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Quilt Patterns Inspire Chip-carved Coasters

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image Geometric designs inspired by quilt patterns make beautiful coasters.

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.

Image gallery
Make the vertical stab cuts. Vertical stab cuts function as stop cuts. Cut at a 90°-angle along the dotted lines. The dotted lines indicate the centerlines of the different segments of the chip. The line in the center denotes the deepest part of the chip. Cut along the sides of the chip. Hold the knife at any angle between 45° and 65°. The actual angle of entry is not critical as long as all of the angles of entry are identical. Cut down to the same depth on each of the cuts. The stab cuts break up the chi Remove the chip. Brush out the small broken pieces of the chip. Cut across the grain, with the knife held at the same angle, to remove any remaining wood inside the chip.
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Comments (4 posted):

kitaye on 08/09/2008 14:59:19
When was the issue shipped out?
BobD on 08/11/2008 07:29:16
It was shipped out Aug. 5. Bob
kitaye on 08/11/2008 11:24:09
Thanks Bob. I downloaded the patterns and can't wait to see the article.
chuckbolton on 08/18/2008 00:55:11
i think im going to lay them all together and make a wall hanging --like a quilt
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