Jim Denker is a Mechanical Design Engineer and Inventor whose nearly half a century of professional work has demonstrated outstanding creativity, as three dozen patents attest. Woodworking has always been his hobby, but woodcarving has become his passion.
Several years ago, while carving a large serving tray from White Ash, Jim began to analyze just why chisels have a reputation as being dangerous tools. They require fairly high forces to cut heavy chips, and they tend to slip and over-cut when coming out of the work at the finish of each chip. This requires the user to both push and hold-back at the same time to control the path of the chisel.
In use, a chisel is conditionally stable, which means it is like a pencil balanced on its point. Any deviation from the intended path will immediately cause a resultant force that acts to move the chisel further off the path. Only the skill of the user keeps the chisel on course. Constant attention, together with intense muscular effort, is required to make each cut and to prevent a possibly disastrous slip.
Those who are already skilled wood carvers will appreciate the process by which a work of art emerges from a rough piece of wood. The carver has a basic choice: either remove all wood that detracts from the intended form, or remove wood until the form hidden within the wood reveals itself and can be set free by the carver. Jim believes the ultimate artistic challenge lies in the latter approach.
In order to facilitate communication with the soul of the wood, chip removal must be done in very controlled fashion, so each small increment can influence the next, throughout the process of discovery. It is counterproductive to use tools that readily over cut, dig into, or tend to split the wood. Rather, it is desirable that tools perform as an extension of the hand, and cut without any conscious attention from the artisan. This is why a stable cutting tool offers an advantage over a chisel. It is the reason Jim invented and developed the DENKER Carving Shave.