carving bits & pieces

still here

I haven’t forgotten the blog – just been very busy, and had little time for photographs. That’s usually how I work a blog post – I shoot something, then write around it. Sometimes it’s the other way around but still I need the pictures for it to make sense.

 I have two wainscot chairs to make this spring – I seem to specialize in them in recent years, which suits me fine. These are reproductions to take the place of “whereabouts unknown” originals – so many details are from whole cloth; these chairs are becoming a medley of 17th-century ideas.  

one carving begun

At this point, I have little to show other than some carvings underway, and some rails with scratched moldings. Here’s a couple of shots of one carving in particular.

guillochge defined

 This is a pattern now termed a “guilloche” – a run of overlapping circles. This time it’s done without a V-tool, just outlined with a compass, then cut with three gouges, plus a very shallow one for shaping. So 4 carving tools & a compass and marking gauge. This section is just a muntin in the chair back, so quite short  – maybe 12″ of pattern.

finished carving
Here’s a section where I tested which tools to use for this scale, the whole piece is 3 1/2″ wide, so the circles are less than 2″ in diameter. on a small scale like this, the V-tool often can’t turn tight enough, so cutting it with the gouges works well for this small pattern.
test section

8 thoughts on “carving bits & pieces

  1. Peter,
    Are the chairs commissions? Are they sketched? Were the chairs pretty much the same design with say different carvings?
    I will have the opportunity to see the new section of BFA in September. I understand from friends that it is the best.

    Have a good one.


    • yes, it’s custom work. I need to get the client’s permission before I go whole-hog on the story here. but the 2 chairs have nothing to do with each other; just 2 English wainscots…
      I hope to post the project here in some details; but at the least it will show up in snippets like this.

  2. Perfect timing, I was just about to start working on a some practice carvings, and I wanted to try this overlapping circles motif, which I now know is called a “guilloche”.

    I just finished my first complete carved box by hand this weekend, and it’s been a blast. I picked up some more Oak to keep working on my carving, and I’m going to try a couple new patterns in the coming weeks.

    My completed box is documented here:

    Thanks for the blog, and the information.

    • Box looks great Badger! Im planning on making one soon too, equally inspired by Peter’s work.

  3. Your blog posts are always a joy to read and very informative.
    Your photography skills helps a lot too.
    Thank you.

  4. Ive lately been thinking about the popularity of circular motifs in a lot of 17th century furniture. We seem to see this in English piece quite a bit. Some of my own pieces show this theme:

    And Im wondering if its regional theme (whimsy) or if there was a deeper meaning to the use of circles, which is to say, a geometric tendency over the earlier designs, ie, gothic or linenfold type carving.


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