logo-instructor-badge

Welcome:

Certified Chip Carving Instructor Program


Lesson 4: Teaching Proper Form
Objective: In this lesson you will learn how to teach proper chip carving form and identify and correct common problems.

Assignment: Complete each item below and send it to me for assessment at info@mychipcarving.com You may complete each one by typing your answer in the body of an email or in a separate document, audio recording your answers, video recording your answers, or any combination of these methods. Do whatever is easiest and most effective for you when it comes to learning this material.

  1. How will you teach proper chip carving technique to your students? Imagine that you are in front of your eager students and they are ready to learn how to chip carve. In your explanation include the directions you will give your students as they apply what you are teaching them about technique.
  2. You observe one student early in class and see that the angle of their knife is close to 80 degrees. What could be causing this problem and why is it important to help them correct it?
  3. The BIG three in teaching chip carving are Form, Safety and Fun. Explain why proper Form is one of the BIG three!
Materials needed:
  • My Chip Carving Knife
  • Read pp. 6-13, Chip Carving Essentials
  • Watch Platinum Member Video 101 – Proper Technique
  • Watch this video: CCCI – Teaching Proper Chip Carving Form

Lesson Information & Review:

Here are the common challenges you will encounter when teaching proper form.
Students will:

  1. …lock the tip of their thumb into the notch and not the joint of their thumb. When the joint of the thumb is locked into the notch on the handle, some student’s thumb will hook out and some thumbs will remains straight. If they can form a hook it will create a more stable base. If not, encourage them to work with what they have, keep their thumb on the wood and form a stable base.
  2. …have the knife too far into their hand or extended too far out of their hand. Ask them to loosen their grip on the knife, which will allow you to either push the knife into their hand or pull it out a bit. The index finger should feel the corner of the handle near the blade. If your hand is like mine, I have a callous on my index finger at this point. Students may develop a blister on their index finger if their hands aren’t used to this kind of work. Apply white athletic tape over the blistered area so they can complete the class. Band-Aids generally rub the blister making it worse.
  3. …need the angle of the knife adjusted when holding the knife. Make this angle adjustment for your students early in class and later on if needed. An angle less than 55 degrees is acceptable for individuals who don’t have the strength needed to reach the bottom of relatively small chips. Remember, you want them to find success. Assess what each student is able to accomplish and make adjustments as needed. Helping them so they can remove chips in single cuts will really make their eyes light up and encourage them to keep carving.
  4. …roll their wrist when pushing hard which will lift their knuckles off the wood, increase the angle of the knife and make it more difficult for them to get the needed depth on the cut. This is very common! Demonstrate this to your class and your students will immediately identify if they are rolling over their wrist.
  5. …have a death-grip on the knife! Not only will this tire them out prematurely, it will also decrease the feel and touch needed when making cuts. You are teaching the fine art of chip carving that comes with technique and finesse, not with brute strength and raw power.
  6. …complain that it doesn’t feel comfortable. Encourage them to use consistent, proper form and it will feel more normal and comfortable as they build muscle memory. Part way through class ask your students to place the knife in their hand, close their eyes and grip the knife. (If safety is a concern with some students, have them keep their eyes open :).) Direct them to open their eyes and place their hand on the wood. Have them self-evaluate the angle of the blade. They should already be developing muscle memory midway through the first day of class.
  7. …release their thumb from the knife handle and pull the blade towards their thumb. Not only is this dangerous but it will also lead to a variable angle on each cut. This is very common with individuals who have done other kinds of relief carving. Breaking this habit can be a challenge but with your reminders they can practice safe, proper form.
  8. …need continual reinforcement and encouragement to use proper form throughout your class. You will teach and re-teach this throughout your chip carving classes. Teach it gently and without criticism. For many this is the first time they’ve tried chip carving and everything feels strange and unnatural. Be positive and upbeat reminding them that they can do this and they’ll get better and better with practice.
  9. …not use proper form on clean-up cuts when the chip does not come out after the first cuts. You will observe your students trying a wide variety of things to get the chip out. They will roll the knife over, scrape and pry the chip, and make repeated cuts to remove the chip. Remind them to always hold the knife properly on ALL cuts. You will teach clean-up technique at some time but for now remind them to concentrate on proper form.
  10. …need to know why we carve on a lapboard with the project tucked close to our body. Teach them that the strength to get the needed depth on cuts comes from the large upper body shoulder and arm muscles. Sitting in a chair and reaching up to carve on a normal kitchen table requires all the strength to come from the small muscles in our hand and forearm, which will tire out very quickly. If they prefer to carve on a table, see that the table is at a height where the upper body is positioned over the work when standing next to the table. The photos in your reading (Chip Carving Essentials) show what this should look like.

Notice that I do not recommend teaching a second position with the knife (when the knife is rolled over angled in the opposite direction) at this time. Although when I started chip carving I used the first and second position with the knife on three-corner chips and started teaching this same method to my students, I’ve since found that it is more effective to teach one grip technique for all beginning chip carvers. Your students will find greater success and less confusion and frustration if you concentrate on just one main grip on the knife. Later on in your teaching when you look at grain direction you will teach the second position with your knife. I’ll show you how to teach this to your students in an upcoming lesson.

Assignment: Complete each item below and send it to me for assessment at info@mychipcarving.com. You may complete each one by typing your answer in the body of an email or in a separate document, audio recording your answers, video recording your answers, or any combination of these methods. Do whatever is easiest and most effective for you when it comes to learning this material.

  1. How will you teach proper chip carving technique to your students? Imagine that you are in front of your eager students and they are ready to learn how to chip carve. In your explanation include the directions you will give your students as they apply what you are teaching them about technique.
  2. You observe one student early in class and see that the angle of their knife is close to 80 degrees. What could be causing this problem and why is it important to help them correct it?
  3. The BIG three in teaching chip carving are Form, Safety and Fun. Explain why proper Form is one of the BIG three!

Good work completing this lesson! Move ahead to Lesson 5 whenever you are ready.

Move ahead to lesson 5


Lessons
123456789101112131415