Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lettercarving Video

Watch in high definition here.

I wrote a post on this a while ago but thought it might make more sense to some in video format. Plus this video shows how to carve the serifs on letters. (To be honest, I had nothing better to do today than play with my camcorder.)

The video has been sped up so you won't fall asleep, since I am the world's slowest letter carver. The music is "Closer to You" by Brandi Carlile.

Now that I know how to speed things up in iMovie, I'm tempted to create a "2-Minute Dovetail" video....

19 comments:

mdhills said...

Interesting video; I've always been intimidated by this type of carving after a frustrating experience getting my woodcarving merit badge in boy scouts. Is the large chisel better? It seemed like the extra width got in the way, like when you were working on the serifs.
(and I'm surprised you hadn't discovered the faerie dust effect in iMovie)

Erik said...

Great Post Kari,

My only complaint is the fade edits. I wish I could have seen it all.

There's a confidence there that makes this looks easy. So, folks, don't be frustrated if your first lettercarving cuts don't go this smoothly.

The Village Carpenter said...

mdhills, you want to use a chisel that's wider than the width of each wall of the straight cuts, so the corner of the chisel is above the surface of the board. That way, it won't accidentally cut into the wall. Rule of thumb is to use the largest chisel you feel comfortable with. If it looked awkward, it's only because I don't carve very often. (note to self: locate faerie dust effect in iMovie)

Erik thanks for the constructive criticism. I think I might have cut a little too much out in trying to keep the video short. I'll keep more in next time.

And you're right about not getting frustrated the first time. It takes a little getting used to maintaining the compound angle while you follow your pencil line. I certainly didn't get it right the first or second or third time I tried!

Jared said...

As a newbie to woodworking I honestly think videos like this have helped me more than my library card. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a video is worth at least twice that. As I'm trying to teach myself the dovetail joint, I'd love to see a comparable video of yours. Just make sure you include your layout technique. Nice work!

woodchippy said...

Very nice video, what type of wood are you using there if i might ask?.
Have you seen the videos V type letter carving in stone, they too are very good.

The Great Ethan Allen said...

Kari, Pretty soon you will be carving entire scenes in your door panels. Do you think you have been bitten by the intoxicating carving bug? Word of caution, some woodworkers abandon their carpentry skills to develope their woodcarving skills. Dovetails? Oh yeah! those...I used to do that a long time ago.. but now I'm a full time carver." Another victim of the woodcarving virus.

Great video BTW!

The Village Carpenter said...

Jared, I'd be happy to do a dovetail video, but there are lots of really good ones out there: Frank Klausz and Rob Cosman come to mind. I think they might even be on YouTube.

Woodchippy, I think that's sugar pine. Basswood is softer and does not hold an edge as well (IMO). I haven't seen any stone carving videos--thanks for the suggestion. :o)

TGEA, carving is great fun and I'd really like to get better at it, but I think I will always see it as a way to embellish furniture. But, I've been known to change my mind!

Bob Easton said...

Beautiful!

And a lot more beautiful than some ole dude with oil AND blood stained finger tips and nails. :)

Really interesting how similar it is to chip carving.

THANKS!

naomi said...

Yay! Thanks for putting up a video--can't wait for the dovetail one! I was just appealing to Nancy to harass you to post another video...i will append my email to read 'dovetail video'! ;-)

Anonymous said...

This is great, thanks! I'm recovering from some surgery and things and your video has just planted a giant smile on face. It's the best type of medicine, sharing, skills, humor... thanks!

The Village Carpenter said...

Bob, you're right about chip carving taking a similar approach. I've seen really nice letters carved with just a knife.

Naomi, I'll work on a dovetail video this week. Thanks for the encouragement!

Anon, I'm glad you liked it! Best wishes for a speedy recovery. :o)

Bob Rozaieski said...

Very nicely done Kari! I've done some furniture carving but no letter carving yet. It's on the list as I want to make a sign for the shop...in my free time.

As for the big chisel, I agree. I like to use the biggest gouge I can comfortably use when carving for furniture as well. A larger gouge with the appropriate sweep will transfer it's shape better than a smaller one. This makes it easier to get a consistent shape than it would be with a narrower tool because the tool rides off of it's own cut. This is very obvious in your video when you cut the long "V" for the main body of the letter. The larger tool rides and references in it's own cut better, resulting is a straighter cut with less fighting of the tool.

Mitchell said...

There's those steady hands again.

Great stuff......

Vic Hubbard said...

You make it look so easy that maybe I could even do it!! Maybe:)

The Village Carpenter said...

Bob, well said on the chisel explanation!

Mitchell, you can keep a steady line if your hand is in contact with the board as you slide the chisel forward.

Vic, you can do this!!

Eric Rusch said...

Kari, you've got some awesome skills!
And, the music was nice too.
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kari, great work! One of these days I'm going to try carving. My problem is, I tend to like many of those funky arts & crafts fonts and curves are a whole nother ballgame! :)

Dean

Woodbloke said...

Kari - pal of mine had just bought a chain saw..."not a lot of good for cutting dovetails" was my observation - Rob

The Village Carpenter said...

Thanks, Eric. :o)

Dean, you can use this technique for carving funky letters, too, once you know how to carve a curve. I'll do another video to show how to handle angles, like a letter "A", and circles, like the dreaded "O".

Rob, I suppose he could carve REALLY big letters with his chainsaw. ; )