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Your First Carving Pattern - Introduction

Your First Carving Pattern
By L.S. Irish
(Keep It Super Simple)

Step by Step photographic instructions for your
first low relief carving pattern.

But what do I carve first?

This might be one of the hardest questions to answer in our hobby. There are so many wonderful carving themes that the patterns available to you are unlimited. Also there is a wide variety of carving styles and techniques, any of which could fill up a life time for any hobbyist.

We have selected a traditional folk art flower as our suggestion for your first pattern. This delightful little design has appeared throughout carvings history on furniture accents, box lids, and even in door lintel carvings. Except for the simple beaded line design pattern, this classic floral is probably the most repeated design of our craft, appearing in almost every nation and style era.

It requires the four most basic carving tools, the bench knife, the skew, the gouge, and the v-gouge. You will also need some typewriting carbon paper for tracing and some fine grade sandpaper. Working with this design will allow you to practice with each of these tools as well as experience the basic procedures used in any carving technique.

Basswood, butternut, or sugar pine are appropriate woods for this project, you will need an 8" square blank for the pattern. We have used butternut for our sample.

The next three pages will take you step by step through the carving of this simple flower with photos of each step and link backs to our Introductory Primer on Carving for further detailed instructions.

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