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How to Carve an Incised R | Carving Letters with Schaaf Tools | Beginner Woodcarving Tutorial

We're going to carve an incised Letter R. That means we'll be cutting into the block to create the shape, and leaving the surrounding surface flat. This is the opposite of the relief carving style you normally see in these videos, but equally common when it comes to letter and sign carving. This style is also sometimes called inverted relief.

If you would like to carve a raised Letter R, check out our beginner woodcarving video tutorial: How to Carve the Letter R in Relief

With it's curves and straight lines, the letter R is comprised of many shapes that you see throughout the alphabet. If you can carve an R, you can probably carve any other letter!

Tools Used

The first step is to transfer your carving pattern to the wood. If you need help with this first step, please refer to this video before proceeding: How to Transfer Artwork to Your Wood

Video Tutorial Notes:

Drawing the Right Lines
Timestamp [1:36]
- Draw a line down the center of all areas of the R
- Put dots in the center areas so your line is accurate
- Next, you'll want 45 degree lines going to each end, or point, of your letter

For a closeup of the drawn lines, go to Timestamp [4:13]

Timestamp [4:22]
- Grab your 1s - 8mm Skew Chisel and make your stop cuts along the center lines
- REMEMBER: your stop cuts are NOT made around the outside of the pattern as they would be in a normal relief carving, because this carving is incised.

Timestamp [5:50]
- With your 1 - 8mm Double Bevel Chisel cut the ends and corners
- Use the corner of your chisel and then roll it up to the top, as demonstrated

Timestamp [7:18]
- Begin cutting the incised letter R
- Start carving away wood along each side of your stop cuts
- Alternatively, you can use a 12 - 6mm V tool to carve along the stop cuts to widen those cuts
- Stop your cuts before you hit the ends of the letter

Timestamp [10:02]
- Take your 1 - 8mm Double Bevel Chisel and begin carving inward at about 45 degrees from the outer lines of your Letter R, in towards the middle stop cuts
- Its helpful to use your Skew Chisel to clean up some of the edges as you do this
- Use the chisel for the straight lines, and use the 5 - 8mm curved gouge for the rounded areas

- Continue to use your Skew Chisel to clean up the ends and the center areas
- Remove the debris in the corners
- Remember to just remove a little bit at a time as you form the ends of the R

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