Chip Carving: From the screen to the bench

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For some time I’ve been interested in doing a chip carving project. I selected a Treasure Casket shown in a book by Paul Hasluck, “Manual of Traditional Wood Carving” and scanned the one-page illustration for import to SketchUp. Since there were three different scales used in the illustration, I had to scale-up three different images in SketchUp, each to full size.

On top of those three imported images I traced over various shapes of components and of carvings. You can see those trace overs in the following image from SketchUp. A following video shows the process I used to make the trace overs and components. There’s a second video on the workbench doing the actual chip carving on this casket.


This is a view of the front face trace over. There is much replication and symmetry in the carvings, so this minimized line and arc work, by copying “groups”, flipping, and rotating.

Trace Over Shapes

Using these trace overs, I built the components into the final SketchUp model as shown below.

Assembly Shaded

Here is the inside view, with the Top hidden. Note details for the key lock and hinges.

Inside View

My usual modeling effort in SketchUp is restrained to only that level of detail necessary to efficiently build in the shop. But in this case, I could not hold back interest in doing SketchUp work of no benefit to shop efficiency. This extra work was to remove material to replicate the chip carving shapes. So using the Move Tool, I was able to bend and fold the faces down 1/16-in. from the surface. The following video also shows this procedure.

Here is a close-up view of the 1/4-in. thick ledger plate used in the trinket casket with carved-out shapes.


From SketchUp, I printed full-size templates and stuck them on the face of the mahogany pieces. Here you see the front face of the trinket casket with the templates and carving in process.


Here if the completed mahogany piece finished with beeswax tinted with lampblack.


Tim  @KillenWOOD

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Published at Thu, 02 Mar 2017 18:38:09 +0000



Lacework in Oak

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When Pascal Oudet turns vessels from oak, he takes the material down to its very essence — the medullary rays and growth rings–revealing a beautiful portrait of one of the world’s most well-known woods.

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Published at Wed, 27 Jul 2016 04:00:00 +0000


The Modern Master: Allan Breed

Growing up in New Hampshire, Allan Breed began buying, repairing, and reselling antique furniture in his early teens, and before he was 20, he was serving an apprenticeship in conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In the decades since, he has worked as a consultant and conservator on some of the most prominent pieces of American period furniture, and has reproduced hundreds of pieces, including the famous Nicholas Brown Desk and Bookcase, and the Newport secretary built by John Goddard that sold at auction for $12.1 million. Prized by Sotheby’s and Christie’s as an expert on period craftsmanship, Al also teaches classes in carving and period furniture making in his New Hampshire shop.

Allan will be giving two presentations at Fine Woodworking Live 2017, Classic Furniture Carving, and Reviving Great American Furniture.

Classic Furniture Carving:
Master period furniture maker Allan Breed demonstrates the core techniques and tools used to carve the hollow shell and applied leaf-and-vine detail on the drawer front of a classic Philadelphia lowboy.

Reviving Great American Furniture – Highlights and Insights from a Storied Career:
A furniture consultant to museums and major auction houses as well as a master furniture maker with four decades of experience in the shop, Breed has examined, restored, or reproduced some of the most famous pieces of American period furniture. In this talk, he selects a handful of the most interesting pieces he’s worked on and describes the craftsmanship and style, materials, tools, and techniques that went into them, and the people who made and owned them.

Go to FineWoodworkingLive.com to find out more about all of the presenters this year.

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Published at Thu, 05 Jan 2017 21:35:51 +0000