Intro to Chip Carving: 8 Steps

Intro to Chip Carving: 8 Steps

The second position of the cutting knife puts the blade at the same angle but in the opposite direction (see photo 8). This is achieved by placing the first knuckle of the thumb on the spine of the handle. When preparing to sharpen the cutting knife, there should be a slight secondary bevel that blends into the primary bevel which has been established by the factory.

Chip carving differs in several ways from other disciplines of woodcarving including tools employed, the manner in which they are held, the way wood is removed, and designs created. As chip carving does not create shapes or forms but rather decorates objects already in existence such as boxes, plates and furniture, geometric motifs that can be easily drawn with a ruler and wood carving gifts compass have been traditionally utilised. This is readily understood considering the simplicity of the implements used and the nearly limitless design possibilities that can be made this way, including many that are quite clever and attractive. Designs carved in this fashion are cut into the wood or incised, not relieved. Chip carving is a great way to begin woodcarving.

The smaller number of chips makes these projects quick to carve. These simple chip carving patterns are suitable for carvers of all levels including beginners. As we have seen, chip carving is not as easy as it seems. However, it is not too difficult either. We hope that our ultimate guide to chip carving has helped you up your game.

Whittling Knives

We recommend 3M 32044 Imperial Wetordry Emery cloth with a grit size of 2000 as a cheaper solution to sharpening your knives. We often see many people selecting a pocket knife over a specialized chip carving knife. While we understand that pocket knives can be much cheaper and more readily available, we do not recommend people to use pocket knives when chip carving.

As with all handwork, practicing the rudiments of chip carving techniques, such as how to hold a knife properly and execute basic chips, will give a beginner the courage and confidence to proceed with a first project. Through positive and negative space it is possible to take one chip carving design and create a multitude of patterns. The second and third images on the right are an example of putting positive and negative space to work in your carvings. The two-sided chip may be expressed in multiple ways including straight or curved lines having the same width value throughout; a chip having one side straight and the other curved; and chips with compound curves of various widths (see photo 14).While these are only the beginning steps of chip carving, a little practice will quickly give you the discipline and understanding of the complete process. It will also provide the incentive to explore and discover the full design possibilities and joys of chip carving, the most decorative, versatile, functional and fastest style the world of woodcarving has to offer (see photo 16).

At the end of the day, all that is required is practice. The more you chip carve, the better you get at it and the more complex patterns you will be able to make. Once you have gained the necessary skill set to chip carve, the sky is the limit. You will be able to make timeless works of art using inexpensive and basic tools quickly and easily. There are several sizes available for chip carving knives, ranging from small to large depending on the work you have at hand.

When only two knives are used, give yourself every advantage by acquiring quality tools (see photo 3). The Premier knives shown here were designed by myself and are the result of many years of study and experience. They are manufactured through the Alpine School of Woodcarving in the US. Their blades are high carbon tool steel (not stainless) properly tempered to hold an edge longer; their handles are ergonomically designed for hours of comfortable use.The more used of the two, the cutting knife, is the one that removes all the wood, i.e., the chips.

You can easily download chip grids online to use as tracing paper or a general guideline when chip carving. Those graph papers come in 1/4” and 1/3” grid patterns. You will need to draw your pattern on those chip carving graph paper before gluing it or tracing to your material. Many design patterns already come in graph paper size. They are more convenient to use, as long as you find a pattern that appeals to you.

The tools required are few – two knives – the execution simple, and the results are attractively decorative. These chip carving patterns are free. I call this chip carving pattern collection “Dozen chips or so” as most of them combine just 10-15 chips together.

  • In fact, this is one of the main advantages of chip carving.
  • The softer the wood, the better the chip carving result.
  • Rotated your hand by using only your thumb as a pivot.
  • Chip carving is a relatively easy form of carving they is often use to decorate furniture.
  • With a shorter blade, your hand is closer to the material which helps you deliver a more accurate cut.
  • You also need softening stones when working with those tools.

Measuring Tool

She illustrates you the world of chip carving in very simple terms and newbies will have no problem following this guide, all the way to carving more complex patterns. This will allow you to make much more accurate cuts. Our favorite stab knife is the “My Chip Carving Platinum Edition” with AEB-L stainless steel blade. This particular model has a rosewood handle that is very comfortable to hold and thumb notches to register your grip when chip carving.

You can use a larger chip carving knife for cutting longer, not-so-delicate lines. With chip carving, you can take away wood from the project surface to create either bas relief or depression, depending upon where you make your cuts and take away wood. A stabbing knife is handy for pushing into the wood project surface and lifting away larger chips. Switch back to a smaller knife to carve the details into your design.

chip carving patterns beginners

The blade of this type of knife is usually shorter compared to other types with a large resin handle. This allows you to grip the knife comfortably. Of course, when tracing you should use other tools like a. T-ruler, #2 pencil and even a compass to mark each and every line of the pattern. Last but not least, we have the Chip Carving Workshop by Lora Irish – a very well-known chip carver.

Basically, chip carving is a 2-stage process. It is simply removing the crust of material “chip” with a chisel and mallet to reveal the inner layer. This bevel difference between the material chipped away in contrast to the remaining surface creates a chip carve pattern.

My entrepreneurial journey started in 2006, when I dropped out of university. I wanted to work with my hands, to build things. Now I mix my background with computers with my first-hand experience with woodworking to provide insights into the tools I like best. I love everything about woodworking and have been building stuff for over 20 years of my life.

Tools for Chip Carving

chip carving patterns beginners

Additionally, do not cut too deep in your chip and the maximum should be around 1/8” deep. If your chip is too large, remove it in multiple stages rather than one pass. A chip carving knife is your best friend when digging in large chips. Of course, the easiest way to transfer a pattern to wood is by gluing it directly on your material using a spray of wood glue. Be careful not to spray too much wood glue as it may later become a problem.

Each pattern line is carved either as v-shaped cut using a bench knife or a trench cut using a small u-gouge, v-gouge or a veining tool. The carved lines of the final pattern are uniform in both depth and width. Simple line patterns with large open spaces excel with incising. I took a chip carving class this weekend at Olde Mill Cabinet Shoppe with master carver, Wayne Barton, who studied all disciplines of carving in Switzerland, has won both national and international awards, is the author of two chip carving books, has appeared on both The American Woodshop and The Woodwright’s Shop, and is a very entertaining and affable man.