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Thread: Chippendale Chair decoration

  1. #1
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    Chippendale Chair decoration

    THE PETER PRINCIPLE
    STRIKES AGAIN

    Iím sure all of you are familiar with Peter Druckerís Peter Principle which states that
    everyone rises to his level of incompetence. If you arenít familiar, dig it out with your
    search engine and youíll understand why service is so bad at your auto repair shop,
    woodworking store, insurance agency, etc., etc.

    Well, I guess Iíve risen to my level of incompetence. Now Iím appealing to my fellow
    woodworkers to cover for me. I am trying to make a total of 10 (5 for now) Chippendale
    chairs per Ron Clarksonís book. I am changing the decoration to something like his chair
    #3 which he sketched but never drew. Briefly, I want a shell decorations rather than
    acanthus and other floral decorations. I did so because I like the shell motive, have carved
    a number of them and was afraid to tackle the floral stuff.

    Well, when I got to the crest rail I wanted to put a sun-ray pattern similar to what Norm
    Vandal shows in his book Queen Anne Furniture. (see illustration # 6 & #8, explained
    later). I wanted these in the two upper corners of the crest rail (#5) My attempts to do this
    turned out like the examples in illustrations #1 and #2.

    These illustrations can be found at www.eyman.org/backsplat Youíll find three lines of
    thumbnails there. 1, 2, and 3 are left to right across the top, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are in the center
    row, and 8, 9, and 10 in the bottom row.

    What I want to arrive at is something similar to the patterns in the chair from the
    Winterhur Museum shown in # 3, 8, and 10.

    I have been in conversation with an expert in laser woodworking. We are trying to
    determine if a laser can ďset inĒ the important lines as a carver does with the appropriate
    gouges before he starts carving. I am appealing to any and all for any help. Iíll be open to
    any and all comments. Even those that start out as ď what in the world gave you the idea
    you could ever do such a thingĒ.
    18th century nut --- Carl

  2. #2
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    Peter Priciple

    Carl -

    I don't think you are in danger of invoking the Peter Principle. Sounds like you are on the right track to a solution. It is just a matter of execution. I'm sure you will come through.

    This message, however, does not not provide a recommended solution, merely words of encouragement. You are way above my head in carving.

    Ted

  3. #3
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    I'm doing a little guessing here, but I think the question is how do I duplicate the patterns and transfer them to the poject?? The trick being maintaining repeatability.

    If my assumption is correct, one method is a stencil like transfer. Get a peice of blank plastic semi-transparent stencil sheet at the craft shop. Lay out your shell, full finish size on it with the lines being the bottom of all the valleys. Carefully, with a razor knife (exacto) cut out the lines. Create a cut that will accept a pencil or pen point. Use this template to mark your first valley cut lines on the work piece. I suggest a pen in this instance, it will soak into the wood, pencil may get rubbed off, and you are removing the marked area anyway. Remove the stencil and carve away.

    Cautions: don't connect the end lines or the center falls out; if complex, do several stencils with registration marks rather than cramming it all in one; make the stencil the center of each cut.

    Hopefully helpful.

  4. #4
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    You are Right

    One thing I needed to know is how to transfer the design. The question is really broader than that as well. As you could see bythe pictures when I tried to make the small sunbursts I had chip outs all over. Are there shell paterns both small and large that are easier to carve? Etc. Thanks for your help. I will follow up.
    18th century nut --- Carl

  5. #5
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    Carl, To limit chipping there are several tricks that help> don't guarantee result, but help. First and foremost, make certian that your gouges are sharp, sharp, sharp. Second, watch the grain very carefully, cut off not into the grain. This becomes habit very soon. Take lighter cuts at each step, think of just planing to see-thru thickness the last two passes. Some woods do chip a lot. That can be reduced by wetting the wood. I use linseed oil and let it soak in, this wets and softens the fiber, reducing chips. My choice is based on the finish which will ultimately be applied. If you're a shellac finisher, use alcohol. The idea is not to pollute the finish for later.

    Any help?

  6. #6
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    Mr. Dunton summed it up pretty well. Sharpest possible tools, and ALWAYS, Always, ALWAYS, with the grain.

  7. #7
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    Ah Steve, Yup gotta cut with the grain, except of course when you can't. Then it is BE CAREFUL! Just a question of technique and trickery, make the wood think you are cutting with the grain even when you're not.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
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    Carl, I was looking over item 1 again. You really don't have a problem yet. Take your vee tool and slightly deepen each valley, the starting at each crest, shave over into the valleys with a #3, then reclean each valley. Same technique for the center orb. Then lastly repeat for the ray ends. You'll be surprised what a difference it will make to simply go over everything again. If be not satisfied, simply repeat the whole process.

    Don't be disheartened, it may take 4 or 5 passes for the first few bursts, but as you develope the flow, you'll be doing it in a rough and finish pass>done.

    Keep up the work and report back with a sucessful finish.

    Just tryin' ta halp

  9. #9
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    Many thanks GEDunton Al Breed and all

    The enclosed picture shows how much you folks have helped. It is not perfect, but compared to the dead end I was in it is a quantum leap. I appreciate.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    18th century nut --- Carl

  10. #10
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    Makin' chips

    Well Carl, looks as if you've out and a chippin'. I can see that you're getting the feel of it. Keep at it and in no time it will be second nature to make that gouge "flow" thru the wood. Just gotta be presistent.

    Good work, keep on truckin'

  11. #11
    Way to go !!!

    For future reference I find that a Pounce Bag and Pounce Wheel (or wheels) are very usefull for transfering designs. First draw out your design on good drawing paper. Next, tack the drawing to the wood. Trace over the drawing with the pounce wheel (like a small sterated pizza cutter). Now use the pounce bag on top of the drawing. A bit of graphite will go through the holes in the drawing and deposit themselves on the wood. You can now see the marks on the wood and fill in any gaps with a pencil or charcol. I like to use a very, very soft pencil to fill in the spaces.

    Now, if I can get my carving up to snuff - ah practice.

  12. #12

    Nice progress Carl-

    By now you know that the worst part of these projects is getting started. All those doubts, facing the enormity of the task, and then buckling down and finding a way to proceed efficiently. With the exception of Windsor chairs, I've never been faced with having to make multiples of a project. It looks like you have the situation well in hand.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up See! I told you!

    Carl -

    See, you just needed a little nudge to get off TDC. As evidenced by your photos of the in progress work, you have the talent.

    What Peter Principle?

    Well done!
    Ted

  14. #14
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    KIND WORDS - but . . .

    Now that you (collectively) have solved my crestrail problem how are you on legs? Seriously this is a place I feel pretty confident. I bring it up because Steve talked about the pounce methed of transferring patterns. I tried the brass shim stock method on the crestrails, but had orientation problems. Will the pounce method work with compound curves? I've devised the jock strap method for these legs. Notice the paper mache cup I made that fits the knee - or will when the knee is shaped. I trace around that and set the lines that define the reeds with dividers. The cup is paper mache stablized with dilute yellow glue. Seems to work ok. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    18th century nut --- Carl

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