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How to maintain wood grain? BC Series #12

If we talk about basic carving skills understanding the grain of the wood you choose and working with it properly is a thing that should be underlined. You need to see clearly grain lines and patterns of wood that you will work with. Why? Because of the flow of the grain, which will affect your future cutting. You will face three types of working with grain:
1. Along  grainline
2. Against grainline
3. Diagonally to grainline
Importance of understanding the difference between them is the exact point of this topic and will be displayed to you below.

Along Grain Line
What do you need to know about this type is that your cut strokes will take more wood. It means that cuts will tend to be deeper and wider. Understanding this will help you to use grain line for proper purposes, for example, if you need to drop background to your carving project.
Another thing you need to know is why stop cuts are extremely important in this way. There is a possibility that wood area you carve can split or crack. The problem may occur in places where wood grain separates above your knife edge. Using stop cuts will provide you with the possibility to control it.

Against Grain Line
You will also face times when your cuts should be made against the line of your wood grain. When it is used? To create contours, or place that need to be cutted curve away from pattern point. As contours of your carving projects may change in various ways,  cuts will also vary depending on it. This type of carving may be characterized as opposed to previous not only in the direction of the cut but also in how those cuts will look like. Less width and depth is what you need to expect from it.

Diagonally to grainline

There is also the probability that your cutting area will make you work diagonally to the grain pattern of your wood block. As every project consists of several different cutting ways, it is understood that rough and tattered edges are also in need to be handled with. As far as your knife will touch wood only with a little area, you need to sharpen it as much as possible in order to reduce the chance of cracking. Pulling a small amount of wood provides you the possibility to rework this area by shaving as carving will be finished.

All in all, it is not a surprise, that your woodwork will require you to master in every type of carving when it is thought about the grain line. There is no need to search for a masterclass how-to or something in this direction. Everything will come to you through the practice. If you spend enough time, put enough efforts and make sure your blades are sharp enough – the only path for you is a success. However, there still are some tips on this theme and here they are :

Long cuts should go along the grainline
2. Understand comparence of grain line and woodblock line
3. Avoid high-detailed areas being settled against grainline
4. Figure out and point places where you will need to work with this or that carving due to grain pattern.


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