Carving a Classic Scallop Shell

2017-04-11T21:23:24-04:00 August 18th, 2012|

See the step-by-step process of carving a classic style scallop shell that is often seen on Queen Anne furniture.

  • Lesson Contents: 3 episodes; template, tool list, and photo is available in Episode 1
  • Type of Wood: Mahogany
  • Dimensions: 4-1/2"w x 4"h
  • Tool List: 5 or 6mm v-chisel; #3, 6mm; #3, 14mm; #5, 14mm; #7, 14mm; #8, 10mm
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
= More Lessons at the Intermediate Skill Level =


  1. Thomas Butler March 18, 2015 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Mary Tom butler here from your recent weekend class at Ct Valley school March 7 and 8. I have a red oak stairs ( 4 newel posts made by me and the rest is stock parts) I would like to top each of the newel posts with square caps and on the top of the caps apply a carved scallop shell. Now how hard is it to carve red oak?

    • Bob Easton March 19, 2015 at 5:59 am - Reply

      Hi Tom,
      Mary will likely be along sometime with her answer, but I can offer an answer based on my own experience with red oak.

      Red Oak is a little tougher, although not much, than the mahogany you might have carved in Mary’s class, and clearly a lot tougher than the basswood.

      Yet, I’ve found it not at all difficult to work with. The project you describe should turn out very well. Don’t hesitate trying it.

      As always, keep your tools sharp.

      When you carve one or more that you like, show us a picture in the “Student’s Gallery.”

    • Mary May March 19, 2015 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Tom,
      Go for it! I agree with Bob. One thing you will probably find is that you will use a mallet a lot more than with basswood!

  2. Robert Clemens February 8, 2016 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Hello Mary. I just finished the scallop shell. I’m a new member, but have been woodworking for quite a while. I have wanted to integrate carving into my furniture projects for a long time, but was daunted at the thought. Your instruction is invaluable. I just wish I had found you sooner. Thank you.

    • Mary May February 10, 2016 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      Thanks Robert! Glad to get you hooked on carving!

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