Peter’s Carving Tools interpreted…

I follow a fantastic blog by a fellow who goes by the name Peter Follansbee.  He works as a joiner at the Plimoth Plantation and has done some incredible research into period techniques for carving and joinery.  Just browse through his blog, you’ll be blown away.  A bit ago he posted pictures of his basic carving set of tools that he uses.  You can check out the post here.  I had a bit of money on a gift card from Christmas so I went to Woodcraft to see if I could build the same basic set based on the picture of his tools (many of which are antiques or unmarked as to sizes etc.)

Here is what I’m calling my “Peter Follansbee Carving Kit” and what sizes I got to match his.  I came pretty close I think.

Carving set inspired by Peter Follansbee

Here are the sizes I think come close to what he pictured:

  • Pfeil “Swiss made” Carving Gouge #9 Sweep 10 mm (Woodcraft #05G07)
  • Pfeil “Swiss made” Carving Gouge #6 Sweep 20 mm (Woodcraft #05B04)
  • Pfeil “Swiss made” Carving Gouge #8 Sweep 13 mm (Woodcraft#05F05)
  • Pfeil “Swiss made” Carving Gouge #8 Sweep 20 mm (Woodcraft#05E14)
  • Pfeil “Swiss made” Carving Gouge #5 Sweep 12 mm (Woodcraft #05D05)
  • Pfeil “Swiss made” V-Parting Tool #12 Sweep 8mm (Woodcraft #05T85)

For reference here is his original posted picture.

Peter Follansbee's Carving Tools

I’m working on a box right now that I hope to be able to try some of this style carving on using these tools.  I would also highly recommend picking up his DVD on the subject of 17th Century Carving.  It’s what me inspired to try out the style of carving he shows on the disc.  Once I watched it I started looking at period carving in a whole new way.  Like I could actually do some of that stuff, just maybe.  I am going to try my hand at it soon, wish me luck!


P.S. I am not affiliated with Peter Follansbee, Woodcraft, Pfeil or Lie Nielson Toolworks in anyway.  I’m just a fan of all four. 🙂

P.S.S. I also am not advocating the Pfeil brand over any other brand, I just had a gift card to the store and they are local to me.  The quality is decent from what I can tell, but I will bet you can find similar or better quality tools in other stores.

One Comment

  1. Timothy A Jacobus August 4, 2012

    I am studying traditional wooden boat construction at the Apprenticeshop in Rockland ME., and as we had a display booth also, I was able to met Peter briefly at the Lie – Nielson Toolworks open house a week or so back. What impressed me was the visual freedom in which he laid out and carved his work. Where I as a boat builder am pressed by consistency and symmetry, he explained in his carving that close geometric s is close enough. I scrutinized his carving for the exact mirror match across the patterns, and was surprised by the variations, again being symmetry minded. Peter mentioned that visually the eye or mind does not pick up on all the little inconsistencies in spacing but takes in the pattern as a whole, leaving the freedom to create foremost over stringent mathematical guidelines. I have dabbled in relief carving on my shop projects and my boat stems and sheers. I am glad for your short mention of the “suspected” chisels that Peter uses, that was an important detail in our brief meeting that I missed. I have a tool box that’s going to get the “Follansbee treatment”. If interested in our boat school
    Thanks, Tim.

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