Knives designed by Mertz

Don Mertz, a member of the Caricature Carvers of America, has a history of collaboration with the Helvie Knife company (HelvieKnives.com). Over the years they have produced a successful line of custom knives that suit Don’s whittlecarving style. Don’s work can be viewed at WoodBeeCarver.com. I own several of those knives but since the blade style was different than the one I use, I’ve delayed giving his a try. The other day I decided to see what I could or could not do. The pictures show the project I chose and the knives I used. They are in Don’s Signature series as numbers 2, 4 and 6. There are many more knife choices on the Helvie site. I did not succumb to the urge to grab my usual knife and a gouge or two because this was a whittlecarving challange.

I thought a reasonable challenge would be a project offered by Dave Stetson, also a CCA member. It was in the Summer issue 2015 of Woodcarving Illustrated magazine. Dave’s advice is to make no cuts that would leave flat surfaces or sharp shadows. In other words, a soft smooth appearance. I, like Dave, would normally use gouges to achieve that look. My results were not exactly like Dave’s, but then I have trouble matching his results using the tools he recommends. I’m still reasonably happy with my result. I’m not ready to toss my straight edge knives but I know I have more options if the circumstances need the Mertz touch.

I used a block of Basswood one and a half inches square (38mm) by 3 inches long (76mm). I used Johnson’s Feed n’ Wax as a finish on the raw wood.

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5 thoughts on “Knives designed by Mertz

  1. Dale, your carving of the Stetson lady using only knives is an excellent illustration of your creative gift of carving. Thanks for your gift of the carved lady and the carved spool which are greatly appreciated as examples of your generous spirit. I have always admired your carving ability along with your enthusiasm for all things woodcarving. Thanks for your friendship.

  2. Excellent !~~~I was just reading a Harold Enlow article about carving feminine features.Looks like you got it.Very attractive lady ~~~~~

    • Thanks Dennis. This was not my first attempt at this face. I have practiced it with gouges and a straight knife. I will have to try more expressions and see if she looks as good as this one.

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