What made you decide to add power carving to your repertoire?
Curves, who doesn’t love some curves? Seriously though, the human eye is naturally attracted to objects with pleasant curves to their shape. Plus, it has always struck me as curious, why we take this natural organic shape of a tree, mill it down into straight boards, and then make cabinet/tables/etc. almost entirely with straight lines. And even more, what’s funnier than taking a naturally organic shape, manufacturing it into a straight/square piece, and then turning that back into a natural organic shape again? I’ll answer my own rhetorical question, nothing, nothing is funnier than that, so that absurdity of that is naturally going to attract my attention.
I feel like I didn’t really answer the question, but I guess at the core of it, the only place that we often see curves in woodworking is with ogee type profiles, wood turning, etc., but those still have a certain consistency to them, and I had a desire to explore more fluid shapes. Also, as with most of my newly acquired skills, I had a project idea where I needed to learn a skill to complete it, and that was my “Manly” Christmas Story Leg Lamp project that was my first ever power carving project where I wanted to carve the shape of my own leg.
What is your favorite power carving tool and why?
No question, that’s definitely the TURBOPlane. It’s the only way I’ve found to be able to shave down my massive #jackmansized toe nails. For real though, it’s the power carving tool that I always go to first just because it works so quickly and smoothly and is just one of those tools that’s a blast to use. It’s a tool that solves problems for me because it does a job that no other tool can do.
What impact has power carving had on your art/passion/livelihood?
Well, first off, it’s made me at least 200% more attractive. Other than that, it has honestly opened up an entirely new lane of woodworking that you just simply can’t do without the power carving tools. Whether it’s a project that is dictated by the power carving, or just a project that you add a little bit of extra curve too, it allows your brain to make new connections that just don’t happen when you’re ripping boards on the table saw, or cutting box joints.
What advice would you give to people who are thinking of getting into power carving?
Start power carving yesterday. Seriously, the sooner you start adding freehand curves to your work, the sooner you’ll develop applications for the technique. Start with a log you don’t care about, try a scrap piece of lumber, then you’ll be addicted and Arbortech will own your soul. And I can think of many worse things than that.