THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF CARVING
Many beginners are afraid of hurting themselves, but with the proper glove and the right style cuts the chance of cutting yourself is much less. These will be discussed in another article called Wood Carving for beginners, style of cuts, knife skills.
Sharpen your knives before and during your project. I sharpen mine every half hour or so, even if I don’t think it needs it. A sharp carving knife is safer than a dull one. Make sure your knives are sharp before and during the entire project
Using a dull knife will cause you to push harder than needed and it’s more likely to sip and cut you. Not only are dull knives more difficult to use, they are also more dangerous because they slip easily.
If the blade gets stuck because you carved too deep into the wood, STOP AND BACK OUT OF THE WOOD. If you fours the blade it’s going to slip and possibly cut you.
Make sure to use your wrist, not your elbow to control the knife.
You want to use a twisting motion with your wrist. DO NOT PUSH WITH YOUR ELBOW. This will give you more control and precise carvings. It will also reduce the stress on your arm and fingers.
WEAR A CARVING GLOVE:
Wear a carving glove on your hand that is holding the wood.I can’t express this enough. Please wear a carving glove or leather glove while doing any carving. If you don’t wear protection; you’re more likely to cut yourself.
We all want to enjoy our carving, and if your hands are protected by a glove that doesn’t compromise your dexterity, or grip, you will be able to carve for longer periods and without fear of cuts.
Many carvers hold their work in their hands. Proper hand positioning keeps the holding hand safely out of the tool’s path, even if the tool should slip. Please be mindful of where your fingers are on your carving at all times. It’s best to keep your fingers well out of the way from where your knife will be to avoid getting cut.
It’s important to understand that wood carving gloves will stop a slicing cut, but no glove will prevent punctures.
Please remember that safety gloves offer protection for your hands, but they will only safeguard you to a certain extent. Most gloves will not protect you from a stab cut from the tip of the knife. Kevlar and Steel Mesh carving gloves are the most commonly used gloves on the market, but neither are puncture proof and jabbing the tip of the knife into your hand will cause damage! However, both are cut resistant when drawing the knife blade across their surface.
Chisels are held differently.
I hold my chisels most of the time near the edge, not at the handle. This gives me control over the edge and reduces the risk of slipping. Some times you need to hold the handle to get to narrow spaces, when this happens I slowly rock the chisel from side to side as I’m gently pushing the tool forward. This gives the needed affect and give you more control over the edge.
If you are doing any kind of Powder carving, it’s very important to NOT WEAR A GLOVE. The reason for this is, a glove WILL get caught into your burs and cause a great deal of damage to your fingers, hand, and other parts of your body.
I have firsthand knowledge of the effects of this. NO I didn’t do this myself, but a friend of mine did, the damage she received was quite saver. She not only broke her index finger in three places, but gouged her hand very deep in several places needing 54 stitches to close her middle finger and hand back up. Needless to say it was a very painful lesson to learn the hard way for her.
Don’t carve against the grain of the wood. You need to carve with the grain to have an even, smooth consistency and not tear out the wood. We will go over this in another article.
Speed doesn’t help you carve better, so slow down and enjoy it.
Never ever hurry! Almost all of my injuries I got by hurrying. Don’t Rush It!
It isn’t a race, you have all the time in the world to work on and finish your project. Carving isn’t known to be a fast paced hobby. Take it slow and enjoy the process. Draw inspiration from the shape and oddities of the wood, and experience the relief from the stresses of work and family drama.
Just relax and enjoy your carving time. The hours will fly away as you carve. I’ve spent many times while carving thinking It was only minutes, to look up at the clock and find it was hours. You get caught up in the project and don’t realize how much time has passed. But isn’t that the case with anything you enjoy doing? I know it is for me.
SUMMING IT ALL UP:
Here in Safety First: The Do’s And Don’ts Of Carving, I’ve shown you how to keep yourself safe while carving on your projects. In the next article I will cover the various safety items to help keep you safe and cut free.
If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment please feel free to do so.
I would love to hear from you and help in any way I can.
Founder of Carved Fairy Houses