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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving Beginner carver on a budget
Beginner carver on a budget
pia tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 10, 2008
Posts: 22
Posted: 2008-06-12 12:04 am   Permalink

If you can't guess, I'm new here. I've been interested in tiki carving and a friend in the Fedora Lounge pointed me here. Anywho, I was looking around recommendations on tools and woods. As I am just starting out, I'm carving round,pine fenceposts about 2 inches in diameter. I picked up a set of cheap chisels and started to hammer away. My results aren't very good. Unfortunately a good portion of my paycheck is going to my college tuition, so, a set of flexcuts are somewhat out of the question. So, I was wondering if anyone had recommendations of tools and woods to use for someone on a tight budget of about $20-$30 a week. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
-Mahalo nui loa,
pia tiki

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 11, 2004
Posts: 324
From: San Jose
Posted: 2008-06-12 06:05 am   Permalink

You can totally carve with cheap chisels, the trick is to learn how to sharpen them.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 23, 2005
Posts: 1694
From: Attica, MI
Posted: 2008-06-12 06:34 am   Permalink

Yes you can can carve on your budget.

You can find wood all over the place for free, keep your eyes out. Logs are everywhere, old shipping pallets have some nice wood in them sometimes, dimensional lumber scraps can be found at building sites. If you carve small, you can get exotic wood pen blanks for a couple bucks.

I carved with a utility knife and X-Acto for a while and you can get a set of inexpensive flat chisels for about 10 bucks. Don't buy any really, really cheap carving sets with gouges- you'll just get frustrated and be wasting your money.

That said $20-30 dollars a week is a decent budget and you can buy one quality gouge or chisel a week with it and within a couple months you can have a decent basic set accumulated.
- JP

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10397
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2008-06-12 07:01 am   Permalink

Pia, Ditto what Johnny said, Just what I was going to post.
Also you can find Many tool tips by browsing on this forum. Some of the earlier pages won't display poster photos because of an old Shutterfly update, but just keep looking forward on the newer pages .
is a link to "The Tools Carvers Use" thread which spans a few years and has tool tips from Many TC carvers. Enjoy.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 01, 2006
Posts: 532
From: San Diego
Posted: 2008-06-12 8:49 pm   Permalink

I'm sure Benzart mentions it on the Tools Carver's use thread, but I really love the hook knife he showed me how to use. You can get the handle and some blades for about $20 from Warren Cutlery. http://www.warrencutlery.com/
I've been using the 10B blade that they have. It's really good for smaller stuff, or for detail on bigger stuff.
If you're doing smaller stuff, it's easy to get small scraps of wood at nicer lumber places, a few near me sell the small stuff by the pound or for just a dollar or two per piece. You can also get wood from tree trimming places once you find some local trees that are good to carve.


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pia tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 10, 2008
Posts: 22
Posted: 2008-06-12 11:38 pm   Permalink

Aloha and mahalo all!

I have picked up a set of flat chisels from Menards. Their generic brand of tools and powertools are actually quite inexpensive. I never noticed before untill a sales associate pointed them out to me. I don't mean to advertise, but as an example, they have angle grinders of 4" and 7" for about $30. So, maybe some of this is more in my grasp than I thought. As far as wood goes, I bought a fence post as I mentined before, and as I carved, there was a lot of chipping and splitting. I sharpened my chisels (all of them) to the point where I probably could have shaved with them. I'll try it next time. Anyways, I realised that it was the post I was carving that was all crappy. So, if any of you have watched the news, the midwest has had (and is still having as I type) severe storms which I'm sure will bring plenty of carving wood my way.

Edit: Also, I figured out I was hitting the chisel too hard. I had the idea of cranking away at a chunk of wood. I forgot this is still a fine art.

[ This Message was edited by: pia tiki 2008-06-12 23:44 ]

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blindy the pirate
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 21, 2008
Posts: 160
From: Tallahassee FL
Posted: 2008-06-13 12:54 pm   Permalink

The trial and error when starting out carving can be a little frustrating, but it really fun too.
You'll learn something everytime you put metal to wood.

I don't know about you, but I try to keep my chisels away from Menards.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 19, 2006
Posts: 374
Posted: 2008-06-14 12:03 am   Permalink

I will be listing my first two sets of carving tools, in ebay, I used when I started into this crazy business. 12 wooden handled, no-name multi style chisles and 6 Buck Brother chisels under the same action. As long as you have a sharpening stone and a strope you can carve anything with them. If you interested let me know and I'll point you in the right direction. Happy Carving.


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pia tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 10, 2008
Posts: 22
Posted: 2008-06-14 11:29 pm   Permalink

So, I was going to post pictures, but there's a huge problem of a chisel went through my camera. I'll post pictures soon.
Cheers! :drink:

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