Carving a Geometric Border


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Decorations? With only a knife? Absolutely. Chip carving techniques let you create intricate patterns with minimal tools and minimal setup. A couple of knives, a sharpening stone, and the compass and straightedge from the previous chapter will take you a long way. For small pieces, your lap is your workbench.

The Dreischnitt

Chip carved borders are typically made of triangles, created with three cuts that meet in the center. Each cut is at about 65 degrees, which yields a highly visible but not completely shadowed pattern on the wood. "Dreischnitt," or "3-cut", is a fancy German word for this.

FIGURE - a simple triangle.

You can use any knife you want for chip carving, and any technique that cuts the wood at the proper 65-degree angle. However, you’ll find that specific techniques and specific tools make it easier to repeat the same task over and over. Since chip carving is all about repeating patterns, consistency makes it much easier to produce clean work at a reasonable pace. You’ll see this pattern throughout woodworking, as a general technique develops specific variations to fit a particular style or situation.