I bought my first carving chisels over 30 years ago and they remained unused until 2018, when I joined Bowood Carving Club. It took me this long to get started because I thought I would never be able to produce anything comparable to the projects often featured in the carving magazines, even though I have been a keen woodworker most of my life, making furniture, a canoe, a sailing dinghy and fitting out a narrowboat.
I admire old English carvings, particularly that of Grinling Gibbons, commonly found in many of this country’s historical buildings. Having decided that this is the type of work I would love to do, my early projects were chosen to gain experience of the techniques involved – carving leaves, flowers, fruit and so on. I bought a plank of lime, found some projects from books and magazines and away I went. Lime is an ideal wood to carve, being soft, and can be carved paper thin, ideal for foliage.
During the summer months I am away with my wife on our narrow boat and continue to carve using a small purpose-built table fitted to a bulkhead at the very front of the boat. This is ideal because of the wide angle of light and, as the front is not much used, I do not need to sweep up after each session, a real bonus.