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Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Vol. XIV, Number 4 (July 1908)

von RydingsvƤrd, Karl
The art of woodcarving: a practical lesson for the beginner,   pp. 436-441 PDF (1.9 MB)

Page 437

tical knowledge ot wood
carving. The tools which are
offered for sale sharpened
have a long bevel on the out-
side and some of the shapes
ground are at an angle so that
the points project. No pro-
fessional wood carver would
think of using such tools.
The proper tools should first
be ground on the outside
until the edge is left the
thickness of a visiting card.
The remainder is removed
from the inside, leaving a
slight bevel there as well,
which is absolutely necessary
in order to do good work.
The cutting edge is then put
on, with small stones. The
outfit should include one
combination stone, soft on
one side and hard on the
other, and three slip stones of
medium fineness and varying thickness
to fit the insides of the different tools.
  For very fine tools it is sometimes
necessary to reduce the edge of the slip
stone by rubbing it on a piece of sand-
paper. For the final touching up, there
must be a leather strop which has been
smeared with mutton tallow and sprin-
kled with emery dust. Two six-inch
carriage clamps and a three-inch dog-
wood mallet complete the outfit. Other
tools will be needed from time to time,
but these can be added as the work re-
quires them.
  Any straight-grained wood can be
carved, but there is a great difference
in the cutting qualities of the different
varieties. One would naturally suppose
that white pine, being very soft, would
be the best wood for a beginner, but
such is not the case for the reason that
it splits so easily and is so hard to cut
clean, requiring very sharp tools. Oak
and mahogany are the woods most in
use here for wood carving, and are
easily obtainable even in country places.
  We now come to the selection of the
object to be decorated and the design
for its ornamentation. There is no
necessity for wasting time and energy
in carving small pieces of wood merely
for the practice afforded. The work
will be more interesting if it is applied
to some simple and useful object, and it
will have value enough when finished
to compensate for the time and labor
  In choosing the object, let it be some-
thing large enough to hold a design with
bold simple lines, which present fewer
difficulties to a beginner than one with
many small details, which will split off
so readily as to discourage the worker
at the outset. A panel of soft quartered
oak, which can be used for a box cover,
cabinet door or something of that kind,
is a good thing to begin upon. The
selection of the design is a very impor-
tant element in the success of the
finished product. The amateur must

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