Carving practice

I can’t remember the last carving I did. I had this box front (the one with the painted background in the photo) carved for quite a while – youtube says 2 years! Very late in the day today I began sorting some stuff to turn it into a box. I wanted some pattern to carve on the sides – but didn’t want anything too involved. Below the box front is the beginning of what I carved…

It’s my version of some carvings I saw over 20 years ago, on my first-ever trip to England in 2000. Victor Chinnery took me to a church in Durrington, Wiltshire that had a lot of 17th-century carved decoration reinstalled in the pews. Each pattern looked different and the place was full of them. I got a few lousy photos – managed to scan a few of those old slides some years ago and salvaged a couple.

detail of carving from Durrington All Saints Church

I didn’t dig out the photos when I was working – I only had 20 minutes of daylight left and wanted to get something down on the oak. I have this little box I made back then – I keep some loose tools in it under my bench. So that was my source for today’s version.

small tool box

The nice thing about these particular period carvings is the seemingly endless variety. Very little v-tool work. Most of the outlines are struck with gouges to determine the shapes.

detail, Durrington All Saints church carvings

These patterns have what I call “approximate symmetry” – they don’t have to be perfect. Your brain likes to see patterns and will tolerate the variations. Or mine will, anyway.

half carved box end

Right after that trip to England I made a couple of boxes with these sort of patterns. It was fun to revisit that stuff today – I’ll scrounge around the shop and find the stuff to finish that box with…

PF carved box, 2000

Below is the youtube video from maybe 2 years ago of carving the piece that will be the box front.

2 thoughts on “Carving practice

  1. I actually like to see small imperfections in the symmetry indicating it was done by hand. Let’s me know it probably wasn’t done on a CNC machine.

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