THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF CARVING
There are four rules you should follow to be safe while wood carving, I will cover these and the three BIG rules that you should NOT do.
Rule #1. Keep your knives sharp
Sharpen your knives before and during your project. Sharpen yours every half hour or so, even if you 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 slip and cut you. Not only are dull knives more difficult to use, but 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 force the blade it’s going to slip and possibly cut you.
Rule #2. Focus on control
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.
Rule #3. 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 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:
Rule #4. Hold chisels near the edge
Hold your chisels near the edge, not at the handle whenever possible. This gives you control over the edge and reduces the risk of slipping.
Sometimes it’s not possible to hold the tool near its edge and you will need to hold the handle to get into narrow spaces. When this happens, slowly rock the chisel from side to side as you gently push the tool forward. This gives the needed effect and gives you more control over the edge.
Rule#1. When power carving, DO NOT wear a glove!
If you are doing any kind of Power carving, it’s very important to NOT WEAR A GLOVE. The reason for this is, that a glove WILL get caught in 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 severe.
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.
Rule #2. DO NOT Carve against the grain
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 more detail in another article.
Rule #3. DON’T SPEED
Speed doesn’t help you carve better, so slow down and enjoy it. Never ever hurry! Almost all injuries are gotten 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 relief from the stresses of work and family drama.
Just relax and enjoy your carving time. The hours will fly by as you carve. While carving you’ll think only minutes have passed, to find out it was actually 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?
Here in Safety First: The Do’s And Don’ts Of Carving, I covered how to keep yourself safe while carving on your projects.
I covered some do’s and don’ts that are common in the carving world and even talked about a few safety tips. I covered the four DO rules.
- Keep your knives sharp
- Focus on control
- Wear a carving glove
- Hold chisels near the edge
I talked about the three DON’T rules.
- When power carving DO NOT wear a glove
- DO NOT carve against the grain
- DO NOT speed
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