The differences in sweep are sometimes quite dramatic.Using a 1″ wide, # 3 sweep carving gouge, both the petal and the recess on this card table leg are cleanly (cut with the same gouge). Here is Mario practicing his bellflower work in anticipation of the new 2014 courses now on the schedule, including oft-asked-about Federal Period Portsmouth Card Table master class. By using the proper shallow sweep gouge, the smooth curve of the ball is easily developed. This is the key to a realistic and beautiful ball and claw foot; holding the ball perfectly round even as it passes under the talons. Here Alan is working on the Goddard Corner Chair for the upcoming January master class.
Carving is a specialty within the broader craft of woodworking. Becoming familiar with the basic tools and competent in simple techniques will dramatically expand the richness of your work. Don’t worry, you won’t have to acquire scores of carving tools in order to add a little detail to your work; a modest range of quality carving gouges will serve you well. Professional quality gouges are classified by both their width and the sweep, meaning the degree of the curve. A higher sweep number generally refers to a sharper curve. A little known, but basic carving technique is to closely match the curve/sweep of the tool to your design; this will produce clean, deliberate, and “fresh” looking results. Below are a couple of situations where the size and sweep of the tool make carving much simpler than one might initially think. Carving tools are classified by width and “Sweep” or curve. This professional quality carving tool, made by Pfeil, is sold exclusively by Woodcraft.