Portland wood carving

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Terms Related to Wood Carving
Wood carving, or woodworking, can be done for a variety of purposes, ranging from entirely practical to purely ornate. The following are a few common terms related to wood carving.

Architrave: Architraves are moldings that occur around window and door frames. While they are ornamental pieces, they also cover up the visible joint where the frame and plaster meet.

Chipboard: Chipboards are boards that are composed of wood bits that are compressed and glued together. Due to this composition, chipboards are typically used for building purposes rather than decorative reasons.

Dado: A dado is a panel that covers the lower part of a wall. Dados are placed on interior walls as a protective covering or simply for decoration. They can also be referred to as wainscots.

Fiberboard: Fiberboard is a very lightweight material. It is used predominantly in ceilings and insulation because it lacks strength.

Figure: Figures are the natural patterns found in the grain of wood. Wood with an attractive figure could be easily used for decoration without needing to be etched or engraved.

Finial: Finials are artistic objects, often spikes or balls, that are attached to items for purely aesthetic reasons. They are commonly found on staircase posts, curtain rods, and bedposts.

Rail: A rail is a horizontal part of a door or window frame, though it can also be part of paneling.

Stile: A stile, or style, is a vertical part of a door or window frame, though it can also be part of paneling.

Veneer: In woodworking, a veneer is a thinly cut piece of wood. Veneers can be used to cover a surface and to add an attractive finish.
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Wood carving is an art form that was practiced as long ago as the middle ages and is still popular today. Wood carving professionals create a multitude of items that we use on a daily basis, including furniture, shelving and so much more. Here are some questions to ask before purchasing supplies.

  • What sort of pattern do you recommend for someone with my skill level?
    Most people use a pattern to guide them, and if you are new to the art you will probably want to start simple and then work up to a more complicated project when you get comfortable. A supply store employee should be able to recommend appropriate projects.

  • What type of wood should I use?
    Some woods are harder than others to work with, and basswood is often recommended for beginners because it is soft and easy to carve. Once you gain more experience you can work up to something harder. Also before you start to carve remember to work with the grain. For example if you are making a relief the grain should run vertically.

  • What type of tool or knife should I purchase?
    If you are just beginning, you can start with just a pocket knife to whittle and get the feel of it. Beyond that the tool required will depend on what sort of carving you would like to do. For example if you want to focus on making a relief, you will need at least a straight chisel. If you want to carve figures that are completed all the way around and have a more lifelike surface, you may need several different types of chisel. A knowledgeable employee should be able to help you select the appropriate supplies for your project.