I now have a video lesson on carving the “angry swan” and also carving the scroll that appears on either side of the swan.
Scrolls (or sometimes referred to as volutes or spirals) are a fascinating shape in that they are traditionally based on the nautilus shell shape. Such a graceful shape created by the greatest designer ever! And we endeavor to recreate this shape in many of our carved designs – such as the violin scroll, the volute on an ionic capital, scrolls on Windsor chairs, etc.
The design I carved for this chair is very close to an actual nautilus shape. Often, carved scrolls end up being tighter and not splaying as wide towards the outside such as the volute on an Ionic capital.
If you wanted to draw a scroll by not using the mathematical technique (which works way better for me), keep in mind that there is one thing that all scrolls have in common – as the curve twists outward from the center, the distance between the edges always increases. These lines creating the edges of the spiral are never parallel.
I had heard that if you take a particular number gouge (let’s say a #7 curvature) and take a 2mm, 4mm, 6mm, and on up to whatever they go up to (50mm?) and start with the smallest mm in the center and make continuous cuts using increasing mm that this will create a perfect spiral scroll. Sad to say, I do not have all the curvatures that are required for this, so I never really did a full test (also if you have several different brands of tools, they are not all exact). But when I was teaching a class recently, one of my students had all #7’s from 2mm up to 35mm in the Pfeil brand (I am SO jealous). What an opportunity! I finally had an opportunity to test this theory. And it worked! If you are fortunate enough to have every width of every curvature (how many tools would that actually be??) give it a test! It actually created a very even, gentle scroll.
Maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to have every size tool – maybe when I’m retired?