I am a relief wood carver. My question is, what is the best way (and what tool should I use) to bring out the back of the carving? I would like some depth to it.


Here are a couple of techniques for relief-carving background stock removal (aside from just using a big chisel and a heavy mallet).

1. Low speed free-hand routing
With a variable speed router and a 3/4" to 1" bit, slowly work side to side removing about 1/8 to 1/4" in depth at a time. Many folks find it useful to add a larger homemade base to their router to span the work piece so the router won't tip into the field.

2. Drill press and Forstner bits
Start by grinding the point off a Forstner bit and setting the depth stop on your drill press. Since there won't be a center on the bit to start it, you'll have to clamp the work piece securely. Now, start drilling out the waste. You'll get a nice flat bottom without the bit's center point to contend with.

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