I have practiced hand woodcarving for 35 years. I started out with pencil and paper, hand carving tools (most of which I hand forged myself) and a band saw. This is how carving was done, by hand, with mallet and chisel. As my business grew I purchased a four spindle pantograph type carving machine. These machines had been in use since the 1880′s to produce everything from airplane propellers, oars, decorative mouldings to statuary. CarvingMachine It required considerable skill to use a carving machine and there was a four year apprenticeship to learn how. It worked along the same lines as a key making machine. As the machine traced over an original, a cutter following in tandem cut out an exact copy.

It wasn’t a pleasant job. It was loud and dusty and somewhat dangerous beacause it was easy to grab a cutter by mistake instead of the tracing stylus. These machines are what allowed commercial woodcarving to thrive until the second world war. At that time companies closed, woodcarvers left the trade to serve in the military or for lack of work. After the war many of the businesses never restarted and those that did had trouble finding skilled woodcarvers to carry on.

Why did they need woodcarvers when they had carving machines?

It’s because carvers created the original carvings that the machines traced by hand. They also finished carved machine carved pieces by hand.

So why the history lesson?

Times have changed and we now have new tools to work with to produce machine carvings of high quality with lots of flexibility to customize carvings… but the approach is the same as it always has been. We start with a model, this time created on a computer (and by various other means including original carvings) and the surface of that model is traced digitally rather than manually to carve the parts. Once the model is made it can be manipulated in new and exciting ways.

Such as;

  • Rescaling
  • Mirroring
  • Bending
  • Stretching

Through technology we are able to preserve and continue the tradition of woodcarving staying true to its roots.

In order to keep up with the times and to offer the most cost effective way to produce woodcarving Lohmann Woodcarving Company has adopted this new approach with great success. I have merged my 35 years of woodcarving experience with technology to produce beautiful CNC carvings that are second to none. I also continue the tradition of hand carving original models with only pencil and paper, mallet and chisels as well as the finish carving of pieces by hand after they come off the machine when necessary to meet customer expectations.