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I wood if I could.
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I've carved a tons of these working pliers joints over the years. But I recently carved another handful for a demonstration video I was recording to post on YouTube. But camera and memory card issues keep forcing me to scrap the videos and do another take. It got to be frustrating. But at least I got to carve a large portion of this year's Christmas gifts in the process.

The lighter colored pieces (basswood) you see in the pictures are some of the ones I carved while trying to get a usable recording. You can't tell scale from the pictures but, the smallest pliers in the pictures are about 1/4" square and around 2" long. I've carved a lot smaller ones. But anything smaller wouldn't have worked for the video.

People generally seem to be amazed by these things. Especially when it's explained that they are carved from a solid piece of wood. No glue or trickery is involved. Only 10 strategically placed cuts are required to create the working joints.

The 2x4 piece with green lines on it was one of my props to explain the concept and cuts pattern.

final carving 012.jpg

final carving 013.jpg

final carving 014.jpg

Pliers joints 004.jpg

Pliers joints 001.jpg
 

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I wood if I could.
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Discussion Starter #2
I've carved several more since then but those ones aren't included in these pictures. Just more of the same though.

Pliers joints 005.jpg

They all start out as square rods, like these I ripped at the table saw. Each of these rods gets cut down into 6 or so.

Pliers joints 002.jpg

Opened.
Pliers joints 006.jpg

Closed.
Pliers joints 007.jpg
 

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Very interesting. Are you going to show us how they are made or will that remain a secret?

BTW, you seem to have a liking to produce your projects in bulk. Are these going to be Christmas gifts? If so you must have a large family :yes:
 

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I wood if I could.
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Discussion Starter #9
I appreciate all the comments, guys.

Very interesting. Are you going to show us how they are made or will that remain a secret?

BTW, you seem to have a liking to produce your projects in bulk. Are these going to be Christmas gifts? If so you must have a large family :yes:
Most of these will be given away as gifts, yes. My immediate family isn't that large. But there's a lot of relatives on my wife's side, we have step children and nieces and nephews.

I'll be glad to show you how they are made. I recorded a video about it. Actually, most of the one pictured above are ones I carved in the process of making the video. It took me a bunch of takes because my stupid camera kept corrupting SD cards.

Here's the video showing the actual process of cutting the joints:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C-xREGMqYY

And here's the first part, where I explain how to layout the joint. I may help understand what's going on in the pt. 2 (the video above):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwhPEL2EPY8

Please excuse my disfluency. I'm referring to my stuttering, for those scratching their noggins.
 

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Steve, thanks for the Geometry lesson!

I've only had time to watch the layout video, but from what I've seen so far, several of my relatives may be receiving pliers this Christmas.
 

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I wood if I could.
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Discussion Starter #14
Nice! I remember seeing Roy Underhill make some just li that on an episode of the Woodwright's Shop.
Oh cool. I've haven't seen that episode. I did love his show, though. Him and Norm Abrams. I fondly remember watching those shows, wishing I could do that stuff. Admiring their work and how they deconstruct and approach the process. All the while thinking I'd never have the equipment one would need to even approach most projects. Now I build different kinds of things all the time. It's awesome.

Steve, thanks for the Geometry lesson!

I've only had time to watch the layout video, but from what I've seen so far, several of my relatives may be receiving pliers this Christmas.
Don't get too giddy. There will be a test tomorrow.

Pt.1 was the conceptual tutor so that the visual aide prop (the joint laid out in Pt.1) makes sense in Pt.2. You'll find that, in practice, only certain types of pliers joints (namely, those meant to be more realistic) are going to benefit from actually taking the time to lay out the joint. But understanding the layout will help immensely when I explain the free-handed cutting method in Pt.2.

You'll be able to cut a pliers joint in minutes. I recommend basswood to learn on. And probably even after you're good at it. But other woods will work as well, with varying success rates. Splitting - but only while actually cutting the joint - is your biggest enemy when carving these. The best size to learn on would be in the range of about 1/4" - 1/2" square. Several inches in length. 1/4" inch is easiest. Larger only takes more effort, but is still doable.

A short, thin, pointy bladed knife is your friend of choice here. And it has to be sharp. Razor sharp, preferably.

Once you understand the concept, though, the actual carving is fairly easy. But it does baffle the unknowing!
 

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I wood if I could.
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Discussion Starter #15
If anyone is interested in seeing me carve a pliers joint without the without the step-by-step explanation, here's a video of me carving one. It's difficult to see the cuts I'm making (that's why I used the large visual aide piece in the other videos) but you can see that it doesn't take long at all to make one. Nor is it difficult to do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6V5UAVwMxU

On a different, but related, note: I do have a LOT more carving and woodworking videos planned. But I'm also looking for suggestions for future videos. I'd like to do them on things that people actually want to see. If any one who's seen some of my work - trick carvings or woodworking - has wondered how I make what I make, feel free to comment letting me know what you'd like to see demonstrated and I'll be glad to do so. If not, I'll just keep on keeping on and make videos on whatever, whenever.
 

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Honestly Steve any of your work is well worth a look.
Your a very multi talented guy!
I love your robots they truly rock, and the pumpkins are totally way!

I wasn't going to made a suggestion but just off the bat, I'd love to
see one of those pumpkins in timber with some tricky eyes that could blink.
I don't really know why I just reckon it would be way kool :thumbsup:

Anyway what ever you do "Bring it on"!

Rep.
 

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Steve, a package arrived in the mail today. Thank you for the fine chunks of wood. I really have enjoyed working with the ebony you sent me and look forward to conjuring something up with that purple heart. It may be enough to build a house, a miniature.

I watched your videos on the carved pliers, then butchered some wood, and went back to the videos for a second lesson. Maybe that, with the tangible example you sent me, will help me succeed. It is a very impressive project, and you make it look so easy. My dad was also very impressed, and now I have to build a pair or he will keep the ones you sent me. I'll keep you informed. Ralph
 

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I wood if I could.
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Discussion Starter #18
Honestly Steve any of your work is well worth a look.
Your a very multi talented guy!
I love your robots they truly rock, and the pumpkins are totally way!

I wasn't going to made a suggestion but just off the bat, I'd love to
see one of those pumpkins in timber with some tricky eyes that could blink.
I don't really know why I just reckon it would be way kool :thumbsup:

Anyway what ever you do "Bring it on"!

Rep.
That would be cool. Every time I carve a cool pumpkin I wish it was in wood. Pumpkins just don't last long; a couple of days at the most. Good thing I've been taking photos or they'd be only a distant memory. Maybe some day I'll build up the nerve to try a large piece like that in wood.

I've carved lots of faces in wood. But always on a much smaller scale.
 

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I wood if I could.
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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Steve, a package arrived in the mail today. Thank you for the fine chunks of wood. I really have enjoyed working with the ebony you sent me and look forward to conjuring something up with that purple heart. It may be enough to build a house, a miniature.

I watched your videos on the carved pliers, then butchered some wood, and went back to the videos for a second lesson. Maybe that, with the tangible example you sent me, will help me succeed. It is a very impressive project, and you make it look so easy. My dad was also very impressed, and now I have to build a pair or he will keep the ones you sent me. I'll keep you informed. Ralph
I'm glad the package arrived. If you try the pliers, though, I'd do it in basswood, pine, cedar or another fine grained, soft wood (though basswood is considered a hard wood). At least for starters. Walnut sapwood would be a decent choice as well.

If the wood is too hard or your blade too thick you have a much higher chance of it splitting apart on you. And since the pliers are carved largely by means of splitting, you want to be able to control the split as well as possible. That said, any wood CAN be carved into pliers. But some definitely yield higher success rates.

I'm still pondering and preparing to handle your written request as well, by the way. I just haven't been able to dedicate enough time yet to reading more of the examples on that website to ensure that I pay proper attention to your needs. I may be asking you for a little more information before I actually write it. I will say, though, that your miniatures would be right at home in that museum.
 
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