Woodcraft 101 | with Eric Gorges: Relief Carving

Woodcraft 101 | with Eric Gorges: Relief Carving


I started carving wood a couple months ago and I’ve really enjoyed it. I think I’m drawn to the simplicity of it. There’s not a lot of power tools involved it’s just some knives and patience. You know, you can lose yourself in your work which I really enjoy that. Something I’ve been looking at lately is a type of carving called relief
carving and that’s where you go in and you remove material from
the wood to reveal an image and that looks pretty challenging to me. It’s something I’d like to do I’ve never tried it before and I think I’m ready for that step. So I’m gonna head down to Woodcraft and talk to them about the best kind of
material to use and pick up a couple new gouges. How are you doing? I’m Eric. I’m Joe. Nice to meet you. So I’ve been doing some carving lately Okay Mostly crosses. Okay, but I’m ready to get into something a little bit bigger and I’m thinking more of a relief
type carving. So I grabbed a piece of bass wood here I’m thinking about ripping this down and then using these two pieces here to make my cross. Alright. Okay, and then to carve it on this face here. So what would you recommend that I
use to do that? Well once you decide what you’re gonna carve on there you’re gonna draw your pattern on. Yep. You’re gonna use a V-tool similar to this to outline it. Okay. The V-tool, you can outline and it is a V so you don’t have a sharp corner on the remaining material. Alright. Then in the bottom of the V-cut you would use your knife to make a stop cut
and then use a flatter gouge to remove the material to the stop cut. And that’s what you would use your gouges to cut back to to remove the material. Come in from it. So we’re gonna use the V around my border Uh-huh. A knife in the center of the V to create a stop cut Correct. And then I’m gonna take a gouge and remove the material up to that point. Yes. Right? And then which gouges would you
recommend? This is a number three 12 millimeter. Nice. Three indicates the curvature of the tool Oh, okay. and 12 is obviously the width. Nice. That feels nice. It’s a very nice tool, yes. It’s got like a nice weight to it. It fits in the palm nice and comfortable. Yeah it sure does. Like it’s made for it. Alright so number three. What else would you recommend? Once you get the majority of the stock removed you’re gonna want to start adding detail. Okay. So you just use something with
more of a curve in it. We have the number nine. This is a number nine it has a lot of
curve almost like a half circle. Oh wow, okay. That would create little valleys. Yep. Maybe if you were maybe putting a grapevine in there or
something you could actually stab in and create a circle. Oh yeah. And then cut back to it to create a little ball. Oh, okay, alright. You could make a grape or something. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, excellent. Alright man. Yeah that would probably cover just about, you know, what you’re gonna do and I’m sure as you
progress in your carvings you’re gonna want more and more more. Oh yeah. It’s just different shapes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that should offset the knives that I already have. Yes. Perfect. I think they should complement them very well. Alright. Alright. Thank you. So the first thing I did was take my
block and rip it in half. Then I marked a couple center lines and I cut my joints in and we’re gonna glue it up. Once it’s dry we’ll be ready to carve it. Alright. I got it worked out in my head
and a little bit of drawing on here and I’m gonna start with the border. I’m happy with where I’m at. You know I envisioned this Tree of Life type image and I’ve got the bottom done I’m happy with it. This is all bound to finish dimension
and I’ve got some texture in here for the bark and whatnot and I’ve got, you
know, different heights to give it some character and dimension. It’s been fun. I think I’m ready for paint. I’m super happy with how it came out. I mean the first relief carving I’ve
done and I enjoyed it. It was a ton of fun. I learned a lot, too. The corners,
they were a little bit harder than I anticipated and along the way, you know, I
started doing a little back cutting in here and I really liked how that looked
but I couldn’t be happier with the piece. I think it looks really good
I’m super happy with it. I did use a little dough in here to fill up some of
these joints but it looks great. I’m gonna whitewash the whole thing first
and get a little bit of white on it background and the tree and then I’m
just gonna start throwing color on it. Maybe some bronzes and coppers and
definitely some golds and some black for the background I think and we’ll go from there. You know, see how it looks.
Just keep layering colors down. I couldn’t be happier with how this came
out, I mean, I really enjoyed the process. It was challenging, you know, these
little areas in here were really hard and trying to get the texture right so
that it actually looks like bark. But it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the entire
process and eventually doing this little back cut on there, man, that just, that
brought it to life, you know, that just really made it stand out from the
background. One of the things that’s super special about this for me is the
fact that it’s not often that I get to make something and then keep it at the
end of the day, so it’s gonna be special for me to hang this up on the wall and
enjoy it and the cool thing is I know eventually, you know, my daughter will put
it up at her house. She’ll be able to tell people that, you know, her dad made
it and I think that’s pretty cool.

6 thoughts on “Woodcraft 101 | with Eric Gorges: Relief Carving”

  1. I would love to see a PBS produced wood carving program. Roy Underhill has had some guest woodcarvers on some of his Woodwright episodes, but it would be cool to see a program solely devoted to wood carving.

  2. Mr. Gorges is WONDERFUL everywhere. .. and he's most handsome 😍 I luv his show he is one very intelligent and intruiging. He shines a light on my life with his talents thank you for share. 🌟

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