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JOEL Joel's Blog

Chris Pye's Woodcarving TV and Choward's Comes to TFWW


Chris Pye's Woodcarving TV and Choward's Comes to TFWW 4I haven't written much on my carving progress lately because I don't do much carving during the holiday season (I'm in retail). But I'm getting back into it and right now I am practicing a very simple carving pattern for a late Victorian style desk that I am building. This project is why I decided to learn how to carve in the first place. I picked a really simple pattern because it will be the first time I will be carving something that isn't basswood (poplar)and I need to cut lots of large clean lines across the wood. This will be the first time I will be using a mallet. What kind of mallet? what technique? and how much practice will I need to do before I tackle the real thing.

I subscribe to Chris Pye's Woodcarving TV and he's got a couple of videos on mallet selection. I also have the benefit of knowing what carvers purchase - number one being the Wood is Good 18 ounce mallet. The twelve ounce mallet has always seemed a little light to me. The trick with carving seems that you want a fairly short stroke so you don't lose control and the stroke is repeatable. My guess is that with experience you can use a longer stroke and a heavier mallet but I'm not there yet. This is a lot different than joinery. In joinery you usually are whacking at one place at a time until the tool goes too deep and then you lever out the waste. In carving you are constantly malleting and moving the carving tool forward. You need a lot of control. So I watched Chris's videos on mallet selection. Who knew that the proper name for cylindrical metal mallets is "dummie mallet"? So between Chris's videos, and testing out the feel of a few mallets, I've settled on a dummie mallet and now I'm practicing up.
It's an interesting thing about "Woodcarving TV". On YouTube and other places on the Internet, there are 50 million carving videos on all sorts of topics. The reason I just go with Chris's Woodcarving TV is twofold: I like his style - that's important - whoever you decided to learn from you have to like their approach. But more important I like the consistency. The problem I have with random videos, and some of them are very very good, is that I want a series of videos that are consistent, don't overlap, and don't contradict each other. And of course that's exactly what you get when you subscribe to a series by a single person. So I'm happy. I still look at YouTube for interesting carving videos, but I consider them extra-curricular, and frosting, rather than a course. Also Pye's program is divided into a series of fairly short videos, which I think I prefer to a single long video. I feel more comfortable picking and choosing. The only drawback is that it does cost money, but in the cosmic range of things, I'm getting coherency, and hours and hours of instruction. I also have had occasion to email Chris and get useful advise (like on how to carve a mitered corner between two gouge lines).

Ok - enough on my carving - now onto something important. Choward's candies are a local favorite and what lots of people here pick up when they start jonesing for some candy. When we opened our pop-up store in Manhattan (now closed) we put on sale a box of Choward's candies, for a bit of the Brooklyn flavor in Manhattan. We ate a lot of it ourselves, the rest sold, so we started selling in the showroom. People really like it. It's only a buck, so I don't think we will become the next candy billionaires, but it's popular in the showroom - I'm the best customer (lemon) - so it seemed logical to put it on line. For more info on the flavors and stuff. (Update: we no long stock candy :().

Note: May 1 is when the new Festool tools become available. We expect to have everything on-line and ready for pre-order next week!!!
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