Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Ornament Swap

I recently participated in an ornament swap with 18 other woodcarvers from across the USA. We each carved 18 ornaments and sent them to the other carvers.

I decided to do the Dalicarlian horse because in Norwegian history, it started as a toy being carved by woodsmen whiling away the long Winter nights, and by soldiers in exchange for housing and hot soup. Now it is known worldwide as a traditional symbol of Norway. I just liked the story and the culture of carving that comes from Norway. And the Dala horse just happened to pop up when doing research for ideas for ornaments!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Flexcut Pocket Jack

I received the Flexcut Pocket Jack yesterday.

I tried it out for a little bit last night. Sharp as can be right out of the package. It carved nice and clean on basswood

The tools do hang up on each other when folding a tool out from the handle, but it wasn't a big deal to close the one I didn't want. They're not tight--just snug. They lock sufficiently in place. And the locks work easily.

I like the selection of tools. Having never used a scorp before, I'm getting used to using them. At the very least, I know I will be using the gouge and knife.

Although the knife blade is sharp, I'm debating whether to sharpen it from edge to back of the blade. Currently, there is a bevel ending about a third of the way from the edge. I prefer to lay the blade flat on the stone, and lifting it a slight bit (a dime's thickness) when sharpening my knife blade. The length of the blade--1 5/8"--is a little longer than the 1 1/2" blade I'm used to using. It shouldn't be a problem. The blade profile is sufficient for general carving and a reasonable amount of normal detail.

The handle is a little bit uncomfortable. I think the handle edges need to be rounded over a bit more. My solution is to do what I've recently started doing regardless of what tools I am using. I wear a Kevlar glove with the grip dots on both hands. It helps to grip the tool, lessens fatigue on my hand, and prevents inadvertent injuries to my index finger. I tend to ride up on the tool's working end for better control when doing fine detail.

All in all--I like the Pocket Jack. And based on my usage so far, I'd recommend trying it out.

BTW--I have a solution for a sheath. I use the nylon sheath that came with the Kobalt 2 blade folding utility knife. It's roomy enough to hold the Pocket Jack and a piece of leather belt that I have charged with honing compound for periodic maintenance on the tools' edges.

Here's a link to the Kobalt sheath and knife I'm talking about: cmRelshp=sim&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1