Author Topic: Learning To Carve / Building Dulcimer With My Niece  (Read 1443 times)

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Offline dlu

  • Posts: 190
Learning To Carve / Building Dulcimer With My Niece
« on: February 16, 2019, 02:36 PM »
My niece is showing some interest in learning how to do woodworking and we're in the process of building an Appalachian dulcimer. She really likes dogs, so it seemed like it would be fun to carve the peghead into something that looks a bit like her dog. Something like this one by Tim Stuart at Nature Coast Dulcimer Works:

At least that's what I'm hoping to approximate…

But, first I need to learn to carve. If anybody has suggestions for how to get started, I'd sure appreciate some. Immediate questions that come to mind include:

  • Starting set of tools
  • Books to read and or videos to watch
  • Wood to practice on

Fortunately (or not) this is a slow moving, long distance, project, so I've got some time. I'm not hoping to become a great carver, but I would like to have something that looks decent and consistent with the form.

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Offline Rob-GB

  • Posts: 1101
Re: Learning To Carve / Building Dulcimer With My Niece
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2019, 12:34 PM »
Difficult subject to advise on as tools will depend on what you actually intend to carve.
However, a lot can be accomplished using standard chisels, a stout short bladed knife and a few files or rasps.
Add to these a few gouges and life gets easier.
Lime (Bass wood?) makes a great medium for starting out as it is easy to carve, close grained and leaves a nice tooled finish.
Always keep in mind where the tool or knife will go if it slips and keep fingers and hands away from that area.


Offline travisj

  • Posts: 364
Re: Learning To Carve / Building Dulcimer With My Niece
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2019, 12:15 AM »
I have a friend who is a carver.  He specializes in carving Santa Claus with a long flowing beard onto antique wooden handled tools (potato mashers, spoons, etc...).  I know he belongs to a few carving groups on Facebook.  That may be a place to look for advice.  Local woodworking guilds May also be a place to pose your question.  I know his version of carving he refers to as “chip carving” and I have only ever seen him use a knife of this basic style:

I remember from my Boy Scout days that all of our whittling projects were done with Basswood because of its softness.  If this was my project, I would rough out some blanks on a bandsaw to practice on.

A gentleman by the name of Gene Messer has a bunch of YouTube videos on carving.  Including what appears to be tutorials on several different dogs.  (Disclaimer: I did not watch any of his videos, just happened to be on YouTube and did a quick search when I saw your post).

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Offline dlu

  • Posts: 190
Re: Learning To Carve / Building Dulcimer With My Niece
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 03:13 PM »
Thank you both! Appreciate the advice.