Woodcarvers become quite attached to their tools, especially the ones which have been around longest and work the best. That is for at least two reasons:
- Firstly they are used and relied upon for such a long time that they become an extension of the hand, like the brush of an artistic painter or the racket of a tennis player, and your mind starts to reach beyond the ends of your fingertips.
- Secondly, good quality – and appropriate – tools are really hard to find.
This second reason has a very simple explanation:
perfect tools do not exist. So how is woodcarving or any similar craft even
possible? Well the woodcrafter has to meet the tool halfway. This comes in the
form of skill, care in use and maintenance of the tools.
For instance the edges of very sharp metal tools can chip or bend, depending on their temper, and so the woodcarver must be careful not to apply lateral stresses to the edge when it is buried in the wood. The blade bevels should be stropped regularly during carving to keep their edges not only sharp but also strong. Small dinks or bends which occur will only get bigger if left unchecked.
The skill of the woodcarver will take care of small design imperfections of the tools. As is often repeated in one form or another, a good craftsman can still craft beautiful objects even with poor tools.
Good maintenance prolongs the life of the tools. Metal tools like two things: good care and oil.
All written material: Copyright Ian Tompsett 2010-2016
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