Ball and Claw Feet
How to carve them
Synopsis: Alastair A. Stair takes you on a journey across cultures in this history of the ball-and-claw foot and its regional variations, in terms of how the muscles are carved, how the claw is angled or curved, and the overall tension shown in the piece.
When combined with a cabriole leg, the ball and claw foot is a well-known furniture support dating back to ancient times. The industrial version is hardly recognizable—reason enough for every interested craftsman to develop his own.
Few amateurs are satisfied with their ball and claw carvings. To illustrate the process, I’ve chosen cabriole legs with ball and claw feet made for a wing chair. To many craftsmen, shaping cabriole legs is an uncertain process, but this step-bystep procedure should be simple to follow. The ball and claw foot on a tripod table requires the same basic carving cuts, but the claw placement is different—the…