Favorite Sculpting Tools
of ODACA Artist & Aux Members
The first tool I used to teach myself how to sculpt, is still my favorite. It's the simple "orange stick" used for manicures, from the drugstore. But it has since evolved from wood to metal and in several different sizes. Everyone of my students gets a hand made one, thanks to my DH.
Second to that has to be my "double pointed dividers", can't live without them.
And third, but certainly not least is my "wallpaper seam roller". It's the best for smoothing larger areas of clay. Oh, and then there's the short knitting needles in different sizes! And, and, and....
A machinist's marking gauge is an essential tool for me. My eyes play tricks on me so I use a machinist's marking gauge to help me draw straight reference lines on my doll heads and check features as I sculpt. This tool has a heavy base and several adjustable pointers that stick out from an adjustable vertical rod. I check eyes, nose, mouth corners, and ears with this tool. For example: I can set one of the points to hit right in the corner of an eye and then rotate the head to see if the corresponding point on the other eye is level.
I whittle and sand manicure sticks into the shape I need at the moment. I also insert various needles - needlepoint and sail are two of my favorites - eye-end, into short pieces of dowel rods, which creates a nifty metal tool with a wooden handle. I drill a hole into the end of the dowel rod with a Dremel bit, then glue the needle into it with five-minute epoxy. Helps to have a drill press for this, but it can be done without one. Just takes concentration, a clamp and a steady hand.
My "Perfect Touch" tools [are essential] for sculpting. Walter Vaughn is a "Tool God". I also couldn't function without my small protractor (compass) for sizing eyes, etc., and my six-inch 'pica pole,' which is a metal ruler that shows not only inches, but pica and agate measurements, as well. These latter two are smaller increments (sometimes even 1/8 of an inch is too much), and I've never figured out the metric system.