View Full Version : Lace-making tambour

Dave McGeehan
12-15-2009, 2:31 PM
I recently made a tambour for a woman who makes French lace by hand. The drum-shaped tambor lies sideways across her lap to support the bobbins and lace as she braids it.

My job was to replicate a particular 250 year old tambour featured in a French museum. The photo size of the tambour was 3" in diameter and only a half-view of the carving. She requested the finished ends equal 11" in diameter and carved in the style of that era. She also asked that one end contain a door worked into the design to store the lace as it is braided.

I used local cherry, finishing it with Watco Danish oil. Within 6 months its color will deepen naturally. It now goes to an upholsterer for the cushioning material and leather covering.

Phillip Bogle
12-15-2009, 3:17 PM
My wife makes bobbin lace, so I know what you made and that was a challenge. That is a lovely piece. How long did it take you to carve and construct? Believe it or not there is a market for those sorts of items and due to the challenge of finding them your name will get spread around ( consider yourself warned). If you decide to do more do not undercharge. There is a good margin in that market, just low demand.

I had a real hard time carving cherry, compared to my normal basswood.:D
Nice looking stuff though.

Thanks for sharing,
Phil B.

Ted Calver
12-15-2009, 4:43 PM
Dave....this is a great piece!! Even as a reproduction, I'll bet there are not many like it in the world and the user will enjoy it for sure.

mike holden
12-16-2009, 10:42 AM
Very well done!


Dave McGeehan
12-17-2009, 8:50 AM

I knew nothing about bobbin lace before this project and was very impressed when I saw examples of it. I'd love to see someone in action weaving this type of lace. It looks like it requires a very high skill set and years of experience.

It took me 40 hours overall to carve and construct. Because it was a repeating pattern, it got to be pretty monotonous after awhile.

Thanks for the positive comments.

John Timberlake
12-21-2009, 2:03 PM
Great work. Nice job of incorporating the door. She must be proud of your work.