Have thy tools ready. God will find thee work.
August 31, 2009 7:22 AM   Subscribe

WoodworkingFilter-- I need a basic list of wood sculpting tools

I'm an artist, but I've never done much sculpture, and now find myself in possession of an entire pear tree, cut into 2 to 6 foot chunks of varying diamaters. It's been curing for about 18 months, and now I'd like to start carving, and maybe building some simple benches. Might add some mosaic elements as well. So, hive mind, set me up with basic woodworking tools. I'm fine with power, but will also need hand tools. I'm looking for the name of the tool and what it does, so I don't look like a complete idiot (partial idiocy is fine) when going to stores to buy these things. Also if anyone has basic instructions on making giant lincoln logs, that would be great.

As a corollary-- what's the best place to buy these? Web (suggestions welcome), hardware store, Big Box, or art supply store (I'm on Chicago northside)?
posted by nax to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When you say benches, do you mean turning the logs into board, and building with that, or just carving benches from the logs?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:50 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've only done small-scale woodcarving. If I ever decide to get into larger (i.e., log-sized) projects, though, I'm going to try one of these. It's a toothed wheel that attaches to your handheld grinder and allows you to do very rapid stock removal.
posted by bricoleur at 7:51 AM on August 31, 2009

It's a scary tool, and it takes a bit of practice to use, but for rough shaping there is nothing like an angle grinder and a chain saw blade disk like this. (And when I went to look up the link, I saw a new toy on their front page that I think I need to own.) Also a course flap disc for smoothing after you're done with the chain saw blade.
Lee Valley is a good place to see what is available for hand and power carving -- they carry the King Arthur tools as well as the carver bricoleur suggested.
posted by Killick at 8:20 AM on August 31, 2009

I generally think the term 'carve' should refer to the use of edge tools to cut organic shapes, but other people "carve" with chainsaws, angle grinders, files, etc. There are too many ways to go about it for there to be a simple, basic toolset, especially if you're not sure what sort of shapes you're going to be cutting.
posted by jon1270 at 10:48 AM on August 31, 2009

What might be helpful is to pick up a book or two from the library on the type of woodworking project you'd like to do. It'll give you a good idea of what tools you need and what you'll need them for.

(And if you're interested in Japanese tools Toshio Odate has written two really good books, one on making shoji, and the other on the tools themselves, that do a pretty good job of explaining them).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:02 AM on August 31, 2009

Killick is right -- Lee Valley Tools is a wonderful resource for woodcarving tools, supplies, and instruction. You can order online or request their catalogue.

I have only done the littlest of woodworking projects, but their store is inspiring.
posted by Sallyfur at 12:15 PM on August 31, 2009

Killick, that first link is great, thanks. This looks like the sort of scale and ability I need-- something with power to get going, but then what do I use for fine and finish work? Finding a good wood carving book is a great suggestion, too (duh). Keep it coming.
posted by nax at 3:12 PM on August 31, 2009

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