View Full Version : Knee Bracktes

Mark Yundt
01-14-2010, 11:19 AM
I got this order well before the holidays. I glued up the blanks and started carving them when I rec'd the PO. Apparently they weren't in a hurry to get them and put them on hold until the start of the new year. Well now they're back on track again as of this morning so I'm back on them and posting this job.
Now granted , these aren't a tour de force of carving but fun to do. I glued up the blanks hollow in a series of laminations with solid sides. Even the sides aren't going to be carved the way I usually see/do them. They will basically be flat volutes in a quarter inch depth with buttons in the centers. Even the volutes don't sprial out in any fashion or have the traditional Acanthus leaves on them. Pretty boring actually but that's what was ordered. Just another variation of brackets. These will get primed and painted on site.
The build up is pretty straight forward. I made templates for the parts for consistency as each is made up of 10 parts. I also made templates out of thin sheet plastic to use for the layouts of the 12 sides for the 6 brackets as well as the face profiles to keep them uniform from one to the next. This I find is more consistent and durable than using paper for example and tracing with carbon. That sheet plastic is great but I also use sheet aluminum for templates for something such as pattern repeats in an egg and dart mldg. where the pattern has to hold a particular shape. Neat trick and easy to do.
This job also calls for two smaller brackets in the same design. The large ones by the way are 24 inches long, 11.5 wide and 12 high. The small ones will only be a foot long.
I just carve 'em and ship 'em. They will end up in a University in the South.
P.S. I do have other photo's showing the glue up, back views, clamping etc. if you're interested. These just show the block after prep and some of the carving.
First photo is two of the completed blocks with the 4 remaining in pieces in the background and the second is three of the blocks roughed in.

Philip Allin
01-14-2010, 12:31 PM
Hi Mark, I had read some of your description of this project before, but I was struck by your comment about making thin plastic templates for shapes that repeat. I have been studying the art forms of Northwest Indian tribes and discovered that they often used templates for the "ovoids" and U-shapes. It makes a lot of sense.

I have used software on my computer to adjust the size of patterns - sometimes printing them in pieces which I tape together. Then I have transfered the pattern to the wood with carbon paper. This works fine for most of my projects, except it gets carved away with the first cuts! Sometimes I have to put the pattern back in place and repeat the carbon paper process.

Mark Yundt
01-14-2010, 1:13 PM
Hey Philip
Yeah, I started these a while ago. Hurry up and wait! Well since they didn't send the deposit as the PO suggested I just laid my chisels down and waited. Ya' gotta' pay to play. Buy a ticket and get in line. No ticket,,no ride.
As far as templates go for one or two pieces paper and carbon works fine. But when I have to make more than that I just make a solid template. Paper after a while gets too full of holes and tearouts. And in this case I needed more accuracy and repeatability than what that offers, so,,templates. And it's easy to lay a template over a section again ( as you suggest) since it's indexed and relocates precisely and one drawing is exactly the same as the next. These too ( the bracket designs) were drawn by either an Architect or Engineer as the specs were pretty accurate and specific so I almost have to end up splitting pencil lines.
Now for the moldings if I make my aluminum templates I can curve them to fit molding profiles and I have them indexed as well for a particular pattern repeat. I can just keep sliding them along, trace the design and keep going without any deviation from one to the next. Similar to the templates I made for these. But in the case of moldings I may have to do hundreds of patterns and paper just wouldn't last or be that accurate. And for the future I already have patterns I know that work.
The most convoluted one I made was for a Guilloche molding. Looking at it you just can't imagine what it is let alone work. Made laying it out a breeze.
Thanks for your post.

PS, There are several examples of my templates and the carvings I've done using them at my blog. I also have the Guilloche design you can see there on the chairs I did for the Bishop in the Main Cathedral. They're the Mahogany ones with all the egg and dart and the design is flanking the back panels done in gold leaf.
You can find the blog at