Sometimes, it can be almost impossible to brace a piece of wood in such a way as to carve the very end of it. Wood typically doesn’t have the kind of weight that stone does; wood pieces need to be braced in order to remain still when struck by hammer and chisel (and sometimes they still move…but that’s a subject for another post).
Vises are important for being able to carve in hard-to-reach places. As you can see, I’m working on the top of the piece. This is a wonderful, strong, old vise that can hold large pieces of wood. Can you see the padding between the jaws of the vise and the wood? It’s there to keep the piece from being damaged — the vise has to be tight enough to keep the wood in place, but not so tight as to damage the wood.
Vises are like another set of hands for me!