Author Topic: How to "Carve" a call..  (Read 6721 times)

Offline HuntnCarve

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How to "Carve" a call..
« on: January 12, 2013, 04:31:47 PM »
For the Folks that want to see how I carve a call, here's little photo tutorial.  I typically start out with a finished call on which I'll do a carving. 

Here’s a Cherry/ Walnut laminate call that I sketched a coyote profile on in pencil

Here’s the tools I’ll be using:  A SCM Air powered engraver with the assorted bits I’ll use for the carving.
I wear safety glasses, and use an Optivisor Magnifier over those.  I find the Magnifier helps tremendously.

First I outline the entire drawing with a #27 fine tapered bit.  Or you could use a #16 bit.

After doing the outside, I’ll go in and lightly scratch in some of the detail and transition lines.  Here you are looking to make the various contours stand out a little for later detailing.

Next I use a flat bottomed straight bit to broaden the outside line right up to the carving.  This provides some clearance and a “stop cut”.

At this point I could use a knife or gouge to remove the surrounding wood right up to my outline cut if there was a lot of material to remove.  Here I am using a “round” bit to remove the excess wood.

Next I’ll use a “diamond football” bit to smooth out, and get right up tight to the carving. 
I continue to use the football bit to lower and shape the carving.

I use a “fine point” detail bit to outline the eye.  Treat the eye like a “three sided triangle”.  Gently curve the sides of the eye triangle to give it a rounded shape.

At this point, I start stippling the area around the carving.  This really makes it stand out.  I use a small round ball bit for this.  I like to use a random pattern, lightly tapping the bit in a random motion.  Try not to be to orderly.  Otherwise the stippling pattern will look too mechanical.

Now it’s time to do some detailing.  Here I use a very fine pointed bit to lightly cut in the hair pattern.  Try and establish a “flow” when carving in the hair.  Use small cuts, generally working in one direction.  I’ll use some “stab” cuts in the areas where the hair flow transitions.  This makes it stand out.

 One important thing I learned is to “not” texture the areas on a carving that are “white” in color.  Ex. The white muzzle portions on a coyote… Just lightly smooth, or sand these areas.  Later on when the carving is finished, these non textured areas will stand out, and take on the appearance of being lighter in color.  The textured areas will darken significantly.

The carving complete, I apply some Watco Teak Oil to the carved areas, and the entire call.  I’ll let it soak in, then dab off the excess with a shop towel.
Notice the “non- textured” areas on the carving.  See how they stand out portraying a lighter color.  That’s what we want.

Well that’s all there is too it.  This process can be used with any animal, or bird, etc.  So don’t be afraid to give it try.  Remember, the human eye can only pick up, and notice only so much detail.  So don’t get hung up on the fine details…Concentrate on the big transitions in a carving.  They will set the stage for the rest.  Happy Carving!

Dave Paul

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Offline Marshall's Custom Calls

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Re: How to "Carve" a call..
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 05:19:39 PM »
You make it look so easy..
David Marshall, of Marshall's Custom Calls

Offline Braz

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Re: How to "Carve" a call..
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 05:33:12 PM »
Wonderful Dave. Thanks for doing this.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.. But I repeat myself."--Mark Twain

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Offline Lon @ First Flight Game Calls

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Re: How to "Carve" a call..
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 07:22:17 PM »
Sooner or later, I've got to try this.  Thanks for a great start!

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Offline Craig Lorence

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Re: How to "Carve" a call..
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 09:33:20 PM »
Great tutorial on craving. :bigup: Thanks sharing this. Might have try something like this sometime.
Craig Lorence

Offline BigB

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Re: How to "Carve" a call..
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 09:55:12 PM »

Awesome Dave!  This is a great explanation on how to do a carving. Your work is masterfully done!

You won't get money rich in this hobby.  The richness is in the culture, the craft, the friends you meet along the way, and being able to call in a wary game animal with a call that you made with your own hands.


Offline Uncle Clay

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Re: How to "Carve" a call..
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 10:12:40 PM »
Thanks, this is great and easy to understand. I have done quite a bit of carving but never with a rotory tool. I will have to give this a try.
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Offline dogcatcher

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Re: How to "Carve" a call..
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2013, 01:47:23 PM »
That is a great tutorial! 


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Re: How to "Carve" a call..
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2013, 02:09:25 AM »
 :thanks:   :bigup: