Carving a Philadelphia Acanthus

2017-07-07T12:05:51-04:00 June 4th, 2014|

This four episode lesson is Part 1 of the "Philadelphia Highboy" series in which you will learn how to carve the decorative acanthus leaf design for the pediment of a Philadelphia Highboy. This particular carving is based on a Highboy I carved in 2006, blended with various designs I have seen in photographs and successfully maintains the integrity of the traditional Philadelphia style.

  • Series: Part 1 of 4 in the "Philadelphia Highboy"
  • Lesson Contents: 4 episodes; template, tool list, and photo in Episode 1
  • Type of Wood: Mahogany
  • Dimensions: 12-3/4"w x 7-1/2"h x 3/8"d
  • Tool List: 3mm v-chisel; 6mm v-chisel; #3, 6mm; #3, 18mm; #4, 14mm; #5, 8mm; #5, 14mm; #7, 6mm; #7, 10mm; #11, 3mm
  • Skill Level: Advanced

Lessons in this Series:

Carving a Cartouche

Carving a Philadelphia Rosette

Carving a Philadelphia Acanthus

I have plans to create a lesson for the Shell to complete the series. Stay tuned!

= More Lessons at the Advanced Skill Level =


  1. Steve Harris October 11, 2014 at 11:52 am - Reply

    this is such s beautiful carving and I am wondering if any sanding is done to remove any tool marks and flat spots or do you leave subtle tool marks? Thanks for all your teaching, eagerly await every new video.

    • Mary May October 11, 2014 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      This one is sort of borderline whether I will sand or not. I am tempted to leave it as is, but ultimately it will depend on how the client wants it. I may lightly go over the curved surfaces of the petals with fine sandpaper, but try to stay away from any sharp edges or sharp details. These rosettes are also about 8 feet in the air, so nobody will be staring at them 5 inches away studying the details (as HD cameras tend to do) :))

  2. Alex August 1, 2015 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    hola me gusta mucho tu trabajo es precioso vi un vídeo en youtube y me gusta la carpintería es fácil aprender yo lo veo muy difícil para mi

    Google Translate:
    hello I like your work is beautiful saw a video on youtube and I like carpentry is easy to learn I see it very difficult for me

    • Mary May August 4, 2015 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you! Please don’t stop because it is difficult. Take your time and have fun with it!

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