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Wood Carving Tools

Vicki Nicholson carving a horse head from a block of acrylic medium

Wood and acrylic carving are specialised fields requiring a disciplined skill-set and an artistic flair; usually involving the use of fine woodworking tools for carving. Relief carvings where the focal objects background is removed, most often uses hand carving tools like chisels and powered dremel like routing tools. I personally find deep-relief carving to be one of the most breath-taking (See works by David Esterly and hand carvings by Vicki Nicholson for example).

My grandmother took up the use of wood carving tools in her early 80's and produced a number of beautiful pieces including a table and upholstered chair which have since become prized family heirlooms that we cherish. She took up an upholstery course as well and also did the upholstery on a number of chairs throughout her house including one she did extensive carving work on. This proves you are never too old (or too young) to take up carving and produce good results.

I’ve tried carving on a number of similar mediums including wood, bamboo and leather and find the three mediums to be very different to work. Leather is very different to wood or bamboo carving as its focused on compressing portions of the surface rather than physical removal as with wood and bamboo. Bamboo carving is vastly different to wood carving due to its consistently straight grain, putting the main focus on the direction of travel in relation to the straight grain in order to steer the tools accurately and avoid splits. Dremel type equipment makes the ideal wood carving tools for bamboo, particularly with relief carvings.

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