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I have noticed that most of the members of the site like doing carving on their walking sticks. So, I wanted to ask what your "must have" carving tools are. The ones you use the most often, and you would miss the most if gone.
 

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I couldn't get by without my Dremel. I also have a high speed rotary engraver from SCM. It's a lot like a dental drill and turns at around 600,000 rpm. This is great for doing detail work. Then there's the old standby mallet and swiss carving tool set. I use this to do the wood spirits then use the engraver to finish up the detail.
 

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Bill,

Which Swedish carving brand do you use and like?
 

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I couldn't get by without my Dremel. I also have a high speed rotary engraver from SCM.
Lewey,

Do you have recommendations for Dremel and SCM models or choices?

Thanks,

Vance
 

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Sorry for the delay in replying back. The carving tools I have have "Swiss Made" stamped on the handle. I don't know the specific brand. They weren't very expensive - around $50. I got them from Woodcrafters.com.

The link to the engraver is http://www.scmsysteminc.com. The one I got is similar to the model 400XS but I got it several years ago. This one turns around 400,000 rpm but I could have sworn the one I bought was supposed to be 600,000. Man, this thing is handy for detail work but it is a little pricey!

I really would love to have one of the Jetstream precision sandblasters but I just can't shell out that kinda cash right now.
 

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I couldn't get by without my Dremel. I also have a high speed rotary engraver from SCM.
Lewey,

Do you have recommendations for Dremel and SCM models or choices?

Thanks,

Vance
I have 2 Dremels. One is a model 3000 and I just bought a model 4000 over the holidays. The 3000 is a little easier to get into tight spots. I believe the chuck holder diameter is slight smaller but it's easier to get the tools to the work without the holder getting in the way. The 4000 is pretty nice with adjustable speeds up to around 30,000 RPM. I usually keep one setup with a cutting bit and the other with a sanding drum.
 

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Thanks Lewey. If I decide to go the powertool route, now I have a better idea how to budget and what to look for.

For now, except for a very small drill press, I'm all hand tools. Sort of like the little bit of stone sculpture I've done, I opted to do it like the Romans and Greeks did, it just takes a lot longer. But maybe down the road I will speed up the process.

Vance
 

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The "swiss made" tools Lewey referred to are the brand pFeil, and are sold exclusively by Woodcraft. these are the ones I also use, for the most part. My mst-have carving tools for carving stxiks specifically are a v-tool, a large veiner gouge, and and assortment of carving knives. The tool I consider most valuable when it comes to working with sticks is a proper vise or clamping system. It is very difficult and frustrating to effectively carve onto a long cylindrical shape without having it clamped in a rock solid position.
 

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Thanks to your recommendations, I picked up the Swiss tool set at Woodcraft. It's too cold for this wimp to work in the garage as yet, but a clamping system is next on the agenda. I need to figure out something that will work for both slingshots and sticks, but mainly the sticks.

Maybe a valid piece of equipment for the forum is a safe and economical space heater for our work areas! ;-)
 

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The "swiss made" tools Lewey referred to are the brand pFeil, and are sold exclusively by Woodcraft. these are the ones I also use, for the most part. My mst-have carving tools for carving stxiks specifically are a v-tool, a large veiner gouge, and and assortment of carving knives. The tool I consider most valuable when it comes to working with sticks is a proper vise or clamping system. It is very difficult and frustrating to effectively carve onto a long cylindrical shape without having it clamped in a rock solid position.
You are absolutely right about the vise or clamping system. When I first got my swiss tool set, I didn't have a vise handy so I sat down in a chair with the cane between my Knees. About 5 minutes later, I'm nursing a 1/4 wide by 1/2 deep gouge in my thigh. I had a working vise the very next day and have never tried the knee vise since.
 

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Yeah, Lewey, and in my case my wife is not only giving me dirty looks but she would be swinging my other walking stick at me when I'm not looking. This hobby is eating into my rye and cigar budget! But I'm going to acquire a vise or clamping system soon.
 

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Lewey, I winced when I read your injury report. I have done that myself, several times in the past - them swiss tools is sharp! As we get older, we get smarter (hopefully). I have always been on the constant search to come up with more efficient ways to get things done, especially whe there is a vloume of work to complete. Vising has alway been a sticking point for me. I have tried many different systems, and although they are always good for something, I have never been completely satisfied

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Have you heard of Grip-All Jaws? This gentleman makes these units one by one, by hand, and sells them out. Very good for clamping unusual shapes (great for figure carving), but still not so good for sticks and canes. I actually endorsed the products and did a review on them in Woodcarving Illustrated, and in turn received a unit of each type. I love them for other work, but again, not so good for sticks. We tried a few things, but ehhh.

Check out the site:http://www.gripalljaws.com/

As I mentioned before, I came up with something that suits me well. Simple but effective, and very similar to an old foot-pressure clamp that, I believe, bow makers use...? I am in the office now; when I get home, I will post the image.
 

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To date, I've used all hand tools. Of the 40 odd items I have, the Swedish made Frost's/Mora carving knives, and an ordinary 4-in-hand rasp get the most use. I also use a Japanese spear plane a lot. Not too long ago I found a very nice tool from a place called North Bay Forge. It is a deep bend double edged knife. Extraordinarily sharp, and great for cutting hollows. Also have a Frost's/Mora batoning knife that is great for agressive bark removal.

I have several setts of rasps, rifflers, and scrapers.

I have an Edge Pro Apex sharpening system (initially purchased for kitchen knives) to keep the blades keen.

My little work bench in the basement is not adequate for carving. Cramped space, poor lighting. Will be building a bench in an enclosed porch so I can work with pieces in vices.

Don't remind me about hand cutting. 20 minutes after getting a new piece of osage orange, I was grabbing bandages. My wife gave me a bit of grief about that. I was able to point to an old scar about 1/2" away that I got working on osage a few years before we were married.
 

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Wood Tool Knife Office supplies Blade

Though I might illustrate my basic set. All told, there's maybe $160 worth of equipment. I did start out w. a Stanley folding pocket knife (no longer in production, and the only blade I had was eventually sharpened away), and the rasp. Probably about $20 for both.

Not illustrated are the 30 odd rasps and rifflers. No pic of my draw knife and spoke shave. Lacking a good vise and bench, they have seen almost no use. I do have a drawer full of abrasives, all the way down to some 1200 grit pads (rather pricey) that will take many woods to a gloss finish.

My wife is indulgent. Being retired, she's glad to have me do something that gets me off my duff, and preferably out of the house. So, $20 here, $40 there, not a problem.
 

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I can do without anything but my folding pocketknife. I used that for much!

I use a belt grinder for roughing out the basic shapes. A 36 grit belt removes wood (and skin) at light speed!

And just 'trim' from there.

There are some examples floating around here...

happy carving

peace
 

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Thinking about useful hand tools I came up with a list of what I can put together from what I have:

Japanese tree saw
Draw knife
Cheese grater
Assortment of knives including 1 Opinel #8 pruning knife
Standard 4 in 1 wood rasp
Several riffler wood rasps (not a full set)
Dental scrapers & scalers
Sanding blocks
Leather/wood combo mallet.
 

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I made a nice strop for my Swiss knife and pocket knives. A strop device made for my Swiss made chisels, gouges, V-gouges, etc. should arrive any day. On Sunday, I gouged my pinky pretty deeply, but didn't sever a nerve. Tried to hide it from my safety officer (aka wife) but she found the blood on doors, shirt, and elsewhere. "Why didn't you wear your glove?" No good defense.
 

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Thinking about useful hand tools I came up with a list of what I can put together from what I have:

Japanese tree saw
Draw knife
Cheese grater
Assortment of knives including 1 Opinel #8 pruning knife
Standard 4 in 1 wood rasp
Several riffler wood rasps (not a full set)
Dental scrapers & scalers
Sanding blocks
Leather/wood combo mallet.
All good stuff. I have a drawknife, but don't use it much. I don't have a bench yet. I'm in the hold stick w. (gloved) hand, cut w. other. Kinda hard to use a draw knife.

The first thing I added after my carving knife and 4-in-hand were "scrapers." Just some blades from a picture matt cutter. The flat side worked as well as 120 grit paper, the sharp side, as good as 220. And cheaper in the long run. Stanley utility knife blades work too, 'tho the oil on them needs to be removed. Both work better than single edged razors, but it is advisable to add a tape "handle" for gripping.

I do have a few real scrapers, and want a convex shaped one. If I want to accent the dips in the natural contour of a stick, I think it may work better than a gouge,then followed by a rasp, then followed by sand paper.
 
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