5212 Pulaski Ave.
Philadelphia, Pa. 19144
Philadelphia Furniture Workshop

Free Flowing Variation of Chip Carving

Traditional chip carving most often takes the form of geometric designs in repeating patterns densely covering a workpiece. The knife strokes are small, and the chips of wood they remove create a kaleidoscope of tiny excavations that form a larger image, and those techniques will be the subject of this course.

But that style is simply the convention. When Craig began learning to chip carve, he found that the traditional chip carving knife, with its short, angled blade and the easy way it fits in one's hand, lent itself equally well to a flowing, free-form style of carving. He used the knife almost like a pen or a brush and composed directly from the point of the blade, pulling it across the wood as if drawing in sand. The technique is fairly simple and efficient and requires only a small kit of tools - a chip-carving knife or two and a pair of sharpening stones to keep the knives behaving properly. 

The technique of using wood as an artist’s canvas and then “painting” it with lyrical chip carving is a technique that was developed by Craig and is uniquely his.  This is a style that evolved pretty naturally for Craig many years ago as he sought to carve larger surfaces and explore chip carving as a means of "drawing" on wood. That more fluid style led Schiffer Publishing to ask Craig to author a book on the subject.     

This course offers an opportunity for students to learn this artistic, free-flowing method of chip carving directly from the person who developed the technique.   

In the photo to the right, Craig is using this free flowing variation of chip carving, and the course will devote some time to this unique method of decoration.

Chip carved plate

Swiss Lace plate


This is an alder cabinet employing the free flowing method of chip carving to add some rich detail.

Here the variant method of chip carving is used to decorate    Two books by the instructor, available in the class.

a traditional Japanese screen.