Chip carving was the first thing I taught my students at WoodenBoat School after having spent an extensive period of time on sharpening. Chip carving has its fans and detractors. Many fans fill up large areas with extensive and intricate designs. For many of the detractors, the busy nature of those designs is just what makes them unattractive. I am in the middle. I teach my students the basics of chip work as soon as they have learned to create a truly sharp edge. It teaches them control of the knife and gives opportunities to create beautiful designs rapidly. Making a good clean chip is not as easy as you might think. If the angle at which you hold the blade is wrong, if the tool is not truly sharp, or if you have poor control of the tool you won’t be successful. You’ll need those three elements no matter what you carve so the sooner you master these the better. My course was an intensive one week experience, and getting a good start was essential.