Carving an Acanthus Leaf on a Tea Table Leg

2017-04-08T23:25:41-04:00 September 7th, 2016|

This is a brief introduction to "Carving an Acanthus Leaf on a Tea Table Leg."

This is the continuation of a Charleston Tea Table I have had in my shop for about 5 years. A traditional tea table is a pedestal table which is typically supported by three, low legs. This design is just one more example of how endlessly versatile the acanthus leaf is.

The "Carving an Acanthus Leaf on a Turned Post" lesson was carved for the pedestal of this table and the "Carving the Ball and Claw Foot" lesson will teach you how to carve the traditional choice of foot for these table legs. Forgive the SD (standard definition) of my older lessons. One day, I will get around to upgrading some of the more popular lessons.

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


  1. Richard McCormick August 31, 2017 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Mary, Any word on carving the ball and claw foot for the tea table? It appears that there are different approaches to carve this leg as it varies in shape from the typical “Philadelphia style” cabriole leg traditional to such furniture as the lowboy? Thanks very much!

    • MaryMay August 31, 2017 at 11:33 pm - Reply

      Hi Richard,
      I have on my “to do” list the ball and claw for a tea table and also the Newport ball and claw with the open talons. Not sure when, but they’ll get done one day!

  2. Richard McCormick September 1, 2017 at 11:07 am - Reply

    Thanks Mary, I am going to begin carving my tea table legs and ball and claw foot within the next few days. It appears from researching photos and reading through some of my older books (by Lester Margon and others) that the ball is actually a “half ball”? There appears to be no further rounding around the bottom of the ball? Also there appears to be no rear talon on the tea table foot. Would greatly appreciate any quick note of advice or general direction before I begin somewhat blindly on my assumptions mentioned. Thanks very much!

    • MaryMay September 6, 2017 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Richard,
      Yes, it is basically a “half ball” and there is a small rear talon. The angle of the ankle makes it difficult to use the method I use to carve the Philadelphia ball and claw foot (starting by creating a cylinder). Locating the “toes” are a challenge also. I will try and carve one for a lesson, but have not carved one for a while, so I need to review this. Or maybe I’ll just wing it and you all can see how I figure it out 🙂

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