Monday, August 2, 2010

Some dovetail and carving practice

I've been wanting to get out in the shop and do a small hand tool project, so last week I got a chance and made a little sliding top candle box with through dovetailed corners. Just made out of pine from the local Lowes. Cheap enough to make a mistake on yet decent enough to bring into the house when you're done. The box itself didn't come out too bad. 12º dovetails and a raised panel type top beveled with my 16" wooden fore plane and my new Clark and Williams smoother. The groove the top slides in was made by a 5/16" wooden groove plane I'd picked up off eBay a while back. Worked pretty well. Glued it up and threw some ebony stain on it for a quick, rustic finish. I thought this would be a good place to try out my new carving tools, so I made a couple of practice B's in some pine with my Pfeil 60º V-Parting Tool and pleased with the way they turned out, figured I was ready to carve into the top of the candle box. Well, let's just say that the practice B turned out a lot better than the one on the box top. Go figure. As for the Pfeil gouge itself though, I like it. Just have to learn how to wield it. Oh well, it matches the rustic look of the rest of the box and if it bothers me too much, I can always make a new top. That's the great thing about a little project like this; it's fun to do, but if you mess it up, no big loss. And it gives you a chance to hone some hand tool skills.


Anonymous said...

What's not to like? You did good. And I know the reason why the practice B's are easier and you like them better. It's something I've noticed while painting too: Art is a confidence game. If you're just practicing, and aren't self conscious about wasting material or something going wrong, your sense of what's right and where to go is authoritative; the lines flow naturally. Trust me, they just do. I'm worried about making a mistake at every step, my art looks like it was made by someone under duress, or by someone who had to go to the bathroom. The lines are jagged and unsure; too much feedback about "keeping to the line" and concentration yields constant hesitation and change of course, instead of long, elegant, carefree, flowing lines. Have you seen Peter Follansbee go to town on some Oak? That guy doesn't mess around. I suspect he also knows when a camera is nearby though . . . .

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Jamie Bacon said...

Anon, that's a VERY good observation. And spot on now that I think about it. We tend to tense up and our muscles get tight when things count. When we aren't over thinking, things flow easier and much more graceful. Thanks for the tip. That's a good thing to keep in mind.