Fundamentals of Chip Carving

Chip Carving Tools

Chip carving is a style of carving in which knives or chisels are used to remove small chips of the material from a flat surface in a single piece.  Chip carving is a relatively easy form of carving they is often use to decorate furniture. Chip carving is much faster than other forms of carving and allows a new carver to practice individuals cuts before diving in on a project. If you are looking for a practical way to get into carving, chip carving may be it.


Chip Carving

Today I am talking about chip carving. This is something totally new for me as I have never chip carved in my life before starting this article. I thought it would be fun to start a new series about something I’m not as familiar with so we could learn together. Since I am a beginner in this area I decided to look to the experts. I have a book called Chip Carver’s Workbook: Teach Yourself with 7 Easy and Decorative Projects by Dennis Moor. I have been reading his book and will be relating a lot of his thoughts in this article. Dennis owns Chipping Away and is considered an expert in the field of chip carving. Also, since Dennis lives in Canada this article will have some innate international flair, don’t you know.


Chip Carving

Chip carving has become for the woodworker an art form complete in itself. This technique uses triangular shaped cuts that create intricate and intriguing designs dancing across the surface of the wood.  Patterns for chip carving are defined by a few basic elements, as the triangle or free form line, yet by varying the size and position of these elements new patterns are created.


Chip Carving Positive and Negative Space

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.


Woodcarving Article – Chip Carving

Today I am talking about chip carving. This is something totally new for me as I have never chip carved in my life before starting this article. I thought it would be fun to start a new series about something I’m not as familiar with so we could learn together.


Chip Carving Guide

Chip carving is a great way to begin woodcarving. For those already acquainted with carving, much can be learned from the design and discipline chip carving has to offer. While there are a number of ways this particular style may be executed, the method practiced by the Swiss is the quickest, easiest and most pleasurable to learn. The tools required are few - two knives - the execution simple, and the results are attractively decorative.


Chip carved stylish rosette on a plate

Chip carving has been described as the fastest and easiest way to decorate wooden objects - not to mention its attractive and enjoyable qualities with endless design possibilities. 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.


Chip Carving

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. Wayne not only taught us several techniques and patterns, he discussed wood choice, finishing, tools, sharpening, design considerations, and the characteristics that indicate a well executed chip carving.


Incised Carving

With incised carving only the outline of the design pattern is carved into the wood surface. 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.


Getting Started on a Chip Carving Project

Chip carving is an ideal technique for the person who wants to learn a bit about woodworking, but has always been discouraged at the prospect of buying a garage full of expensive and intimidating power tools. Fortunately, only a few tools are required to get started on a chip carving project. You need only chip carving knives, sharpening equipment, and a few small pieces of wood.



Chip Carving


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