Carving the Ball & Claw Foot

2017-07-03T16:40:57-04:00 August 29th, 2012|

Learn to carve this classic design that is often seen on American period furniture in the late 18th century. This video shows the complete process in 5 separate episodes (1-1/2 hours) of how to carve this historical detail.

  • Lesson Contents: 5 episodes; template, tool list, photo, and written instructions available in Episode 1
  • Type of Wood: Mahogany
  • Dimensions: See template for specific dimensions
  • Tool List: 5 or 6mm v-chisel; #3, 6mm; #3, 14mm; #5, 14mm; #8, 10mm; #8, 10mm, spoon-bent (optional)
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Casting Available: Having a 3-D reference is tremendously helpful and allows you to get an accurate assessment of the carving's size, shape, and depth.
= More Lessons at the Intermediate Skill Level =


  1. karey reese November 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Mary, This will be my first carving. Went to Woodcraft but they didn’t have any of the chisels of the size you suggested. Where online can I order them. Looking for quality chisels. Thank you

    • Mary May November 10, 2014 at 9:39 am - Reply

      Hi Karey,
      You can also try Stubai tools ( But if the gouges they have available are slightly larger or smaller, that will work also. As you will see on many of my videos, I don’t necessarily stick with “this is the only tool that can ever be used to make this cut”. Many options. You may want to order them online also, as they will have better inventory.

      Happy shopping!

  2. Hunter Hoskin January 29, 2017 at 10:42 am - Reply

    This is one of they hardest carvings i have ever seen but also one of my favrites they ball and claw. It is truly superb.

    • Mary May January 29, 2017 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Thank you! You should try it. Surprisingly once you get into it, it goes quite smoothly if you follow the step-by-step process.

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