Woodworking tools and their uses

Copyright 2005 Jason Bibb A sculptor's wood carving tools can be explained and appreciated according to their types and functions. Labeled by the processes used in carving wood, tools are used to measure, cut, shape, and finish a raw material into a fine piece of artwork. This article is a brief introduction to these tools and what they're used for: Measuring (Marking) Wood Carving Tools: Measuring wood carving tools assist with scaling sculptures to an appropriate size and are used at the beginning stage of development. Rulers, tape measures, and protractors are used to mark the increments of a shape's dimensions while perpendicular dimensions are achieved with straightedges, combination squares, or T-squares. If you need an absolute flat area, a plane gauge will help you achieve the perfectly leveled surface. After the proper measurements are put in place, you can use an awl or marking gauge to indent (mark with a slight poke) those measurements for the next stage of development.

Cutting Wood Carving Tools: With cutting wood carving tools, artisans move into the second stage of development and start to remove large sections of wood that will not be part of the final piece. For unusual angles (45 - 90 degree angles, back angles, front angles, etc.), you can use a crosscut saw or you can use a circular saw to cut through a large plane of wood. Table saws, on the other hand, enable you to move your wood into a cut shape, rather than move a saw in the direction of a shape. Shaping Wood Carving Tools: Having cut away the wood that you don't need (and moved into stage three of development), shaping wood carving tools allow you to bring your abstract piece into one that begins to resemble the final idea.

You can use various types of hand planes to shave off thin layers of wood or use a router and bits to engrave fancy designs onto the wood's surface. A lathe will make a rounded surface for you and a chisel will chip away small bits of wood. If necessary, you can use a gouge to clean out holes. Finishing Wood Carving Tools: At the last stage of development, you'll find these finishing wood carving tools to be essential in bringing your project to a complete fine work of art.

Because woodwork at this stage needs only minor adjustments, you can use sandpaper and sandpaper products (belt sander, palm sander, disc sander, and orbital sander) to bring a crude surface to a smooth finish. Files come in handy when you need to remove rough patches while steel or bronze wool will bring your piece to a stained and polished finish .

By: Jason Bibb

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