosing classes I'll post a link at the end of the post.

I do all my chip carving using my knife, the tip of my mora 106. I have used other tools that are dedicated to chip carving and tried others like craft knives. Now all of the others work well but there is something about using your carving knife to make the spoon and then use the tip to decorate it. It's good skill and saves switching tools and I seem to get the results I am after too.

To start with you will need good light conditions no point trying to of this by candle light when you can use a head light magnifier or in a window in full sun.
It is a tricky fiddly thing so take your time and just practise and enjoy.

First I mark out my design on my finished spoon with pencil. Then when I'm happy I can carve out my design.

I use the knife like a pencil grip and keep my fingers on the side of the blade, you can use tape over the blade just leaving the tip if you feel safer.

I start by carving along my lines of my design at 45 degree angle one way, I can then switch by moving the spoon and carving back the other way at 45 degrees.

This then creates a slither of wood that lifts out of the design. It can be difficult to begin with, do try not to cut too deep or too hard as you can get the knife to run off course. Take your time and plan your cut, make sure your supporting hand and fingers are out of the way of the knife , and try to follow your lines making your cuts even and neat.
You will find that carving with the grain is fine but you may find that carving across the grain of the wood more difficult.this is because you are cutting across the fibres of the wood do it can feel corrugated rather than a smooth cut.

For the triangles on the design I use stab cuts rather than the flowing line cuts, these are achieved by stabbing the tip into the triangle design at 45 degrees on all three sides until the cuts meet up and the triangular chip lifts out.

You can see the chips in the background of the picture.

Here I am doing some smaller triangles to decorate the border of the design. These smaller details are more tricky and can really effect your eyes. Now follow your design until everything is cut out.

And here nearly finished just a few more details to add.

After you have finished your chip carving you can use an eraser to rub out any left over pencil marks from your design and oil over the spoon. Oiling helps the design stand out as it almost gives a shadow effect on the design making it bolder. Or you can try rubbing in some ground coffee or even paint over the design, this also adds to the effect.

I hope this helps a few folk . It's not the most in depth demo but I thought I would keep it simple in the hope it comes across ok.

Of you are in the uk and want yo come along to a class on the subject I have done classes on this year dated can be found on my web site


  1. Nice work ,thanks for sharing.

  2. Lovely carving. This is so much harder than it looks ... I really like the photos + text! probably better than a video tutorial for this kind of work, and a great advert for your courses. Thanks for posting.

  3. Thank you for taking the time posting this. I think we all appreciate you sharing your skills, and marval at the quality of your work,

  4. Thank you for your comments, I really appreciate it.

  5. Great stuff! Thanks for sharing.
    I love the little triangles. Must try that.

  6. Definitely why you get thus several blog comments.

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