By the end of part 1 I had re-profiled the stock, added a cheek-piece and marked-out and rough-carved the fore-grip. Total time so far approx. two full days excluding the time spent on designing the thing.
As this piece is something of an experiment, I was feeling my way through the process – something artists refer to as taking an ‘organic’ approach, I think…but I am cynical enough to think that ‘organic’ means ‘I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and I hoped it would turn out OK in the end’…………
Where you are confident of your drawn line, you should carve confidently – cut to the lines drawn and not waste time re-carving the same thing over and over as you move tentatively towards the finished piece. However, when you are not confident in your design then leave yourself some wriggle-room.
So, allowing a couple of mm for wriggle-room, it was time to start scaling the background, I also worked on one small area first, then if I liked what was happening I could then carve the rest of the grip with confidence, in one pass, or two at the most, avoiding a long-drawn out refining process.
Apologies for the image quality, I am certainly not a gifted photographer! Oh, well, here you can see the first panel carved. The scales were laid out with two base-lines at right angles to each other, the right of the panel shows the pattern printed out but uncarved, the carving having progressed from left to right. You can also see an early version of the rope-work but it is too flat and too wide, it looked like a pastry pie-crust and was substantially re-worked later.
Time for this area was about an hour – there are about 60 scales and the half-scales are slower to work than the whole scales where tool room is not an issue.
Image two – the blue pen lines are the base lines for each panel; the pattern established in the first panel was extended across the fore-grip by first drawing on base lines accurately to carry the scales-lines across all the panels of the fore-grip – you need two as a minimum, the pattern needs to be kept straight in both planes – vertically and horizontally but the more-grid-lines that are put in, the better the finished piece will be.
Incidentally you should mark in pen and not pencil as much as you can, grimey graphite smudges all over the whole stock. However,it is not always possible to get pen to mark timber, especially if the wood is oily/greasy for any reason and at such times there is no choice but to use pencil.
Making progress, pattern pressed in over whole fore-grip with no 4 and no 8 gouges (see next image) and then modelled, leaves started too.
Time spent? Lots! Somewhere around three full working days but I am afraid I dipped in-and-out, so it was spread over most of a two-week period carving for two or three hours most days.
That’ll do for now; tools used are v-tool, number 3 gouge (flattish gouge used for hollowing the scales and for relieving the background), no 8 gouge (u-shaped), no 4 gouge (half the width and half the curve of the no 8; used to mark-out the half-scales), skew-chisel – long thin point used to clean-up