Tuesday, 7 September 2010


I've been working on a wooden carving, which I've called Reclining Nude, for ages.  Last year, with all the trauma of mum's death, I hardly touched it, but this year I've got back down to it.  Sadly, progress has been slow.  It's by far the biggest piece I've done, and even when I spend hours chipping away at it, the evidence doesn't seem to match the effort!

When I was singing in Florence in May, however, I had a most interesting conversation with Jacques Giles.  Jacques is the husband of my gorgeous friend Jenny, who was singing, and Jacques had come along as a groupie.  Jacques turns wooden bowls on a lathe, and had recently acquired himself a powered chisel.

Now I had looked on the internet for a powered chisel a couple of years ago, and drawn a blank, but Jacques actually has one.  So the other week I called on them and checked it out, and now I have one of my own.

It's called a Proxxon motorised carver, which may be why I didn't find it when searching for 'powered chisel'.  The chisel bit itself is rather small, and it doesn't take off much at a time, but it's so effortless, I can keep going much longer than when using the hand tools.  Of course, I still need to use hand chisels quite a lot of the time, but for overall shaping of the piece, it's a dream.

The limiting factor at this stage is just that it gets rather hot.  The instruction manual mentions overheating as if it's a fault, but says nothing about only using the tool for a limited time before giving it a chance to cool off.  I do that because it doesn't feel right making it carry on working when it's so hot.  Just mechanically unsympathetic.

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