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I have been carving with the crooked knives common to the First Nations carvers here in the Pacific North West.
Less than 10 years now.
I'm happy to pay a competent bladesmith to make the sweeps that I want.
I'll buy those blades (knives and adzes) and haft them in handles of my own design.
At the end of the day, the handle is everything. Fatigue hurts.
Don't think that I have built any more than 2 dozen knives of various sweeps.

I've been hit several times in the chest. Wrecks my shirt and the cut stings.
Super heavy duty canvas apron now, I can hear the hits.
Brian, I know this is a little off topic but is the Woodcarving Illustrated forum still active?
 

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Yes, the WCI forums have risen from the ashes. We lost a lot of contributors, a bunch of us hung on and there's a load of new people from around the world. The big pisser is that the hack and rebuild erased every single picture in every old thread. Hardly what you could call "illustrated."
Some old pictures got reposted, some new stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
I've been a member there for a pretty long time - just not very active.
I like reading more than commenting.
I just got back from WoodCraft in Orlando and picked up the recent magazine.
I first saw the magazine in my doctor's office about 10-15 years ago and have been
buying it off-n-on since then. great resource for any level of whittler !!!
 
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I've been a member there for a pretty long time - just not very active.
I like reading more than commenting.
I just got back from WoodCraft in Orlando and picked up the recent magazine.
I first saw the magazine in my doctor's office about 10-15 years ago and have been
buying it off-n-on since then. great resource for any level of whittler !!!
I just rejoined, when the forum went down several years back, I guess it lost all the members info. There are a great bunch of guys there. I didn't post much back then, I just didn't have a lot of experience to contribute. I have sure gotten a lot from the members there though.

I want to try a cowboy character. There was a place in Townsend Tennessee that had cut outs which would be a big help. Hopefully I can find another place to buy carving supplies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Jim - I am going to get some of those "rough-out" cowboy characters. (the 11" tall ones)
I picked up some curly maple from WoodCraft this morning to make some knives
just for that project. the "Mora Style". I have just enough high carbon tool steel for about 5 or 6 knives.
keep me in the loop as how you get started.
John
 
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Jim - I am going to get some of those "rough-out" cowboy characters. (the 11" tall ones)
I picked up some curly maple from WoodCraft this morning to make some knives
just for that project. the "Mora Style". I have just enough high carbon tool steel for about 5 or 6 knives.
keep me in the loop as how you get started.
John
Same here, let me know how yours works out. Love to see some photos of your new knives, the high carbon steel blades are the way to go for me, they are easiest to sharpen and hold an edge really well.
 

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I have had a couple of years of physical "down time" that I'm getting over now.
Have not carved anything new in years with a dozen projects stalled on the bench.

These are storey poles which will display the entire life cycle of butterflies.
From eggs through growing caterpillars to the cocoon and the new butterfly, top front.
I want to get these pieces done before others.

STORY H.jpg
 

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I have had a couple of years of physical "down time" that I'm getting over now.
Have not carved anything new in years with a dozen projects stalled on the bench.

These are storey poles which will display the entire life cycle of butterflies.
From eggs through growing caterpillars to the cocoon and the new butterfly, top front.
I want to get these pieces done before others.

View attachment 423247
That will be nice Brian, can't wait to see it finished. Sure am glad you are getting back on your feet after so long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
wow - I have never heard of such a project, Brian. looking forward to seeing the updates.

I just ordered two roughouts from G&B Sears.
423248

I'm not at the skill level yet where I can start from scratch.
so this will get me into a comfort zone where I start freehand projects.
 

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wow - I have never heard of such a project, Brian. looking forward to seeing the updates.

I just ordered two roughouts from G&B Sears.
View attachment 423248
I'm not at the skill level yet where I can start from scratch.
so this will get me into a comfort zone where I start freehand projects.
John, that is like I want to do also. Have you seen Lynn Doughty's carvings, he uses a sheet rock knife to carve with. Check out some of his carvings.
That guy makes it look so easy. He had a tutorial on the WCI, a few years back, how to carve different cowboys.

I just read about carving Catalpa wood, have you ever tried any? They say it carves pretty good, it just don't paint well.
 

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I'm carving those poles with crooked knives that I have hafted in my own handles. Some Kestrel blades,
others used to be farrier's crooked hoof trimming knives, new and used.. Superior starting material.
The poles were roughed out from 5" x 5" x 64" cedar posts. Elbow adzes and a draw knife.

I have another story pole that shows the life of a frog. Just the final adult frog to finish. About 3" x 24".
 

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Thanks for the link John, that is a good price for those. The last bass wood I bought was almost that price and it was just a block of wood large enough to cut a cowboy out of.

Brian, the hoof knife is one I want to get one day. I really enjoy making spoons that that knife would be perfect. I would really like to see some of you work.
 

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With the farrier's hoof knife, you can cut off the hook for a point or open it up slightly with a 7/16" chainsaw file
to get a wonderful little scorp of an edge. I've done both and cut the whole hook off for a sharp spade-like tip
on my 2-handed planer knives.

To begin with for spoons, I suggest a blade in the 'C' profile as you can get from Kestrel Tool. It's a big blade.
Really for 24" projects (feast dishes, etc) and up to genuine poles.
Jamie Sharp and Lee Valley have smaller blades, a little easier to handle for smaller projects. Some spoon carvers go for the Morakniv #162, #163 or #164. Those are quite tight sweeps for kuksa and the like. There are a couple of other goodbladesmiths in the PacNW but fairly expensive. Jamie hafts his blades, they need your own choice of edge.
I did 70 spoons in birch, mostly used a 9/15 Pfeil gouge.

Then you can do the big rough-outs with an elbow adze (I use 2 of them) and a D-adze (14 oz beast) and a draw knife.

Not 10 years yet but I'm really happy learning how to make and use the common wood carving tools of the First Nations here in the Pacific Northwest. At the end of the day, I realize that the handles are everything for fatigue and ease of working. The hand grip area needs to be sized for you just like tennis raquet handles. Once you figure that out, make every tool the same. For my big hands and long fingers, that's 7/8" inch. I can go 3/4" up to 1" but any more or less is uncomfortable in no time.
 

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With the farrier's hoof knife, you can cut off the hook for a point or open it up slightly with a 7/16" chainsaw file
to get a wonderful little scorp of an edge. I've done both and cut the whole hook off for a sharp spade-like tip
on my 2-handed planer knives.

To begin with for spoons, I suggest a blade in the 'C' profile as you can get from Kestrel Tool. It's a big blade.
Really for 24" projects (feast dishes, etc) and up to genuine poles.
Jamie Sharp and Lee Valley have smaller blades, a little easier to handle for smaller projects. Some spoon carvers go for the Morakniv #162, #163 or #164. Those are quite tight sweeps for kuksa and the like. There are a couple of other goodbladesmiths in the PacNW but fairly expensive. Jamie hafts his blades, they need your own choice of edge.
I did 70 spoons in birch, mostly used a 9/15 Pfeil gouge.

Then you can do the big rough-outs with an elbow adze (I use 2 of them) and a D-adze (14 oz beast) and a draw knife.

Not 10 years yet but I'm really happy learning how to make and use the common wood carving tools of the First Nations here in the Pacific Northwest. At the end of the day, I realize that the handles are everything for fatigue and ease of working. The hand grip area needs to be sized for you just like tennis raquet handles. Once you figure that out, make every tool the same. For my big hands and long fingers, that's 7/8" inch. I can go 3/4" up to 1" but any more or less is uncomfortable in no time.
Wow, thanks Brian, that is some great information, I really appreciate it a lot.
 

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You are most welcome. Now that I have a number of years using these tools, I think I'm ready to answer questions from anyone interested. I have a couple dozen crooked knives now, all sorts of shapes. There's a parallel with gouges in that you pick the one that makes the cut you need to do.

Did I ever show the Raven bow drill or the Aztec corn dish here? Frog Pie?
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
probably start a new thread that would focus on what projects are your specialty. (and some photos).
and the tools that get the job done.
I am pretty interested in the hook knives, although I have never used one.
do you make any of your specialty tools yourself ?
 

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You are most welcome. Now that I have a number of years using these tools, I think I'm ready to answer questions from anyone interested. I have a couple dozen crooked knives now, all sorts of shapes. There's a parallel with gouges in that you pick the one that makes the cut you need to do.

Did I ever show the Raven bow drill or the Aztec corn dish here? Frog Pie?
I don't think you posted photos of those. I will start a new thread named Wood Carving Projects. Please do post some photos there, I would love to see them.
 

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I posted some pictures of my adzes and crooked knives in the new carving project thread.
I haven't built a knife in awhile as I bought some already hafted with handles big enough to fit my hands.
Some carving pictures, too. The apple pie is long gone.
 
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