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Certified Chip Carving Instructor Program


Lesson 7: Next step – three-corner chips

Objective: After completing this lesson you will be able to explain and demonstrate proper form when removing three-corner chips. You will also be able to teach your students how to self-evaluate their work.

Assignment

Complete each item below and email required items to me for assessment at info@mychipcarving.com

  1. Remove all of the three-corner chips on the EZboard student practice board.
  2. Remove all of the three-corner chips on the basswood student practice board.
  3. Remove all of the three-corner chips on the EZboard teacher practice board.
  4. Remove all of the three-corner chips on the basswood teacher practice board. Talk out loud as you remove these chips as if you were demonstrating them in class. Purposely carve a three-corner chip and dramatically change the angle of one cut to demonstrate how the bottom of the chip “moves” towards the steeper cut. Circle this chip. This demonstration will help students self-evaluate their work.
  5. Take 1 close up, in focus photograph of the three-corner chips removed on each board (4 photos total) and email them to me.
  6. In the body of your email rate your ABILITY LEVEL (1 lowest – 10 highest) when it comes to carving three-corner chips AND rate your CONFIDENCE LEVEL (1 lowest – 10 highest) when it comes to teaching three-corner chips.
  7. Look at the photo below and write a reply to this carver. Remember to encourage, critique, encourage. Sandwich the critique between encouragements! Use the drawing at the right to teach this carver how to remove three-corner negative chips and preserve the center ridge.

Materials needed:
  1. Basswood and EZboard student and teacher practice boards with pattern already applied
  2. Cutting Knife, lapboard and no-slip mat for each student
  3. Teacher demo materials
  4. Video camera, projector and screen if available

Read pp., Chip Carving Essentials, pp.56-59

Watch these Platinum Videos: 101-3, 3-corner chips

Watch the following CCCI video

Lesson Information & Review:

You’ve taught two-sided chips and your students have had the opportunity to develop some confidence with these chips arranged in a few different ways. You’ll notice each student trying to get comfortable holding the knife. You will need to help them with their form so they develop good habits, a consistent angle and comfortable grip. Don’t be afraid to adjust the angle of their knife as often as needed.

You will know when it is time to move ahead with three-corner chips by watching student progress on the two-sided chips. If certain students successfully breeze through the two-sided chips way ahead of other students, either have them start the process for applying the pattern to the project or provide them with more practice board patterns for them to apply to the back side of their practice board. This won’t happen very often, but if it does don’t let them get bored and lose interest.

When I first learn how to chip carve I was taught to use a “second position” with the knife on the second cut. This involved rolling the knife over and placing your thumb on the spine of the blade and visually determining the correct reverse angle of the cut. Seeing as I learned this way that’s the way I started teaching three-corner chip technique. While I didn’t have any trouble learning this technique, I found out that many of my students struggled with getting a consistent and uniform angle in the second position. To make it easier for students to learn how to chip carve and also to help them find greater success, I now teach using the same grip on the knife for all three cuts on the three-corner chip. This is much easier for students to understand and apply and the level of frustration and confusion has disappeared. As a matter of fact, I just now spoke to a gentleman on the phone who will be in my class one-day class who told me he has done some chip carving and took a class with another teacher but “never got the second position” and was “freaked out that I’d get the wrong angle”. I’m glad he has hung in there and not completely abandoned chip carving. You will eventually teach grain direction and when it is necessary to roll the knife over, but introducing the “second position” to a beginning chip carver is asking for confused and discouraged students.
The method and content that I teach in my classes is constantly changing as you’ll see in this week’s lesson. If you’ve had a class with me you may find this different than the way I taught you. Developing these CCCI Program lessons is further helping me carefully consider what is effective and what needs some tweaking. You’ll find this true with your teaching as well. Making adjustments along the way will help you become a better teacher and your students will love you for it!

Starting with an equilateral three corner chip (all three sides the same length) seems to be the easiest way for students to grasp the cuts used to remove these chips. Also, adding the lines inside the chips on the pattern should help when it comes to visualizing where the point of the knife needs to be in order for the three cuts to meet.

Try not to use the terms “plunge cut” and “slicing cut” (like I’ve done for a long time) but rather use the lines as a visualization tool. Let’s keep chip carving as simple and understandable as possible.

When it comes to teaching the three-corner chip negative border where the chips are back-to-back, emphasize making the first cut along the line where the two chips meet, carving away from the delicate ridge down the center of the border. Tell your students to expect the center to chip out as they learn to remove these chips. That way they won’t be surprised and discouraged when it happens!

Here are the most common problem areas you will observe:

  • Inconsistent angle on all three cuts. Rolling the wrist and lifting the knuckles off the wood will increase the angle. Proper form reminders will help.
  • Students will be too aggressive with cuts on the small three corner chips leading to undercutting. This problem will become very clear on the three-corner chip negative border. Most likely you won’t need to point this out to individual students as they will learn to decrease the depth when chip out happens. Encourage students to cut the wood fibers and move the blade along the cut.
  • Cuts will not meet each other so the chip will not come out. Limited lighting and poor vision can lead to students starting the next cut short of the previous cut or finishing the cut short of the corner. Just pointing this out is sometimes all that’s necessary.

Help your students do self-evaluation on their three-corner chips by examining the point where all three cuts meet in the bottom of the chip. If all three angles are consistent the cuts will meet at a point in the center of the triangle. If one or more angle changes that point will move away from the center towards the cut(s) with the greater angle. Demonstrate what happens when the angle of a cut changes (exaggerate the changed angle so it really shows up) to the entire group so they can see what to look for when evaluating their carving.

Three consistently angled cuts results in the cuts meeting at a point in the bottom, center of the triangle. Good form!

The cut on the right has a steeper angle than the other two cuts. This moves the bottom of the chip towards the steeper cut.

Assignment

Complete each item below and email required items to me for assessment at info@mychipcarving.com

    1. Remove all of the three-corner chips on the EZboard student practice board.
    2. Remove all of the three-corner chips on the basswood student practice board.
    3. Remove all of the three-corner chips on the EZboard teacher practice board.
    4. Remove all of the three-corner chips on the basswood teacher practice board. Talk out loud as you remove these chips as if you were demonstrating them in class. Purposely carve a three-corner chip and dramatically change the angle of one cut to demonstrate how the bottom of the chip “moves” towards the steeper cut. Circle this chip. This demonstration will help students self-evaluate their work.
    5. Take 1 close up, in focus photograph of the three-corner chips removed on each board (4 photos total) and email them to me.
    6. In the body of your email rate your ABILITY LEVEL (1 lowest – 10 highest) when it comes to carving three-corner chips AND rate your CONFIDENCE LEVEL (1 lowest – 10 highest) when it comes to teaching three-corner chips.
    7. Look at the photo below and write a reply to this carver. Remember to encourage, critique, encourage. Sandwich the critique between encouragements! Use the drawing at the right to teach this carver how to remove three-corner negative chips and preserve the center ridge.

Move ahead to lesson 8


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