Carving, in a general sense, is the art of cutting or fashioning a hard body by means of some sharp instrument; but in a more particular sense it is usually understood to be the art of cutting figures and designs in wood. A carver should possess some knowledge of drawing and modelling, in order that he may be able to copy from nature. A rough imitation of the object or design should first be modelled in clay by the fingers, and afterwards completed with the modelling tools. A mould is then to be made, and a cast taken from the model in plaster of Paris, as clay is difficult to preserve unless baked in a kiln. The mould is made in the following manner: - Plaster of Paris, which easily mixes with water, should be made of the thickness of cream, and should be spread all over the model. When the plaster is set, the model should be removed, the clay carefully picked out, and a mould will be obtained, called a waste mould, which must be left in cold water for a quarter of an hour. When used as a cast, it should be rubbed over with a mixture of hog's lard and the droppings of sweet oil.
The plaster of Paris is to be mixed as before, and poured into the mould, which afterwards should be knocked off with a chisel and mallet, by small pieces at a time; the design will then appear of the same form as that modelled in clay, which the carver may proceed to copy in any sort of wood, but lime-tree is the best suited to beginners. The tools used in carving are of various forms and sizes, and may be procured of good quality in the shops, ready made. The instruments used by sculptors for measuring the different parts of their work, particularly the heights and depths, may be very advantageously employed by the carver. Carving is an extremely fascinating employment, and the young artist of taste soon becomes astonished and delighted with the effect he produces by a few cuts of his chisel,