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Custom Tool

- by Keith Brown

Here's a tool idea that might help others. It's pretty simple but never crossed my mind until I stumbled on it by accident. Here is a short explanation on the idea and a couple picture.

Sometimes trying new techniques requires somehow obtaining new tools to accomplish those techniques. Since free hand carving of small figures has become my new course in creative whimsey building, I have been required to improvise my carving tool selection. When I get to the fine carving stage of a smaller piece, normal tools are just too large. I have begun to use a modified X-Acto blade ground to a very fine point and honed to a thickness of @ .010 of an inch. There are times when I really need a fine gouge shaped carving tool and I have come up with a solution that works for me, by accident but that makes it all the better. I was using a drawing ink 'nib' and tried to hone a finer tip on it when it broke. To my surprise, the nib had a great round gouge shape and is made of a higher carbon steel perfect for my needs. With a small amount of honing and sharpening I had a new tool.

In the picture is a standard X-Acto blade, a 'small' (not by MY standards) Millers Falls Co. 'U' gouge, an intact ink nib and my custom X-tiny homemade gouge. The thickness difference between the Millers gouge and my custom gouge is quite obvious. When working with very small pieces in great detail, the standard tools are usually way too large to work properly; sometimes custom made tools are the only way to get the desired results.

The little 'moonshiner' in the picture is used for one of my bottles.

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