simple chopped decoration








This wren was hanging around the riving brake the other day…


In the shop, the electrics were out all week. Made for some nice low-light woodworking. Today  I was prepping a rail for a rabbet along its bottom edge, to be enhanced with some zig-zag decoration chopped with a chisel. Furniture historians have called this “serrated” decoration. It is found in a slew of Plymouth Colony furniture. Other times I have seen it called “sawtooth” decoration.

well, whatever we call it,  here’s how I cut it. First I planed a rabbet in the face of the stock, along the lower edge. I eyeballed the depth of the rabbet, cutting it just a bit shallower than the markings for the tenons.



Then laid out the sawteeth/serrations/zig zag with a miter square and awl. You can pace the spacing out with the compass, but this is pretty easy.


Then I used a chisel to incise the oak along the layout. Struck once, pretty hard to chop down into the stock.


Now, using hand pressure, I just pare into the incised marks. Presto.  Later, one set of “teeth” will get painted. Black.





In another week or so, I will be able to take a couple hours to walk the beach, to see all the shorebirds that are migrating though these parts. Here’s a few of the little guys from last week.

7 thoughts on “simple chopped decoration

  1. Peter
    Wouldn’t a pair of dividers, with its locking capability, be amore accurate layout tool. Oh I know a pair of compasses with its legs firmly screwed together will work and that you use them all the time to layong out curves for carving. But laying out an equal repetitive dimension in the sawtooth can get messed up easily if the root spacing fails. I prefer the pair of dividers.
    Persnickity Jennie.

  2. Now that appears to be an edge decoration even a carver of my low accomplishment can do nicely.
    Thanks a bunch Peter.
    And, as always, nice bird shots.

  3. I get some type of bird that likes to sit atop my riving brake also. I think it awaits any possible worms or bugs that might be inside as I split the oak. I ….keep disappointing him Im afraid..

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