It’s not cheating. It’s prudent. There will be points of unsupported wood on those sail heads, and you know that you will be carving those areas. So you should know that no matter how careful you are, they may break off.
I wish I could say that I invented this technique, but I learned it from a student years ago. During chip carving, he’d put cyanoacrylate cement on the vulnerable points of wood that were likely to snap off while carving. The thin adhesive was absorbed and strengthened the wood fibers while cutting. It works well and beats having to repair afterward, because no matter how careful you are, “stuff happens.”
Here I sketched in the lines for the schooner and started cutting out the forms. I applied cement to the sail heads to give them a bit of extra reinforcement while I cut away the waste.
It’s not cheating; It’s prudent.