Dixie Biggs has been a full-time studio woodturner/artist since 1989. She grew up with a love of carving and a fascination for working in wood. Her interest in woodturning began in 1979 when she taught herself to use a wood lathe so she could duplicate a chess set her grandfather had made.
Need Some Relief: Bringing Interest & Life to Your Work with Rotary Power-Carving
Explore the embellishment techniques of power relief carving and woodburning that can be used by woodturners, furnituremakers or other wood artists to expand the visual impact of your pieces. Students will learn techniques for relief carving using a micro-motor rotary power carver; the use of wood burners for adding texture and detail; and incorporating colour into your work with acrylic paints through the dry-brush technique.
This class is focused on off-the-lathe and off-machinery techniques, so while the ability to use a lathe or other woodworking machines is a plus, it is not required. Dixie will walk students, step by step, through her relief-carving techniques from layout, to bit selection, to finishing detail on sample discs and sample blocks that will be provided. The beginning exercises will help in the process of developing skills that can be incorporated into other woodwork, so bring projects that are dry and ready to carve.
No previous power-carving or painting experience is needed, just show up with a desire to discover and explore the techniques.
Taking the mystery out of power relief carving
Having fun exploring several new approaches to relief carving
Developing tool control
Modifying carving burrs
Experiment with textures created with a variety of burrs
Tips and tricks for sanding
Incorporating newfound skills into your own work
All levels are welcome.
Since the focus of this class is developing power relief carving skills, you can bring work that is ready to carve or use the dry dimensional lumber that will be available. Suggestions:
Woodturners: bring turnings that are ready to carve (see below).
Furnituremakers: bring something of a manageable size you would like to carve on.
Sculptors: if you have a piece of wood you’ve been wanting to work on bring that.
Woodcut Printmakers: we will have boards you can use or bring your own.
Everyone: there will be turned discs and sample blocks provided for the beginning exercises.
A few things to think about for the work you bring to carve on:
Thicker is better. For woodturners, I would recommend a wall thickness of around 3/8″.
Have something that is straight-grained and rather plain. Cherry or maple would be good choices. You really don’t want figure or colour variations to compete with your carving. Select wood with a fairly tight grain, open grain can cause problems for students just starting out.
Please don’t bring exotics because some in the class may be allergic.
Woodturners, you can bring most anything….bowls, vessels, or platters with a wide rim. Just give it a bit of thought about where you might like to carve. You might want to carve the whole thing or just leave a wide band that is thicker around the piece where you can do the carving. Size doesn’t really matter; it just depends on how ambitious you are. You might want to start out with smaller pieces to get started.
The pieces need to be fully dry (no green wood) for rotary power carving. Wet wood will gum up your carving burs.
The School has power carvers and pyrography burners but feel free to bring your own.