Because of the hours I spend carving on a daily basis, and the ever present
possibility of a bad cut, few things have become as important to me as
comfort and safety while carving. This is why I hardly ever hold a carving
in my hand while carving. I have several types of holding devices in my shop
that enable me to carve comfortably, while at the same time keeping my hands
behind the blade of my carving tool. I thought I would show you the holding
devices that make my life as a woodcarver a little easier.
Easley Carvin' Vise
This is probably my favorite holding device. This vise is so adjustable that
no matter what I'm carving, I can get in a comfortable position. It is also
very portable. I can take it with me almost anywhere.
Quick Release Vise
This is just an all around handy vise to have in any woodworking shop. I
have used this vise to hold large blocks of wood in during the roughout
process and for holding fireplace mantles secure while carving. It is also
very good for gluing up blocks of wood.
Stick Carving Jig
I used to carve on the average of over 500 walking sticks and canes per
year. I don't know what I would have done without this jig. I made it using
an old front loading cabinet makers vise that my grandpa had. I added the
carpeted back stop to hold the sticks upright without scarring.
Relief Carving Backstop
While I mostly carve faces, figures and busts; occasionally I carve a relief
carving. A relief carving is usually too thin for me to put a screw into for
securing to an arm. There are also times when I need to constantly turn my
relief panel while carving, making securing it in the Easley vise
impractible. For those times this backstop gives me a good surface for
keeping the carving flat and keeping it in place while carving.
Large Carving Cradle
I have carved alot of large cigar store Indians over the years. This cradle
helps me by lifting the Indian up high enough that I don't have to spend all
day stooped over. It also allows me to be able to really lay into the
carving with my mallet without the carving trying to "walk" away. If you
want to carve large figures, build yourself something like this.
Carving Arm Stand
I made this stand to give my carving arm some portability. I can take this
stand outside and carve in the warm sunshine or shade. It helps me be able
to leave the confines of the shop and get a little change of scenery and
still get my work done.
This is a standard carving arm, the likes of which have been used by
woodcarvers for years. It is just a good all around vise for keeping a
carving, whether large or small, secure. This carving arm can be either
bolted or c-clamped to a bench.
This has long been one of the workhorses of my shop. This is the vise I use
when carving large faces in logs where heavy duty mallet work is needed. I
have also used this vise to carve on corner posts for log bed and other log
Carving Arm Jig
I made this little jig to give my carving arm more adjustablity. I secure
the carving to the jig with drywall screws, then I insert the carriage bolt
through a hole drilled in the carving arm. If I need to turn the carving I
simply loosen the wing nut, turn it, then retighten. I works great for me.
If you just have to hold a carving in your hand while working on it. Do like
Zac does, always use a glove. Not only does it give some protection against
cuts, it also keeps the sweat from your hand from making the carving slick
and discolored. And always keep in mind anything in front of the tool will
get cut, including fingers.