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Matt O

How do you hold your work while roughing?

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I'm wondering how people secure their work during the roughing stage (starting from raw block)? I don't have access to power tools (other than a Dremel), so I'll be using hand saws. Is a bench vise the best way to go? On Janel's website, I see pictures of her using a bench vise while using a coping saw. Are there other options I should consider?

I poked around the archives using the search feature, but the threads about holding work all seemed to be with regard to later detail stages. I'm wondering specifically about initial roughing.

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Hi Matt

I am 73 and am careful about my back, so I want work at the right height.    I use a square garden fence post that goes into the vice on the bench.    In uk and i am sure else where, there are metal post holders see http://www.diy.com/departments/blooma-galvanised-steel-post-plate-support-l45mm-w45mm/1628530_BQ.prd?FPG_LHN_FPS_TL

I use this to the top of the fence post, and attaché the work to it directly through the holes provided if the work is big enough.     If the work is smaller, I use a piece of scrap wood screwed into the base of the work and then bolt the scrap wood to the metal post holder.    As the fence post is square, you can turn the post round in the vice easily, and approach the work from a different angle.

See my work on www.jawoodsculptor.co.uk

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Hi John,

Thanks for the info! That post holder is pretty clever. So your setup ends up looking something like this - - http://woodarchivist.com/569-carving-vise-plans/? Do you use an end vise like in that picture or a bench vise mounted to the top of your work surface? Do you think it would make a difference?

With that kind of setup, I'm wondering how to deal with small works that don't have a defined base area big enough to accomodate a screw, like a typical netsuke piece that's meant to be held and seen from all angles?

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I use poster-tacky stuff, the white kind, pressed onto the carving peg on my bench.  Other times, I use a leather, sand-filled bag.  Both methods require holding on to the piece while carving.  The carving peg alone, or the tacky stuff or the sand bag each backs up the piece so that one can push the tools without doing complete isometric exercises. 

Hope these help:

Old photo of poster tacky stuff in use:

horiz_jj_carving.jpg

 

Against a sand bag:

Janel Jacobson - Wood Carving

 

Bench support:

Janel Jacobson at the bench

 

Janel

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Janel,

Thanks for the info! That looks great for detail work but does that provide enough support when sawing? It seems like the piece might not be stable enough. On your website there are a couple of pictures of you sawing with the piece in a bench vise. Do you still use that in the early stages of roughing?

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Hi Matt,

Yes, a bench vise is useful when first sawing.  I also was eventually convinced to purchase a band saw.  It scares me, which is a good thing, but it also saves time and muscle fatigue when trying to cut a 4" diameter boxwood hunk into netsuke sized pieces.  Rough on the blade, but it has been helpful.  ALWAYS remember to keep your fingers away from the blade space.  I have a zone that is about four inches on either side of the blade that has broad diagonal lines (marker needs re-doing at times) to remind me of the zone.  I have a notched 1x2 length of wood that is used for pushing the wood, and I also have wood clamps when a piece needs to be grasped instead of just pushed through the cut.  It takes planning but I still have all of my fingers intact.

Janel

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