Saturday, November 21, 2009

Carved Stone Holder

I was crushing pretty badly on the carved oilstone holder I photographed at the Brown International Tool Auction and Dealer Show (at right), so I decided to make one.

I'm using my other current crush—Swiss Pear—for the carved section of the lid, and bacote for the box itself.

First, I carved a practice piece with pine and found that the carving doesn't need to be very deep—in fact, too deep doesn't look good—to achieve a 3-dimensional appearance.

I also discovered that it's best to sneak up on the final outline of each tool, otherwise you might chip out a section by mistake.

I used gouges that matched the curves and chisels for the straight lines to define the shapes of the tools.

Once I removed the waste from the background—only 3/32" deep—I cleaned up the cuts around each tool to create their precise shape.

Some edges of the tools were dinged up in the process, but they were to be beveled in final form, so no big deal.

Only three little tools are finished and some rough areas in the background need to be smoothed, but I can see why someone would want to carve the lid on an oilstone holder: It's fun!


Rob of Evenfall Studios said...

You sure do some awesome carving work Kari, I still like looking at your Letter and Lamb's Tongue Tutorials as well!

Thanks for sharing this!



Dyami said...

Awesome! That is one fantastic carving. I'm usually impressed with your work, but this blows me away. The detail looks great.

Christopher said...


very nice work. I love the handle on the saw!

Larry Marshall said...

I've loved this carving ever since you first showed the stone carving. What you're doing is nothing short of spectacular. Looks like, for some of those tight areas, you could use some of the tiny Dockside chisels I have for working in miniature. They're not expensive (about $40 a set). Woodcraft sells them, I believe.

Cheers --- Larry

Doug Berch said...

Great work as usual! I think it is always nice when something functional is also beautiful. The two go together.


rgdaniel said...

You're really inspiring me to try my hand at carving... which is maybe not a good thing -- I'm easily distracted and have many other things I've only just barely started learning... B-)

Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

Looking very crisp Kari...
Carving is a lot more difficult than people may think,especially if you're carving a recognised form with obvious proportions but you seem to be not only becoming extremely proficient at it but also appear to be developing your own style too.
Very nice.

Tom said...

You make it look easy Kari, which I'm sure it;s NOT! Well done it looks fantastic.

Follansbee said...

extremely cool.

David said...

Wow! This is a sharp looking carving you are making there Kari! The saw tote look great, I meen perfect... Have you ever "tote" of making a full size saw tote?
Great work!
I love your post!

Kari Hultman said...

Thanks, Rob. :o)

Dyami, pearwood really holds an edge well. It's harder to carve and harder on your tools, but the results are worth it.

Thanks, Christopher. I'm not sure which saw I was looking at in my shop when I drew it, though, because it doesn't match an of mine. hmmmm

Larry, thanks for the tip on the chisels. I found Dockyard online at Woodcraft and other stores. I have two 1/16" chisels, but Dockyard offers dogleg and other shapes.

Doug--that's the whole idea that attracted me to woodworking. Function and beauty rolled into one.

Bob, you should try it! Carving is very therapeutic. I sat for 5 hours in my shop yesterday and the time sped by.

Black, my goal is to to carve in the round, but that's really difficult (imo).

Tom, it's not really that difficult. At least not the things I'm carving, since they're simple shapes. Seems to be pretty easy if you take it in steps.

Thanks, Peter!

David, you're "punny"! hee hee

Jonathan said...

That is artistry.

I like the osage plane, btw.

Jake-SawDustby said...

Ditto to all the above. Just feel smothered in the arms of affectionate affirmations.

Unknown said...

That is going to be one beautiful box!! Very nice job so far. Can't wait to see the finished product.

The Great Ethan Allen said...

I told you it was just a matter of time before the carving bug bit ya. You seem to be carving details in more and more stuff. I can't wait till you carve some details into your next furniture project. ( ball and claw, acanthus leaves etc.) I'll be waiting eagerly!

John Cashman said...


Woodbloke said...

Kari - nice job on the carving. Steamed Swiss pear is definitely on my 'tuit' list next time I go trawling through the wood piles at my local yard. I saw some there a while back and was sorely tempted but went for some English Cherry instead....big,BIG mistake - Rob

Unknown said...

With every post I'm becoming more and more of a fan ! Seriously, this is beautiful work ~ from the execution, to the presentation...cheers!
The original is indeed an inspiration, but I think you could have taught them a few things...;)
keep well.

Bob Rozaieski said...

Fantastic Kari! And thanks for adding yet another project to the round tuit list ;).

Kari Hultman said...

Thanks guys!

I can see where a relief carving of tools would look neat on a tool box lid or tool cabinet doors. It might even be somewhat easier to work a little larger.

Shannon said...

Wow, humbled and awestruck. I was proud of the tiny bit of relief carving it did on a project recently but it was all "impressionistic" This is awesome! I'm going to start hanging out in your front yard to soak up some of your awesomeness. That's right Webster says that it's now a word!

Gary said...

Lovely work as usual. We're beginning to expect nothing less from the VC!

Only problem is, every time I see this post title (Carved Stone Box) I think you're carving a box from stone.


Kari Hultman said...

Shannon--you can do this!! :o)

Gary, I guess that is a bit confusing. I wonder if a bunch of people googling "carving in stone" will find this post by mistake. oops!

Anonymous said...

Woulld love to see the finished stone holder box. Keep up the beautiful work.
Kieran Kammerer

Eric said...

No doubt about it Kari, you've got "the touch".........

Michael D. said...

It looks like the only difference between yours and the original is that yours is nicer!

Well done!

Morton said...

Kari - that is super cool. I'm about to order some oilstones and was just thinking of making a nice box myself. This is a great idea for the top! Adding it to my long list of awesome things to do.....