No divorce, but a new lover

The only tool I've ever used to carve with is a scalpel. Not an exacto knife but a real surgical scalpel. I just love that sharp rounded edge that cuts like butter through any (hard)wood. But like any other marriage... it could you feel you're missing something? It was time to find out!

After searching the internet I bought myself a basic set of carvers the other week. A set of six by Ramelson that were not too expensive. They were around 50 Euro's which I think is very reasonable, but i didn't expect them to be high-end. You van get better quality ones (like Pfeil) but for instance Dockyard has some too that are equally prized. I choose the Ramelson cos of the handle and the fact i never used such tools. If they pleased me I could always invest in a better brand. If not there's no man overboard.

They came blunt out of the box so they needed to be honed before use. After that I tried the different cuts they gave on a piece of scrap but really wanted to see where they could go. What better way then to test on a discarded design I had laying around; a rococo mirror.

I used a jewelers saw to cut out the frame, and routed the back recess for the mirror. While I was at it did a little edge on the front as well.

Then it was on to these new tools. I love the way they fit into my hand and how it makes possible for good control. I just started but already found them very useful to get into spaces where a scalpel would do more harm then help. Especially the gouges (U- and V-shaped). The only setback is they need to be sharpened quit quick, but that was to be expected.

Could a harder steel carver replace or substitute a scalpel? Don't think so; how small they might seem to be (5/64 inch wide) they are way to big for detailing; nothing beats a razor-sharp point to get into all the littlest corners and crevasses.


  1. Ze zien er erg mooi uit, het staat nog steeds op mijn lijstje om er ook eens mee te werken, dus ik ben blij met jouw ervaring.
    groetjes Sylvia

  2. Wow, can't wait to see it finished, glad you found some nice new tools!!!!!!

  3. Debora, I think it's a great result! I'd love to see the finished piece.
    I also had my doubts about carving tools - always liked scalpels, later I discovered Kirschen chisels, and now a huge fan of them. I have the smallest sizes - from 0,5 mm to 3 mm. All work fine and don't require much sharpening. I'm a beginner at carving but with the sofa those chisels really helped me. I didn't write about them in my blog, only on my site - - sorry it's all in Russian, but I have google translate there.

  4. So cool. I wish I may find someone who could teach me the basic of carving. Any time I see your work I remain wordless and you make me wish to try.
    cannot wait to see it finished. Have a nice evening, Rosanna

  5. Fijn dat je goed gereedschap hebt gevonden, de spiegel wordt echt heel erg mooi! Ik vind het zo fantastisch en knap, al dat houtsnijwerk wat je laat zien! Echt ongelooflijk mooi! Als je ooit nog eens een workshop gaat geven meld ik me aan!:)

  6. @ Elga, mails is on it's way, you see I was preoccupied ;-)

    @ Victoria, I read your article and like your collection of various cutters. Thanks for pointing out that they come as small as 0,5 mm wide. That's definitely something I will look into.

    As for the basics of carving; I would gladly sit down with anyone and show how rewarding carving can be. I once did a post on barley twists:
    That's a really nice one to start with carving. The measuring is maybe the hardest part as the carving is easy and gentle. At the same the result is very nice and can be used for a lot of projects. A lamp base, candle or even on a table leg. Let me know if any of you have questions.

  7. Hoi Debbie, ik hou me graag aanbevolen als je een meting wil geven. Lijkt me fantastisch.

    Groetjes Sylvia

  8. Hi Debbie !
    I am always amazed by the quality of your work. You are really talented !!!
    By the way, which kind of router do you use ?
    Marie-Laure xxx

  9. Silvia, I can just barely facilitate for three, max. four people at my place. But if there are any other people who are interested in a introduction workshop in Noord Holland (zaanstreek) I will gladly organize one.
    Marie, I've uploaded some pics from the setup to make clear (in the left hand column is a link for my Picasa Photostream). In this case a basic drill-press holding a Proxxon ME drill. With different burrs at various hight's using a pivot pin you can route any recess or edge. Does that answer your question?

  10. Wow! is a very difficult work!You are really talented !!! Hugs.

  11. Thank you so much Debora for your reply.

  12. They look wonderfull those carver tools. Next month I will have my first attempt at carving...I will be following a workshop by David Hurley.... Looking forward to see the result of your mirror...what kind of woo did you use for it?

  13. Marie, you're welcome, it was no effort. Pictures tell a thousand words ,-)
    @ Jeffery, wow that sounds great! Doing a course with David Hurley is fantastic. If it s at Shaw Farm it must be a fantastic setting and I'll hope you'll enjoy! Please post about it, i would love to see what you'll be doing.
    ps the wood is not the best for carving; mahogany :S


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