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Thread: Adding a simple carved bead to furniture

  1. #1
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    Adding a simple carved bead to furniture

    Adding a simple carved element to a case piece can create some interesting detail that’s not hard to execute. This is a quick build thread hopefully describing showing how to create a carved bead on the vertical elements of a case piece (in this case a bookcase).

    I have to confess I hadn’t initially planned to add this carved bead on the vertical edge of a modestly sized bookcase. The reason I decided to add it is because after building the frame and panel carcass sides I was intending to plane a simple ľ” rabbit on the backside of the carcass to house the carcass back. Unfortunately, I had what is for me not an infrequent lack of attention and ended up planeing the rabbit on the front of one of the carcass sides! Ugh I hate when that happens!

    In the spirit of “turning lemons into lemonade”, I decided to turn that mistake into a feature by creating the same rabbit/bead on the front of both carcass sides. Here’s some pics using fenced and unfenced rabbit planes to create the rabbit. Slightly offset to the outside of the carcass to allow room for sliding dovetails that will join the horizontal rails to the carcass sides.






    Once the rabbit was established, I used hollow #5 molding planes and curved plastic sanding blocks (impulse purchase at my local Rockler store that have proved invaluable) to create the curved profile.



    <a href="https://postimg.cc/MfVm50cx" target="_blank"><img src="https://i.postimg.cc/nrwSH0ps/3-2.jpg" alt="3-2"/></a>

    With the curved bead established the carving was relatively simple. Here’s a pic of the five carving tools I used: #6 and #3 small gouges to establish the curved beads, a 3 mm wide #11 to outline the small floral petals, and a small V tool for straight lines at the end.



    I used a fine Dozuki saw to crosscut the bead and establish margins for the round elements and then used the #6 and #3 gouges to begin establishing the rounded profile.




    A small fishtail chisel with super helpful and cleaning out the waste.



    I didn’t take pictures of everything but here are the rounded ball and bead elements established. Next step is adding the small three floral elements on each end of the longer bead.



    I use the 3 mm wide, # 11 gouge to incise the petals and then an X-Acto knife and small chisel to remove the waste. Sorry wasn’t planning on getting pictures.

    Last step is finally using the V tool to create straight lines connecting the floral elements on each end of the bead. Sorry the pictures aren’t very good.







    My intent in sharing this thread is to encourage my fellow meanders to consider adding some carved elements to their work. A symmetrical, simple repeating bead like this is easy to accomplish with even a limited number of carving tools. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot! Sometimes carving can be the solution that saves what would otherwise be a big mistake.

    If I get my act together I will post some build pics of the overall bookcase build. The impetus for this build was to have someplace to put the floral garland carving in the pics below. For me, this floral garland carving represents about a week of solid work. For me this kind carving is tedious and hard on the eyes and the results I’m able to produce are not especially satisfying. This carving is in Red Grandis, dyed Brown to look more like traditional mahogany. I really hope it looks better once I put some shellac on it.









    Thanks for looking, all the best, Mike

  2. #2
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    Great "lrmonade"!

  3. #3
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    Mike, Outstanding work!!

  4. #4
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    Looks good Mike.

    Read this somewhere, "The difference between an amateur and a professional is what they do with their mistakes."

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
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    Well done, Mike. I whole heartedly agree that some curved work/carving can add a nice element to projects. I need to do more. Your right; a few gouges, a pattern, and some patience can produce some nice work. There are some great carvers on this forum, and Iím sure their first attempts werenít perfect. Like deciding to try your first dovetails, it just takes the desire to try and a good amount of practice.

    Thanks for sharing. Now with fall/winter in the works, itís time to get some wood and carve away a few evenings for fun.

    Look forward to seeing the finished project!

  6. #6
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    Mike,

    Thanks for sharing and encouragement. And nice save! Will look forward to seeing the completed bookcase.

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Looks good Mike.

    Read this somewhere, "The difference between an amateur and a professional is what they do with their mistakes."

    jtk
    Truer words were never said!

  8. #8
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    Mike,
    Really lovely work and thanks for the detailed photos and text. I especially appreciated an explanation of the carving tools you used. Did you get any inspiration for the door pattern from Chris Pye? Iím pondering investing some time (and $$$) into carving and noticed a similar design in one of his books.

    Best,
    Steve

  9. #9
    Always inspiring to see your work Mike!
    Thanks for the 'how to'.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Rosenthal View Post
    Mike,
    Really lovely work and thanks for the detailed photos and text. I especially appreciated an explanation of the carving tools you used. Did you get any inspiration for the door pattern from Chris Pye? I’m pondering investing some time (and $$$) into carving and noticed a similar design in one of his books.

    Best,
    Steve
    Thanks guys for the comments.

    Steve I really appreciate your question about design/inspiration for carving. That is one of the biggest challenges getting started. I can recommend three sources:

    "Classic carving patterns" by Lora Irish

    "carving architectural detail in wood" by Frederick Wilbur

    And a particularly excellent source including step-by-step instructions and great photographs if you're interested in carving elements that are particularly relevant for 18th-century American furniture "carving 18th-century American furniture elements" by Tony Kubalak.

    For what it's worth, I would be wary of books with lots of black and white photographs of historical carving. Although inspirational, is difficult for me to copy patterns from those photos. I find simple line drawings, like those in the books I mentioned above, to be most helpful as they give you the overall shape and layout of the piece. Smaller details aren't really needed for the patterns because you can add those as the carving progresses.

    Cheers, Mike

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