Yesterday I finished the rough shape of the outer side of the belly. Apparently my sharpening
skills are improving, as I was able to produce nice clean cuts both with the grain and
cross-grain. The photo doesn't show the results very well, but the overall outline is fairly
close to the template, and the surface is moderately smooth.
Then I started on the maple back. Although maple cuts very nicely, it is very hard. The left part of the photo shows how far I got after about half an hour. For comparison, the entire belly took about 3 hours.
After lunch I dropped in at Chipping Away in Kitchener. I discovered that there are small power chisels designed for carvers. It continues to amaze me that there are specialty suppliers for the most esoteric interests. In any case, I now have a Dremel-sized tool made by WeCheer that has a rotary attachment, a flex shaft, and a carving handpiece. I have no idea if this will make the task of shaping the maple easier, but I'll find out next week.