Classic geometric designs embellish this useful caddy
Learning to convert a variety of patterns into chip-carving patterns will open up a whole new world of opportunities. Nearly any image can be converted into a free-form chip-carving pattern, but quilt patterns are especially well-suited for geometric chip-carved designs.
Books specializing in traditional quilt patterns are a rich source of inspiration. I found inspiration in a fabric quilt square created by my wife, Barbara. Once you are open to using patterns from other sources, you'll start to see chip-carving patterns everywhere. Breaking these designs down into chip-carving patterns is a good way to learn about pattern drafting and study design concepts. This conversion process involves you more in the pattern. The pattern is no longer just random lines.
I've adapted a variety of quilt patterns to create this set of coasters. You can create an entire set using one design or mix and match the designs for a complete set. Each design uses a combination of standard chip-carving techniques. The individual chip styles have been detailed in previous issues of Woodcarving Illustrated. Start by cutting your stock into 3½" squares and sanding out any surface irregularities. Then, trace or draw the pattern onto the blank.
One of the most helpful discoveries I have made in chip carving is how placing vertical stab cuts in the chip cavity provides control over the chip. Lateral displacement of the wood by the knife can cause breakout between chips. I control this lateral displacement by making vertical cuts inside the wood to be removed. With the stab cuts in place, the displacement created by the outlining cuts breaks the chips to pieces, producing perfectly shaped chips.
See image gallery for detailed instuctions.