I've started on a stereo cabinet in a southwestern style with rope carved
sections on each of the four legs, about 12-13 inches worth. Can anyone
offer some advice or sources of information? I've googled and checked my
personal and local libraries, but there's not a lot available. I've done a
little carving and have about 5 chisels, but this will need to look well
finished, closer to machine-turned than hand carved. Thanks in advance,
Failure is not an option
But it is a possibility
check out legacywoodworking.com
I got their DVD demo while at the WW show in CA 2 weeks ago. Awesome.
It will do roping and lots of other cool stuff, if your wallet can
handle the price of admission. There are about 5 models. From almost
affordable to about $5k IIRC.
Bob Schmall wrote:
I ordered that CD online. It is truly impressive what can be done with
that system. After getting over a little sticker shock at the price of
the unit I really liked (Porsches and Corvettes give me sticker shock as
well...), I had a minor sticker shock relapse when I realized the cost
of all the router bits which would be required to fully support the
Now it is time for some hard choices...do I get a new upscale wood lathe
, or one of those Legacywoodworking machines....so many toys...so little
But, Bob, after the next project, the amortized cost per leg will be a
mere $625! two projects after that; a paltry $312.50/leg. And think how
much fun it will be to have one of those bad boys in your shop. You
most likely will be the first on your block to own one! sigh...if only
I were made of money...
Bob Schmall wrote:
On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 23:13:47 GMT, "Bobby Schmally" brought forth from
the murky depths:
Get thee to a Leebrary and find Mike Burton's "Architectural Carving:
Techniques for Power & Hand Tools" and/or anything by Onians or Pye.
You need to double grind your chisel or use an incannel for rope.
Sanding will help it achieve(?) that lovely "canned" look.
* OPERA: A Latin word * Wondrous Website Design
* meaning * Save your Heirloom Photos
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Thanks, Mike. I printed it out. Actually I was fooling around last night
after posting the message and tried something like what you suggest. My
neandersawing technique needs work, but carving the half rounds produced
something almost decent.
I did some rope carving for a SW hall table, and the source I found
invaluable is the book _Spanish Colonial Furniture_ by A.D. Williams.
He gives an illustrated description of layout and cutting by hand.
I haven't looked at Mike's site yet, but Williams' technique
involves dividing the legs into equal sections, laying out diagonals,
connecting those diagonals so they "candycane" up the leg, sawing to
depth at the diagonals, and then using chisels, rasps and whatever you
have on hand to smooth out and soften the curves.
It is very time/labor-intensive, but was quite a bit of fun.
You can see pics on my website:
Whoa! You been peekin' at my plans, Vance? The base of the stereo cabinet
will have legs very similar to those. Thanks for the input. Now all I need
to decide is whether to use a half-round or just a standard curved chisel.
I would suggest a curved one instead of the half round . If you use a half
round remember one part of the cut will be with the grain the other against
it .However sharp the gouge there will inevitably be some tearout.
Using the curved gouge you can alternate the cutting direction so you always
cut with the grain . Sometimes for final accurate cleanup I make a scraper
out of scrap metal . I this case I would a scraper with the shape of the
intersection of two half rounds [like a vee but with curved sides if you get
my drift ] with this type of scraper you can do both sides of the rope
carving and manipulate it so you are always scraping with the grain ....just
You're welcome, Bahb. Mike has already given you good info on the
tools of choice (especially the idea of using a custom scraper; I wish I
had done that early on in the process). I'll just mention how I went
about it. I used left and right skew chisels (I re-shaped them from
standard yellow-handled Stanleys) to create the V shapes/meet up with
the saw cuts on the faces. As Mike said, you *will* wind up going
against the grain, but the skews helped minimize chipout (a *real*
problem on pine, btw).
Once you get the face grooves cut, you need to make the transitions
around the corners. I played around with various chisels and gouges,
and had the best success with matched left/right skew spoon gouges. But
even that left some rough areas. What I did after that was take some
small needle-files to clean up those areas. (In retrospect, a scraper
would have been even better.)
This is hard to put into words, but, in general, I found that you
will not have much luck at all if you try to approach those wraparounds
by going down the center of the groove (unless you are using a scraper,
and even then it might be a bit iffy). You will want to approach
everything from the face of the work towards the center of the groove;
always skewed and alternating working from either side towards the corner.
It's tedious work, but well worth it, IMHO (assuming that's the look
you're after). It also taught me more about grain direction change than
all of my previous flat projects combined. :-}
BTW, do try to get your hands on that book I mentioned before (A.D.
Williams' book). It's got a bunch of nice SW-style projects with pretty
detailed drawings, plus some photos, and some excellent descriptions of
carving techniques. Sadly, I don't expect it is still in print, but you
might be able to get it via ILL.
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