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What is Gouge Chip Carving?


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My name is Sean Schwendinger from Springfield, Missouri. I am a sales engineer who was in need of a hobby other than my wife and two wonderful children. I meet Russ Hewitt at a flea market/antique store and he was demonstrated - Gouge Chip Carving. When I saw it, I thought his work was so beautiful and after the 15 second demonstration he did on the technique, I was hooked. I will try to explain as well as I can for you here. You might want to see my album to see my work that I have done in the last 4 months.


Gouge chip carving uses 5 tools, well 6 if you include your hands, which consist of 4 different size gouges (palm style) and a mallet. See picture for 4 gouge sizes. With these tools one has 2 cuts - the vertical cut (a cut produced with the gouge hit by the mallet to make the single lines) and chip which is used to give a vertical cut 'body" such as in pinwheels, the seed look on flowers, etc. (Now you see why it takes 15 seconds for a demo because once you know those 2 cuts, you are ready for GCC) There are 5 basic designs one learns and with those you can produce an unlimited variety of carvings. These designs are flower, vine, snowflake, pinwheel and diamond.


Janel asked me:

What sort of tools do you use? See above


Do you have photos of them? post-255-1153333165.jpg


Do you build the boxes? We are pretty lucky that Russ Hewitt sells the boxes at a nice cost since he buys it bulk for the "club" and we do our work and assemble the boxes. This carving method is good for accenting projects such as wood workers making furniture, etc. A few of my pieces are commercial items such as the cutting board... $2.96 cutting board at Wal-Mart or a picture frame we had at home (this is not posted yet because it is in an Expo).


How do you lay out your concept before carving? As an engineer, I started 4 months ago by sketching the design on paper then on wood... but as I got used to the techniques, the designs are a free flowing production. A "mistake" with this technique is merely a different design (lol). I do have scrap/practice boards full of practice designs that I hammer out first before putting on a piece.


I hope this covered anyone that might enjoy this carving method. We have people all over the nation using it and if I can learn it... ANYONE can :D Post or PM me with any questions, etc.



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