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Vertical grain effects on tool depth of cut

I am a new full-year member, just starting out in wood-carving. Whilst I appreciate that more experienced carvers will have a feel for grain that slopes down along the path of a V-chisel, I do not know how to gage this for when I am carving in the opposite direction. I can see the surface grain and can adjust pressure accordingly (yes the tool is wicked sharp) to follow or not. However, when cutting with a V-chisel to outline a flower or other shape, I do not know how to read the wood grain as to when it is sinking down into the piece or rising up from the lowest level of the piece, which affects how deep the V-chisel goes. Too sharp down and I have to be careful not to raise the handle of the tool, rising up from the underside of the wood and I have to be careful not to dig deeper. Is this ever a problem for you? If so, how did you deal with it? If not, are you aware of the type of issue I am having? Your time in service and length of time carving may help me to find an answer. Thanks!


I've run into this issue as well. I'm a beginner but I find that reading the grain at both edges of the board helps predict where you might need to adjust your direction of cut. Aside from that, a shallow test cut might give you some guidance. The trick, for me comes when the surface grain dictates one direction (as in the donut exercise) and the rising-falling grain dictates the opposite. Sometimes cutting cross grain gets me out of trouble here. I hope this helps.