An outstanding piece of furniture should be as inspiring in its details as in its overall form. The details that elevate Doug Mooberry’s mahogany chest of drawers are the starfish, shells, and ribbons that grace the perimeter of the top. They were carved by Steven Swann of Coatesville, Pa., who specializes in carving for furniture. Swann takes us through the major steps of the carving process here. But he cautions that one of the most critical steps comes before you pick up a gouge—carefully developing and laying out your design on the workpiece. For efficiency and for crisp carvings, he says, the curves of your design should match the sweep of your gouges. Punching the pattern. After transferring the design from paper to the workpiece, Swann uses gouges to “punch” the outlines of the starfish, shells, and ribbons. For greater control, he pushes the gouges rather than using a mallet. Custom base for a curved molding. He relieves the background of the carving with a 1/8-in.-dia., flat-bottomed, high-speed-steel bit in a laminate trimmer. A concave base keeps two points of contact on the bullnosed edge. Flattening the background. To clean up the background, Swann skims the surface with a double-beveled…
Sign up for eletters today and get the latest techniques and how-to from Fine Woodworking, plus special offers.
Start your 14-day FREE trial to continue reading this story.
Get instant access to all Fine Woodworking content when you try membership today!