**Disclaimer. I am not sharing this work as something that is a great success but as a example of some things I learned. I understand it isn’t quite museum worthy.
After a good amount of time had passed since acquiring my 5 piece chisel set, I finally decided to attempt my first carving. I learned a lot in the process and thought I would share that for anyone else who is thinking about trying their hand (or chisel) at wood carving.
First of all, it was not easy. It is good that I didn’t expect it to be easy. I made sure to attempt a shape that was fairly simple, without much for crevices or lines. I choose a heart because if it turned out any bit worthy of keeping, I could give it to my wife. The built-in stand idea was added as I carved which makes it a much nicer final piece.
So on to what I learned. I learned that oak is probably not the best wood start out with. Ok, I kind of assumed that before but I didn’t have much else available at the time. It was difficult to work with and preferred to chip or crush as opposed to slice or carve. I found that I was using way too much force to get through the wood and instead of the cool shavings you see in pictures I got little chips.
Since I never carved before I don’t know what kinds of tools are generally used or any comparison to the quality of the ones I have. I had some sculpting chisels which didn’t stand a chance on the oak. I had some regular chisels which I used but think they probably could have been sharper. I assume there is no such thing as too sharp of a tool when it comes to carving. I will be exploring some options for sharpening mine or possible obtaining some more quality ones.
I also learned that having something in place to hold your work still would be helpful. I carved the heart out of a larger board that I then cut down so that I had something to hold onto while carving. A nice clamp system would prove very helpful though. In general my workbench lacks such a vise that I can use for hand work.
The biggest thing that I took away though was that it sure was fun. Although I know it would take a long time to learn the techniques, it seems like something I could really enjoy expanding my capabilities in. I watched videos that helped me figure out where to start and people who were at the point of trying to show others had years and years of experience. They create amazing works of art that look like something I would love to display in my house. I respect those with the talent and think that their skill is probably over looked a bit.