Carving the heel and neck is great fun. You have to be creative with the tools you have, as the demands on the tools change as the shape develops. I used a chisel, some carving gauges, a draw knife, a block plane and a carving knife at various stages. I also used a scraper blade at one point, but that didn’t work very well on the soft cedar.
While information on neck width and thickness is available in books and online, I don’t think there are any templates or guides for shaping the neck profile or the curve of the heel with hand tools. Mass manufacturers have all kinds of tools and machines to get consistent necks with exact profiles (‘D’ shape, ‘C’ shape etc). But when you’re working on a neck and heel using hand tools it’s sight and touch that counts – and this creates something that is personal and organic. In the second part of this blog I’ll talk more about the tools and techniques I used.
Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the work in progress: