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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving Tiki Carving 101
Tiki Carving 101
Bamboo Boyd
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 25, 2006
Posts: 37
From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted: 2006-06-10 09:05 am   Permalink

Hi Everyone!

I'm a newbie when it comes to carving but would love to get started. I've got a few questions that I haven't been able to find answers to by searching the archives. Or if they have been answered, I didn't find them. So please bear with me if some of these questions have been answered elsewhere. Also, maybe this would be a good place for neophyte carvers like myself to post general questions and have the masters answer them for us. Anyway, here are a few of my questions.

1. Being a newbie to the carving world, can you give me the name or names of some good chisels to get started with that won't break the bank and where you've found really good deals on them, either online or at retail stores.

2. Speaking of retail stores, can you find anything of quality at Home Depot or Lowe's? What about Sears? If you have a retail store you shop at, what is the name of it?

3. As for dremel bits/burrs, I see from the archives that you guys really like the tungsten carbide burrs. Where is a good place to find them and about what do they cost?

4. Last question for now. Where would one find a good hook knife and what kind should I get?

Just for your information, in case it helps, I plan on starting on doing smaller, palm-sized, tiki's to start with and then moving on to 3'-4' tall tikis later for the garden. Wood types would be whatever I can find to tinker on to start with. I'm a landscape architect so I've got some good connections with landscapers. Probably Pine, Queen, and Mexican Fan Palm are going to be my staples. Mahalo in advance for all of your help!

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Bamboo Boyd
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 25, 2006
Posts: 37
From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted: 2006-06-10 09:34 am   Permalink

One more question. I've read some of your posts that say you trace out your carvings on your tiki before you start. How is this done? Do you just draw on the long you are going to carve or do you draw it on paper and then transfer it to the log? If this is the case, how is that done? Are there any basic carving references to help one get started?

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Bay Park Buzzy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2006
Posts: 3044
From: West Bay Park, San Diego, CA
Posted: 2006-06-10 10:18 am   Permalink

Bamboo Boyd,
Hope this helps:
Home Depot has a good set of flat chisels made by Buck Brothers. I think that there are 3-4 in the pack and it runs about $30. I like the angle of the blade on these(about 25 degrees). My friend had a set from sears and the angle of the blade was about 45 degrees. Way too blunt. They kind of plow through the wood rather than cut it. Keep this in mind when you look at ones that you might buy. Somewhere here, Basement Kahuna shows how he flattens old chisels with a grinder and gets the angle down to about 10-15 degrees. I think that was on the Tools carvers use thread or his own. Send him a question directly if you cannot find it, he's cool about being helpful. Other items I bought from home depot include a double sided pull saw($20.99), various hand planers, and reams of sandpaper. I bought all of my electric sanders there too.(Belt sander, finishing sander, mouse sander, and electric planer)If you see a six piece Buck Bros "Carvers kit", around $30, do not get that. They suck. Save your money for real gouges.
Real gouges: get these as soon as you can, even if you cannot afford them. Cybercarving.com has good prices on some Flexcut kits which run about $99-150. I bought the six piece starter set and the four piece Sculptor's set. I added a couple more individual Stubai gouges and love every tool since the moment I first used each one. You should get these type of quality tools if you are even slighly serious about doing this.
I would suggest Fan palm over queen. Queen's tend to grow taller and faster, which makes for a water filled trunk that has a bad tendency to split, crack, and warp extensively. Try to get a piece near the trunk. The higher part of Fan palms are less dense and more prone to cracking.
For drawing, do what works best for you. Some people loosely sketch out the general shape and then clean it up as they carve. A couple of times, I took a picture of the log, printed it, and then drew out the tiki on picture. then I just scaled it larger on the log. I've heard of people using overhead projectors too. I would try starting out with a vertical center line and try to make both sides symetrical in relation to that line. I've tried the paper stencil thing and it didn't seem to help too much. The 2d to 3D transfer didn't work out too well and I ended up having to fix it on the log later anyway. I usually rough it out in chalk to get an idea of the layout and go back and fine tune it in pencil based on how it looks.
The best thing to do to get good help around here is to POST PICTURES! People with pictures get way more specific and frequent advice and comments than people who say, "Hey I just started carving and I'll post pictures someday soon! But for now, How do I get better?" Those threads kind of fade away quickly without much comment. People who post pictures are more popular, and get a lot of help.
Anyway, there will be several more people filling in the blanks that I left, so good luck and keep us posted...


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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2006-06-10 11:18 am   Permalink

Hi, Boyd...most of these questions can be answered just by running a search on them here (all the territory looks like familiar stuff that we have covered). Just use the search query up top.

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