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Carving w/Axe: need chopping block; can I make one?

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Forum topic by polaski posted 05-26-2018 02:05 PM 273 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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polaski

15 posts in 1240 days


05-26-2018 02:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chopping ax carving block question

I’d like to do some carvings that start with small carving ax work. Every chopping block I see online was cut from a tree trunk or heavy branch. I just don’t have access to tree trunks and no room for them in the shop, either.

I do have some long planks of 2”x 6” wood, very old. They are a storage problem. I can cut them up, fasten them together securely (I know a couple ways to do that), and then place the result on a sturdy surface. I have a couple of good (old) hatchets, and two newer hand axes that can be good carvers.

Would a fabricated block like that work for small ax carving? Should I make it with the segments placed on end to have the grain ends on top (like a tree trunk)? I think that if I orient it that way, I can place some larger lengths to serve as stops to hold the work.

It may sound as if I have the solution, but I’m a bit insecure about this. I’d appreciate a couple comments and it would be great if someone has actually done this.

-- Jeff Polaski


6 replies so far

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John Smith

996 posts in 187 days


#1 posted 05-26-2018 04:33 PM

Jeff – you are posting things from delicate expensive carving knives, stropping and honing
fine cutting tools then jumping over to chopping things up with an axe.
it sounds as though you are Roy Underhill in disguise. (and that is meant to be a compliment).
can you post some photos of your projects so we can get an idea of your area of expertise ?

.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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BlasterStumps

710 posts in 463 days


#2 posted 05-26-2018 05:43 PM

“Would a fabricated block like that work for small ax carving?”

I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t work just fine. When you are using an axe on a carving, I doubt that you will be flailing away at it. Just need something to stop the chop should it go a bit too far.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

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polaski

15 posts in 1240 days


#3 posted 05-27-2018 11:14 AM

BlasterStumps, Thank you for the slap on the back to get me going.

John, I don’t claim much expertise; I always learn from others. My carving has been small up to now, and I ask about ax work because I bought a small hand carving ax before setting up a workplace for it. Not many photos. I do know my way around knives, axes and wood. I started with the Boy Scouts, 60 years ago.

Besides, my posts on small and large work were in different threads.

-- Jeff Polaski

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John Smith

996 posts in 187 days


#4 posted 05-27-2018 12:37 PM

Jeff – do you have or have access to a pneumatic framing nailer (nail gun) ?
you could cut those 2×6 boards into the length you need and nail them all together
to form a very hefty end grain chopping block. (probably into 8” lengths to make it more portable).
figure out what diameter you need the work surface to be then play with the
numbers and configuration on paper for the 1.5×5.5 boards to form a uniform shape.
or – cut a whole bunch of 1/4” slices off of a 2×6 and play around with a uniform design that suits you.
chopping on the endgrain will give you many years of good use. then when it gets really rough,
turn it over and use the other end. I’m sure that someone that is better with numbers than I am
or with a designer program could come up with a better design of fabrication than this.
but it will give you an idea of my line of thought.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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polaski

15 posts in 1240 days


#5 posted 05-27-2018 01:47 PM

John, that really helps. I had not thought of interlocking the design to add strength. No nail gun, but but since I had a single garage full of these construction 2×6’s back in 1980, I’m used to nailing and screwing. I figured nails from the sides, reinforced by heavy u-shaped wire hangers between blocks and a bunch of wood glue. Maybe even a nice padded handle on a long side, to carry it. I used to be a computer systems analyst and I held onto the diagramming software while carefully forgetting the rest of that stuff. Your diagram is great: self explanatory at first glance!

All doable. I even have an old Disston rip saw that I picked up for a song, cleaned and sharpened it. SWMBO will be happy that the stored 2×6s will be used and taking up less space.

FWIW, I have a Harbor Freight grinder stand with splaying legs that I covered with some interchangeable wood squares with 3/4” dog holes that I drilled right through the metal top. It makes a small, sturdy vise stand that can take dog hole or clamping vises. Probably not for chopping, but it has a lower shelf for a sandbag or two (or bags of rice). Fits nicely in the van going up to Maine.

-- Jeff Polaski

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jdh122

1018 posts in 2841 days


#6 posted 05-27-2018 07:14 PM

While you certainly can do endgrain, regular sidegrain works too, as long as you set up your block so that you cut into it across the grain.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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