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Old 08-11-2004, 10:09 PM
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Default Palm vs Straight Handles

Greetings everyone,

I'm becoming more and more interested in woodcarving. I have been looking at tools and wondered the differences, as far as purpose or unique use, between palm tools and straight handle tools. Would anyone care to enlighten me? Thanks in advance.

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Old 08-11-2004, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Palm vs Straight Handles

I suppose there is a technical difference, but I use both the small palm and straight gouges. The palm tools are a little easier for me to hold and control while i'm using them pulling toward me for fine details and the straight handles seem to offer me a little more control while pushing away. I like to cradle the palm tools in my first three fingers and then just draw the cutting stroke with my fingers; no wrist or forearm force whatsoever. The straight handles seem to fit very well when pushing as I can wrap all my fingers around them. That said, I'll use either in both types of strokes sometimes, rather than changing tools mid carve.

I think it's pretty much a personal matter of comfort to choose either one or the other.

If I had to opt for only one style it would probably be the straight handles for pure versatility. IMHO

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Old 08-12-2004, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: Palm vs Straight Handles

Al pretty much summed it up for me too...I don't like palm tools pushing the cut, but pulling is ok...I think, all in all I prefer the straight handles....
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Old 08-12-2004, 06:14 AM
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Default Re: Palm vs Straight Handles

Which straight handles are you referring to? Short, mid-size (euro tool), or full size. Each has it's purpose. If you are interested in hand held carvings, another interesting option is the 'Denny' line of tools. They are sort of a cross between the normal palm and short straight handle. Sort of a putty knife shaped handle. I find them very comfortable and a good value. Suggest you find a club or dealer that will let you try a few cuts with each. Don't forget the tools has two sides and you want the handle to be equally comfortable when using either.
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Old 08-12-2004, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: Palm vs Straight Handles

I use all three palm, straight and mallet tools and from time to time I will use my palm and straight tools with my mallet. Mind you I dont hammer away with them just a gentle tap,tap. I think you are right it is what ever feels right for you.
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Old 08-12-2004, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Palm vs Straight Handles

What you carve also makes a difference. *I usually carve relatively small pieces and the palms work great for me. *I do use the same techniques AlArchie described above. *I use my wrists more than he describes. *ALWAYS wear a protective glove!

I can manuver the palm tools and hold the piece at the same time. *If you are carving slightly larger pieces and/or use a holding device, the straight tools may be better (intermediate or professional sized). *

I have an assortment of all. If you have access to another carver (or club), try some of their tools.
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Old 08-12-2004, 11:09 PM
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Default Re: Palm vs Straight Handles

Welcome Isaac,
Like most carvers, I use an assortment of carving tools depending on what kind and size of carving I'm undertaking. *The thing to remember is that palm tools, as well as other sizes, can have straight or curved (bent) shanks and both can be used interchangably but *have specific benefits. *When I'm carving backward (toward me) with all the action controlled by the distance my wrist flexes, I especially like a bent shaft because it lets me get more of a flowing/deep to shallow/movement to my carving (like for hair, beard, clothes, animal hair and muscles, etc.) *The straight shanks seem to give me the best results when I don't have a great deal of change in depth--more flatter carving areas.

I also like the European sized Stubi carving tools for hand held carvings. *The shafts and handles are a bit longer than palm tools, but not as long as full-sized tools that can be used with a mallet. *I can 'choke' down on them by holding them by the shank--down closer to the cutting edge, and do as much detail as you can with a palm tool----or by holding by the handle, reach in, under, around longer distances. *Part of the preference is related to how comfortable they feel in your hand (hand size) and how much control you have of the tool.

If possible, try out some tools before you buy them so you can see how they feel in your hand. *Even the style of the handles can affect how they 'work' for you. *It all comes down to personal preference.

Donna T
Donna Thomas has been carving in SW Missouri since 1988...
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Old 08-17-2004, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: Palm vs Straight Handles

For me I carve mostly caricatures and relatively small ones at that. Usually under 9'. There is a lot of really fine detail work. I use my palm tools for 90% of what I carve. I have some very fine detail tools with straint handles that have gouges that are 1/16th of an inch in width. They are great for buttons, seam lines in clothes, whiskers and eyebrow hair. Decide what you want to carve and get tools that match the task. As you mature and your skills increase your tool selection will also increase. Happy Carving.
It is the most calming exercise that allows your soul to create what your heart imagines and your inner vision dreams.
I crave freedom and I carve to be free
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: Palm vs Straight Handles

What everyone else said
You really do have to try different types of tools to find what you like...and even then you'll find yourself changing as the years go by.
I hated the flexcut tools when I first tryed them a few years back and now that is pretty much all I use!
So have fun experimenting

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Old 08-18-2004, 11:46 AM
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Default Re: Palm vs Straight Handles

There is an old saying that 'there is a tool for every job'. Well that holds true in carving as well. I use a variety of tools on every carving, some small and some big. You will find that over the years a collection of every type of tool will happen naturally, and once you develop a style, there are no rules on tools. If it has a sharp edge, I use it.
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