Whenever I teach a carving class I begin with a discussion of safety (along with a few bandaids), tools and grain direction. I then hand each student a stick (about 1 1/2″ square and 5″ long) to demonstrate how to produce a consistently round stick. I was once a fanatic about wooden boatbuilding (I still am, but no longer have access to local New England wood and open water). Every good boatbuilding book has a chapter on rounding spars. First parallel lines are drawn marking material to be removed usinf a spar guage. Then the corners are removed from square stock to produce an octagonal cylinder. Nexrt the corners are knocked off to form a 16 sided cylinder. From there sandpaper or whittling can produce an accurate cylinder. I’ve used the same technique on canoe paddles, ukulele, guitar necks and little birds. It never fails to produce fair tapers and curves.
To demonstrate this as well as I would liek would require an extra hand to hold the camera. In this piece I am limited to explaining steps with little demonstation.
I do little measuring to 8 side a cylinder. I’ve a good eye and a steady hand. A good tick (Which is much better demonstrated) in to lock your hand position and run the edge of your hand along th eedge of the piece. In this manner it is very simple to draw line s parallel to the edge of a piece. I’ll try to get hold of a video camera and demonstrate this technique.
My birds are rounded using this technique. Round bodies are blended into round heads and semi-round tails. The next step of the Great Speckled Bird involve rounding in this manner.
1 & 2 Square Cylinder
3 Corners marked for removal. This is eyeballed and the lines are drawn parallel to the sides by running a locked hand along each corner.
4 Hash marks show corners to be removed.
5 The end showing the octagon shape that is to remain.
6 & 7 Corners removed. This is a piece of basswood and I used a Cape Forge bird knife. The piece is now 8 sided.
8 The corners are whittled round…first 16 sided and the close to round. Sanding will leave this end nearly perfectly round.
The carving for this demonstration took less than 10 minutes.