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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving Carving positions and stands, etc.
Carving positions and stands, etc.
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5310
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2005-06-01 07:03 am   Permalink

I have spent all of maybe an hour carving so far, but the hours I spent with the draw knife and then the chisel let me know this is going to be painful!

I am looking forward to a free weekend and hoping to spend a lot of it with chisel in hand, but! Doing it the way I have been means I can't do too much or my back and neck will kill me.

What do you guys do as far as a carving set up? I have a short (10-12") stool and am carvng the log on the floor with 2 x 2s keeping it from rolling. There has to be a better way.

Also, I am thinking ahead to when I start carving the other side of this guy and he would then be laying on the carved and potentially fragile side and there must be a way to handle that better too.

These are basic dumb questions, but, I am inventing the wheel here with no training or knowledge...

Carving is very addicting to me. I am very much looking forward to spending Friday through Sunday working away...

"Mai-Kai: History & Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant" the book

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10397
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2005-06-01 07:30 am   Permalink

Hey Swank, welcome to the painful world of carving. Depending on the size of the log, you need to raise it up so that the working surface is about hip high so you can do the work without bending your back.

I had a few Large logs, or stumps, cut at different lengths which each had a deep, wide "V" cut into the top where I would rest the carving. Taller stumps for thinner logs and shorter for bigger carvings. You can make a 2x4 stand however large you need for your first carving. Just think about 2X4 "X's" connected at the legs to bake a sort of bench.
How ever you do it, you need to raise the carving.

As for working on the back side of the piece if you line the bench or "Cradle with strips of old carpet, it will prevent most damage from laying on the carved area. you will be able to find uncarved spots to support the log.

It is important to get the piece situated so that you are as comfortable as possible because once you start and get into the momentum of the carving, you will most likley not bother with trying to get it comfortable from then on and at the end of the day you will be in severe pain.

Hope this helps and I'm sure others will have more ideas to add as well. Don't be afraid to ask whatever questions you have no matter how mundane you may think they are.


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Aaron's Akua
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 09, 2004
Posts: 1596
From: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Posted: 2005-06-01 12:08 pm   Permalink


I used to have the same problem when I first started carving. I would sit cross legged on my patio carving for hours, then my back wouldn't straighten out when I finally tried to get up.

I used Benzart's same advice & made a couple of
carving stumps. I just lay a towel on top if I want to protect a nearly finished piece.

I also use a workmate when I'm carving away from home.

Recently having hit my 40's, I'm finding that it's sometimes useful to take some Aleve before you get started.

Good luck!


"Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness."
-Pablo Picasso

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8FT Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 30, 2003
Posts: 1406
From: Kansas City, MO
Posted: 2005-06-01 3:31 pm   Permalink

Glad to see you joining the ranks of the brotherhood of the woodchip. Can't wait to see what you create. Now here is how I am working with logs. I have this thing which is actually a piece of junk but I got it free and using my imagination I have turned it into a carving bench or table. It is not easy to see in the photo I have here but this is an aerial view taken from the upper deck. Try to visualize a wooden pallet, attach a couple of 2x4's on both sides to form an X. Then attach another pallet at the top of the 2x4' X's. When finished you will have a pallet on the ground and one elevated to the height you want. The 2x4 cross braces are attached to both pallets and form the sides of the completed wooden "cube".
It really is simple and cost next to nothing if you have acess to discarded pallets or lumber. I find that the logs do not roll off because the spaces between the boards on the pallet allow the log to rest in between boards.

When I get to the carving stage you mentioned where you want to work the opposite side and don't want to risk hurting the work you have already done, I do a similar thing as mentioned by Benzart. Except I have some of those carpet sample pads you can get for a buck or 2 at any carpet store. They make great door mats and when you need a soft cradle for your carving you just place a couple of them beneath the log and that way you can remove it whenever you aren't needing it. I have had real good luck with that method. Good Luck and keep us supplied with photos!

When we first met.......

[ This Message was edited by: 8FT Tiki on 2005-06-01 15:33 ]

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Feb 07, 2004
Posts: 55
Posted: 2005-06-01 6:16 pm   Permalink

Swanky,I use a Sears Craftman bench, kinda like a Black and Decker Workmate or Benchmate. It has a removable section, with it removed you cradle your work in it. I use a foam knee pad to keep from damaging the tiki. The new B&D benchs have alot more adjustments, height adjustment,and clamping do-dads than my old craftman. They (B&D) sell between $49 to $69, here in Las Vegas. Its ez to move around,and fold up for storage. A little rum and coke , a hot shower, helps with the back pain. Doc Tiki

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 29, 2004
Posts: 2094
From: San Pedro, CA
Posted: 2005-06-01 6:32 pm   Permalink

heya swanky,

something like this works well:

but you could find similiar tables cheaper other places. Brings smaller pieces up to your level. You still end up bending over a little, but not quite as much.
For heavier pieces, either leave them on the ground or use aarons, bens or 8ft method. I use saw horses that you can purchase at HOme DEPOT for like $13 each:

they bring the tiki up alittle, but I still end up bending over or just sitting on the wood and going at it.(insert joke HERE).

For turning the carving over, I always put it on a towel and that seems to save the datail and not add any dents or dings.

hope this helped, feel free to ask more ???? if you have any. There are no dumb questions.

OMG! I'm on Instagram!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5310
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2005-06-02 06:15 am   Permalink

Hmmm. We sell a few different saw horses here, as well as some $20 tool tables. AT my price, this may be the way to go. I could take some stock and cut a "cradle" to put on top oof the table(s). Then get a mobile base and roll the tiki outside and back in when I wanna work.

I'll come up with my solution today or tomorrow.

This Shop Fox Table is what I am getting today. We sell these for $29, my price is $20. A good height and I can make a cradle to put on top with a little no-slip padding under it.

I am taking pictures each time I chisel. The whole awful mess will be documented.

The Swank Pad Broadcast - If it's Swank...

[ This Message was edited by: swanky on 2005-06-02 07:07 ]

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Capt'n Skully
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 28, 2005
Posts: 418
From: The Lost Lagoon
Posted: 2005-06-02 08:07 am   Permalink

That's a nice little carving table- lots of possiblities- you could just add some rails and be all set! Can't wait to see your design/carving.

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Tiki Diablo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 1916
From: socal
Posted: 2005-06-02 09:18 am   Permalink

Tim, as Benz said, you HAVE to bring the work up to you, or your back wil never forgive you. The less you have to think about things while working the better your tiki flows out of you.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7918
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2005-06-02 10:19 am   Permalink

Surf City Chiropractic.
411 Main St.
H.B., Ca. 92648

Ask for Dr.Dan

Tell him Bamboo sent you.

Just got back.

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