Here is the process of carving a very simple acanthus leaf on the inside miter of egg and dart molding. These are used to make a nice transition at the corner. Sometimes they are very complex and detailed, and sometimes they are just barely an image of an acanthus leaf. But it is definitely a way to tell if something is hand-carved or not.
Generally, the leaf intercepts the egg about half way, or a little over half way – so that the leaf gently flows over the egg. This is where you may have to adjust the width of the egg and dart design to make sure it does not end up having the acanthus leaf overlap at the dart.
I generally carve these leaves before the corner is joined, and do any adjustments later. The main reason for this is it can sometimes be awkward to carve into a corner – especially more detailed leaves. Since the actual mitered corner is not carved (at the vein), there should be no reason why that edge does not join cleanly.
Another reason I have not carved this leaf after joining it is the size of it would not fit on my workbench.
It’s funny looking at the photos. You can tell I use my workbench as a note-book. I don’t even realize that I have phone numbers that I jotted down quickly as I am carving. Looks like I might need to erase some, or poor Dawn might get some phone calls (can’t even remember who she is).