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Transfering curves or profiles

Doug Sanders

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I was wondering if anyone could tell me how to transfer a curve or irregular surface plane from one carved item onto another. By this I mean more than just having a template with a given curve and tracing/outlining it on to two blocks of wood.

Is there a way to transfer a surface from one piece as the negative form onto another as the positive form. Like a male and female die.


In the past I've done this by covering the male portion surface with powdered graphite and bringing it into contact with the uncarved female portion to offset some pigment. Where offset occurs, one carves inward. This process is repeated ad infinitum until the two pieces match.

I got this idea from watching some science program on tv about how the ancient Inca got their stone walls to fit together so well.


There must be a faster/more accurate method.


As a point of reference, have a look at Janel's latest Dragonfly piece (I know she's away in Chicago and can't refuse this citation B):P ). Imagine the dragonfly is separate from the grass upon which it sits. What is the process -other than trial and error- to get these two items in flush contact with each other.


I might be treading on someone's technical secrets here <_< . If so, just tell me to figure it out myself ;)



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I haven't found any better method than the one you describe, Doug. I suppose if you were inclined, and needed the extra precision, you could make a mold of one side or the other and set up a pantograph arrangement of some sort.


I'll stick to the bit by bit method, at least for now.

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The graphite method is one that I use too! I also take the proverbial white Tack and Stick to show me what the negative or opposite molding should look like, but that is taxing on the brain at times. It does offer a different insight than the graphite method.


For instance, eye sockets have a shape that the eye inlay must fit into, and one could reflect what the shape of the other should look like.


If one used the rotary tool to make inlay pieces in a cylindrical shape, the inlay pocket would then be cylindrical. A much easier way to do it, but one that I rarely use, choosing almost always the more difficult and asymmetrical path. (shrugging shoulders with palms upraised with a grin smilie)


Are you working on something specific that generates this question?



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