Carving The Caning

FIG. 2: PREVENTING SHORT-GRAIN BREAKS

Delicate short grain can snap off it a chip breaks free prematurely. To prevent this, make your first cuts around the short-grain areas.

Pyramid chips. To cut each square in the caning pattern, lean the blade 65a in lx)th directions and work toward the center of the square.

Creating the "weave" For a woven effect, conned every other square with shallow, V-shaped channels.

Carving Detail Cuts

For detail cuts such as the veins in the leaves and rosette flowers, simply make narrow, shallow cuts.

For the wedge-shaped indentations at the end of the flower veins in the rosette, plunge the stab knife straight down into the wood and rock it slightly toward its cutting edge. (See Fig. 3.) This detail helps define the flower and provides delicate contrast to the deeply carved sections.

When cutting a thin borderline such as the one that frames this design, you don't need a straightedge if you simply cut slowly and carefully. Remember to keep your eye on the line just ahead of the knife.

Carving Caning Designs

To carve the caning pattern you sec on the ends of this box, begin by making a scries of four-sided chips as shown in the left photo above. Place the tip of the knife at the corner of a square, leaning the blade about 65° in the direction of its cutting edge, as shown. Then plunge the blade, cutting toward the center of the square. For economy of movement. I generally make similar outlines in series before repositioning the workpiece to make the next series of cuts.

To complete the caning pattern, connect the squares with channels, as shown in the right photo above. Then frame your finished pattern with a thin border.

Creating Your Own Designs

A beginner can easily design any number of rosettes or geometric patterns using only a compass and a ruler. Books and videos on chip carving provide many ideas, suggestions and patterns. (See Sources.)

You can also create vour own free-form designs, but limit each waste section to two, three or four sides, to ensure that cuts will meet at the bottom of the section. If you like, you can link different sections at a narrow point as shown in Fig. 1. I suggest limiting the widest sections to -V8 in. A wider—and therefore deeper—section can be very difficult to cut. A

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