Scallop shells, stylized sunbursts and fans were popular carvings applied to Queen Anne, Georgian, and Chippendale furniture throughout the 18th Century. Carved by hand, decorative motifs like the one at right were commonly found on the aprons of highboys. They were also used to adorn the knees of cabriole legs and the fronts of central drawers.
A SAMPLING OF FAN AND SHELL MOTIFS
MAKING AND APPLYING A SCALLOP SHELL
Sculpting the shell surface
Draw the shell pattern full-size on a sheet of paper, then transfer your design to a hardwood blank of the desired thickness. Cut the edges of the blank on the band saw and fasten it to a backup board. Secure the backup board to a work surface. Start sculpting the surface of the shell using a flat gouge (above, left),
working in the direction... >
Carving has traditionally been the exclusive domain of artisans wielding hand tools. But, armed with a router and one of the jigs shown in this section, you can produce carvings similar to hand-wrought works.
Although most plunge bits can be used in router-caning, some cutters have specific applications. With their capacity for removing large quantities of waste, bowl bits, for example, are ideal for relief carving. A V-bit can be used for producing serifs in lettering, while veining and lettering bits, excel at creating the lines typical of incised letters. It is easiest to feed the router with a pulling
motion, rather than pushing it along, so set up your operations accordingly.
There are few hard and fast rules in carving, so it is a good idea to practice your cuts on scrap mater... >
PREPARING THE SIDE PANELS FOR ADJUSTABLE SHELVING
Drilling holes for shelf supports
Cut the side panels of the bookcase to width and length, then set them inside-face up on a work surface. The commercial jig shown above enables you to bore two parallel rows of holes in the side panels at 1-inch intervals and ensures that corresponding holes will be perfectly aligned. Clamp the jig to the edges of one panel; the holes can be any distance from the panel edges, but about 2 inches in would be best for the secretary. Fit an electric drill with a bit the same diameter as the sleeves >
and install a stop collar to mark the drilling depth equal to the sleeve length...
A marvel of green woodworking, the white cedar bird shown in this section seems to defy logic. Made from a single piece of cedar, its wing feathers form a 3 14-inch-wide fan that stays in place without a single drop of glue.
Using a technique developed by the late Chester Nutting, Edmond Menard of Cabot, Vermont, crafted the white cedar bird shown at left. Sliced from a single block of fresh wood, the bird’s feathers spread out easily when the wood is wet, but lock into place when the wood dries. Menard has made more than 50,000 birds since 1976; he can carve a bird in under 10 minutes.
The key to success with this technique is to use freshly cut white cedar, which is pliable as long as it stays moist... >
MAKING AND INSTALLING THE QUARTER COLUMNS
1 Making the columns
Cut a blank several inches longer than the finished length of the columns, and wide and thick enough for the number of quarter columns you need. Rip the blank into quarters, joint the inside surfaces of the pieces, then glue and clamp them back together with newspaper in between (inset, top). This will enable you to pull the columns apart easily. Once the glue is dry, mount the blank on a lathe. Mark two lines on the blank for the length of the column and indicate the waste with Xs (inset, bottom). Drive screws through the waste sections to hold the quarters together. Adjust a set of outside calipers to the desired diameter of the column, then turn the blank into a cylinder as you did for the finials (page 131)... >
Once the frame for the fall-front has been assembled and hinged to the desk unit, the leather top can be glued to the inside face. The leather should be cut slightly larger than the recess. Use contact cement, hide glue, or thick wallpaper paste to attach the material to the surface. Trim it to size with a craft knife, then smooth it down with a hand roller, as shown at left. The leather should be treated with glycerine saddle soap once a year.
Fall-front frame stock
Shaping the frame edges
Cut the four frame pieces for the fall-front from a single board. But before making these cuts, shape one edge of the board... >
This section features two time-tested methods for permanently joining legs to the rails of a piece of furniture: the mortise-and-tenon joint and the dowel joint. Two more contemporary ways are also featured; both involve using knock-down leg hardware—suitable for furniture that must be taken apart and reassembled periodically.
To some extent, the type of leg will dictate the way you join it to the rails. You would be unlikely, for example, to use a hanger bolt to fix a cabriole leg to a fine ffame-and-panel cabinet. A mor – tise-and-tenon joint would be a more appropriate choice.
There are several techniques for making the mortise-and-tenon. You can use a table saw to cut the tenons (page 104);
the mortises can be bored with a router (page 50) or a drill press (page 106)... >
straight. The most common element of cabriole legs is the S-shaped curve, which is meant to suggest the grace and elegance of a horse’s leg.
The design shown below will yield an attractive, well-proportioned leg strong and stable enough to support a piece of furniture. You can alter the pattern to suit your own project or copy the design of an existing leg that appeals to you. However, do not exaggerate the curves too much or you risk making the leg unstable. Before cutting into the block of wood, perform this simple test on your design: Draw a straight line from the top of the leg to
MAKING A CABRIOLE LEG
Designing a cabriole leg
For a template, cut a piece of stiff cardboard or hardboard to the same length and width as your leg blanks... >
PUSH STICKS AND PUSH BLOCKS
Making push sticks and push blocks
Push sticks and push blocks for feeding stock across the table of a stationary power tool can be made using %-inch plywood or solid stock. No one shape is ideal; a well – designed push stick should be comfortable to use and suitable for the machine and task at hand. For most cuts on a table saw, design a push stick with a 45° angle between the handle and the base (right, top). Reduce the handle angle for use with the radial arm saw. The notch on the bottom edge must be deep enough to support the workpiece, but shallow enough not to contact the saw table. The long base of a rectangular push stick (right, middle) enables you to apply downward pressure on a workpiece... >