Episode #45: Dressing Table Part 2 – Carving the Ball

It’s been a little while since I’ve worked on this, but I got a little time to do some carving, so here’s the next installment of the series. Carving the feet for me follows a step-wise process that starts with the square foot, transitions to a cylinder, then a ball, and finally, the toes are shaped to finish it off. I find working this way to be more consistent for me than just winging it. In this installment, I’ll work on carving the ball of the ball and claw foot.


Episode #43: Dressing Table Part 1 – Ball & Claw Foot Layout

So I’m finally starting on the dressing table I alluded to some time ago. I’m not finished with the entertainment center yet, or the joint stool, but why would that stop me from starting yet another project :). Actually, I started this project back in November of 2010 when I did the ball & claw carving demo for the CJWA. I’m finally getting back to it after a 15 month hiatus. I hope I can remember how to carve these things ;).

Due to the complexity and time it takes me to carve ball & claw feet, I’m going to be breaking up the carving into several episodes. Keep in mind as you watch that I am far from an expert at these. I’ve probably carved a few dozen, which is nothing compared to masters who’ve done hundreds. I learned these by reading, watching a video or two, and just carving. I’ve never had any formal instruction, but I think I do an OK job. The methods I use are an amalgamation of techniques from lots of different cavers. The methods I use are by no means the only way, nor are they necessarily the best way, and they may not even be the correct way, depending upon who you ask. But they work for me. They may not be museum quality, but they’re perfectly acceptable for a piece of furniture for my own house.

If this style of furniture interests you, I encourage you to seek out and study lots of period examples, read everything you can, watch videos, take a class if you can, but most importantly, get some practice wood (basswood makes good practice leg blanks) and actually do it. It’s not as hard as it looks, but you have to try it to learn it. I burned at least two before I carved a passable example. So just make a few basswood legs and get carving. After the first two or three, you’ll likely be making legs that are perfectly fine for a piece of furniture for your house. Most of all, have fun! After all, that’s the reason we do this stuff!


New Year, New Project

I can’t believe that 2011 is over already. I’m continually amazed at how much faster time seems to tick by after having kids. I feel like I didn’t do much in terms of content for the blog and podcast this year. Of course the first few months of the year were spent moving the site to the new host and server, but I still feel like this year was a little thin on content.

So my resolution for the new year is to try and keep the site more active, especially when it comes to video content. I know I’ve said this before, but I’d like to try and post video more often, but have the episodes perhaps be a little shorter in order to post them more frequently. Maybe a little less editing too, we’ll see.

At any rate, thanks to everyone who reads and watches for another year of your support, suggestions, questions, comments and kind words. It’s a real pleasure for me to share my journey through the craft with you. It pleases me to no end to watch our craft grow, and see the interest in hand tools and historical practices continue to rise. We as hobbyists and individual craftsmen and women are truly the future of the craft.

So remember to pass it on, and I hope you all have a wonderful and prosperous New Year! See you in 2012!

Ball & Claw Legs