Author Topic: Sharpening a V-Tool  (Read 12357 times)

marymaycarving

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2010, 05:30:19 PM »
I agree with the use of both - v-chisel first and then stab cuts. From what I have found (and I've lost a lot of little corner leaves in experimenting) is that cutting a small distance from the edge line with a v-chisel and then making a stab cut right on the edge line saves any fragile bits. Most of my European teachers do it this way. I tend to use the v-chisel for most of the "hogging out" of the bulk of the wood and do the more delicate details with curved gouges. Sometimes the reluctance to this process is that it's really difficult getting the v-chisel sharp enough. If you try to use a dull v-chisel, it can do more damage to the wood that a stab cut.

Quite often, I combine the process - using the stab cut on the areas where there are minimal fragile corners and using the v-tool first on the delicate areas. Basswood (mostly for practicing) is also much more forgiving on the stab cuts compared to the mahogany.

Regarding sharpening v-chisels, from what I have seen, the most difficult thing about sharpening a v-chisel is getting rid of that little point of metal sticking out the front of the chisel after the 2 sides are sharpened. If you look closely at a v-chisel, there is usually a slight radius to the inside of the v-chisel. Therefore, the outside corner radius needs to match the inside radius. Otherwise, there will be a thickness of metal at the corner. This is done simply by sharpening the corner as if it was a small gouge - until the outside corner curve matches with the inside radius. Easier said than done, right? Or... if you can't get it sharp, buy a new one! I've done that one too.

albreed

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2010, 07:22:07 PM »
Mary- Sometimes I'll use an 11 gouge as well as a v to outline as a safety cut also.
I think the little point at the bottom of the v bothers everybody, but sometimes it will cut OK even with the point there, as annoying as it may look.......Al
Allan Breed

marymaycarving

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2010, 07:24:17 AM »
Al, I agree - basically whatever takes the bulk of the wood away will work...

The decision then becomes what is easier to sharpen if you end up using it a lot? The v-chisel or the #11? Both are probably equally the most difficult tools to sharpen.

One thing to keep in mind with either chisel - when you are cutting at a 45 degree angle to the grain, for example, that one side of the tool is cutting with the grain and one side is cutting against the grain. If the tool is sharp enough, it shouldn't make that much of a difference, but it is something to keep in mind.

Happy carving!

albreed

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2010, 02:13:36 PM »
Mary- You can minimize the 45 degree problem by grinding the 11 back, like a v where the front cuts first-Al
Allan Breed

marymaycarving

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2010, 07:36:10 PM »
Al, I think we need to get together one day and I'd love to pick your brain. I'd love to see your technique in re-grinding and re-shaping.

You do amazing work - not only carving, but furniture making, inlay, and on... I know how to carve, and how to shape wood with gouges, but when it comes to other parts of woodworking, I'm in trouble.

HSteier

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2010, 09:37:54 AM »
Al, Mary,

I have taken carving lessons from you both.
If the two of you ever get together for a brain-picking session please let me know. I'd drop whatever I was doing and be happy to pay to attend. In fact I'm sure I could act as a promoter and sell tickets.

Howard Steier

albreed

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2010, 09:38:58 AM »
Mary- There's a lot of stuff I don't do. Sticking with what you like the best is the way to go.-Al
Allan Breed

albreed

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2010, 09:40:51 AM »
Howard- Sell away! -Al
Allan Breed

marymaycarving

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2010, 07:22:03 PM »
Great idea Howard - Maybe I can quit my day job!

I hope that everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving!

Follansbee

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2010, 08:30:10 PM »
My two cents' worth is similar to Al's...although the stuff I carve is much simpler. I use a V-tool for most every carving I do, and mine is swept back just as Al describes somewere in this topic, so the bottom of the V hits after the upper "wings" - and I am an average sharpener at best; mine has the little hook at the bottom quite often. I just don't look at it, and it cuts fine. Hard these days to find a nice shaped V-tool for sale, I think. I have a Pfeil that I got 20 years ago, and bought the same tool recently & it was not shaped the same. Bulkier, and clunky it seemed to me.

I think the stabbing-in and so forth depends too on the wood you use. My first choice is white oak, second choice is red oak. I don't have a third choice. Riven quartered stuff is the best quality stock a tree can give you...I always carve the 17th century patterns I do right to the line, no sneaking up to them. but, it's flatter than much of the 18th c stuff you folks have been discussing...now the 17th-c Flemish work, that's another story...

Peter Follansbee
http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/


Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2010, 09:08:16 PM »
Howard,

You may have started the subject for the 2012 mid-year conference!

Dennis Bork
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Retired Dec. 2018.

Adam Cherubini

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2010, 02:56:29 AM »
I think a conference is a good idea.  I won't make it to Wmsburg this year.  Will someone suggest this as a topic for next year in my absence?  You can blame me if the crowd boos it.

Adam

marymaycarving

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2010, 08:49:24 AM »
Boooo! (I've got to stay off these forums - put myself in some deep kim-chee)

I'm just s simple ol' woodcarver trying to help people get their v-chisels sharpened!

I think I need to clarify my explanation a little

If you have a v-chisel that is not ground back ? basically as it was purchased off the shelf, here is the process I use. I personally do not re-grind the v-chisel, but do plan on trying this process one day.

1.   Sharpen each flat side as if they were individual flat chisels until you get a slight metal burr along the edge
2.   If you have removed a lot of metal, this is where you can create the issue with that little tip of metal sticking out. By removing a lot of metal, you create a sharp corner where these 2 flat chisels meet. A tiny triangle of metal sticks out the front.

NOTE: If you do not remove much metal and are just lightly honing the v-chisel, then this corner tip should not be as much of an issue, if any.

3.   If you look at the inside curve of a v-chisel, there is (usually) a slight radius
4.   The outside radius then needs to be rounded off to meet the inside radius ? do this by sharpening the corner as if it were a small gouge
5.   Take a sharp corner slip stone and remove the burr from the inside. (you may have to go back and forth a few times from the outside to the inside with the slip stone to remove this burr)
6.   Strop and carve!

IF you still have a problem with the v-chisel cutting, AND you have that small point of metal sticking out the front at the corner, that small piece of metal is USUALLY the culprit. Not always, but more often than not you can see a thickness of metal at the corner - especially if you have taken the sides down quite a distance and removed a lot of metal.

If your v-chisel cuts fine with this tip of metal sticking out, carve away! If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I know how frustrating v-chisels can be to sharpen, and I really hope this helps.

Now I've got to go put a bird in the oven - 15 people coming over & taking over my house!

Adam Cherubini

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2010, 09:21:35 AM »
Boooo! (I've got to stay off these forums - put myself in some deep kim-chee)


Mary, I've not met you yet and I may not have followed where you are going here.  Just to be 100% clear, i try to go to the Wmsburg conferences each year.  At the end of the conference, Jay Gaynor takes suggestions from the audience for next year's topic.  Suggestions the audience doesn't like get grumbles, "no's" or boos.  It's a fun crowd really.  I suggested uphostered pieces once and that got booed.  I hoping someone will shout out carving, but it's possible the crowd will reject the idea.   

Carving, as I see it, has a lot of the stuff that would work well for a conference like this.  There's a wide range of period carving to suit everyone's taste. The WD has a few fine carved pieces of furniture, and there are many good carvers to call on for speakers, including and especially Mack Headley.

For period woodwork junkies like me, there's the whole tool culture stuff that I love- what tools they had or didn't have, how they used them, etc etc.  I'd like to see more of this type of stuff covered in general.

I think sharpening gouges, vees, etc would be an important portion of any such conference.  We've seen little bits and pieces of carvings, but it would be good to take a better look at the entirety of the subject.

Most interesting for me is the manifestation of a craftsman's esthetic values in his work.  I see different regions at least producing fairly distinct work.  In Philadelphia, Bernard and Jugiez produced very 3 dimensional relief carvings that I really like.  This was distinct from other Philly carvers.  Pretty sure Mt Pleasant has an Affleck chest on stand  (or chest on chest with crooked legs) with a Jugiez cartouche.  Instead of the standard asymmetic and somewhat abstract centerpiece, Jugiez carved a basket of flowers and acorns, which I really like. 

I think it's fun to see those guys expressing themselves in what is really art work and equally fun to try to recreate work exhibiting their sensibilities. I've been trying to do that in cabinetry, but you can obviously do that same thing in carving alone. 

Adam

marymaycarving

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Re: Sharpening a V-Tool
« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2010, 09:43:33 AM »
Adam,

Sorry - I misunderstood the suggestion. I was picturing a heated debate with woodcarvers and sharp tools - not a pretty picture - you know how mean we can get!

I love carving, love every aspect of it - tools, styles, techniques. I also love sharing information and teaching. If the topic turns this way for a conference, I would be happy to participate in any way I can.

I understand shapes, and how to achieve them with carving tools. Many other carvers out there are much more versed in the history & style than I am. I think there could be a great combination of knowledge and skill from the SAPFM group.

I take the "booooo" back.