Don’t Play With Sharp Objects

Seal viceI recently gave a demonstration of seal carving and didn’t want to use a good stone for the purpose so I used some soft soapstone instead. Unfortunately soapstone can be a bit crumbly and, as I approached the edge of the stone, it broke away and my chisel slipped unexpectedly. Since I was holding the stone in my hand I gouged a piece out of my thumb as a result. This isn’t the first time this has happened and luckily no one on this occasion saw me bleeding (very inauspicious). My wife suggests I try one of the leather thumb guards that whittlers use. You might also try a glove used by woodcarvers that has wire  running through it—these will stop cuts but not punctures. Avoiding accidents like this would be one good reason to use a seal vice. Most carvers, however, prefer to hold the stone in their hands rather than use a  vice as it allows more control and is more convenient but, whenever you use sharp tools, there are risks involved. Add this to the list that includes “don’t run with scissors.”

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