Last week I taught a very interesting class at Marc Adams in Indianapolis on carving on a turned post. We started by carving an acanthus leaf on a flat surface in basswood, just to get the feel of how to carve the details on the leaf. Then we took that same leaf and carved it in the turned post – in walnut. Our class assistant, Mark, did a great job in turning the posts – there were a lot of profiles on this length of wood, and he turned 16 of them, all to match.
Laying out the designs on the curved surface was an interesting process. I showed my processes, and then I encouraged the students to come up with some creative ideas (this was a wonderful challenge for the engineers) of laying out straight lines on a curved surface and dividing the curved surface equally. One new clever way was to lay the piece of wood on a piece of carbon paper (carbon side up) and rub it against it. Where the marks appear, you can make a straight line connecting these points. Very clever! The best way to make these straight lines all the way up the length is keep it in the lathe and use an indexing ring. Well, they were already off the lathe when we got them, so we had to be a little more creative.
Laying out around the curved surface could be done in several ways – laying sticky tape around the surface so you can have the full circumference measurement. Lay that tape on a flat surface and divide it up accurately into 6 divisions (for our example) and mark the tape. Reposition the tape on the wood and transfer the marks to the wood.
Another way is to simply use calipers or compass to estimate the spacing (the fewer the segments, the easier for this process) and divide equally along the surface. It may take a few runs around the curve with reducing or expanding the compass width, but this process works quite well.
Then we carved 3 different styles of leaves – 2 were acanthus leaves and one was a laurel leaf. Then we carved bead molding, rope molding, tiny acanthus leaf molding,and egg and dart molding.
It was a difficult project with lots of challenges, but everyone did really well.
I was able to get some filming done of the laurel leaf, so that will be on the video web site soon.
I’m heading back from visiting my family in Missouri and then next week I’m off to Pasadena for the WIA (Woodworking in America) to demonstrate how to carve the ball and claw foot and the acanthus leaf on a knee.
Stop by and say HI!