Carve a Decorative Fan
Use a handful of gouges and chisels to make this Queen Anne relief carving
Synopsis: The visual centerpiece of Phil Lowe’s Queen Anne lowboy is this carved fan, which decorates the bottom center drawer. This motif was a popular element for this period, and is a fairly simple relief carving to master.
From Fine Woodworking #201
Cabriole legs may give a Queen Anne lowboy its signature grace, but the fan is its visual centerpiece.
The fan, which decorates the bottom center drawer of the lowboy (see pp. 62-69), was a popular element in Queen Anne furniture. It is a fairly simple relief carving that requires a handful of gouges and chisels.
I begin with the drawer front cut to size and its edge detail shaped. To lay out the fan, draw a baseline 1 1⁄4 in. from the bottom of the drawer front. From the center point of this line, draw a perpendicular line. Where these lines intersect, place the compass point and draw a half-circle the radius of the fan, a second one 1⁄4 in. smaller, and a third circle with a 3⁄4-in. radius.
Next, divide the semicircle into 12 equal pie-slice segments. You can use a protractor to mark the 15° segments, or you can use 45° and 30°-60°-90° drafting triangles anchored to a straightedge held parallel to the baseline. Make certain the scribe marks extend inside the smallest circle and beyond the largest one.
Broad strokes set the background: To begin carving, match a carving gouge to the radius of the inner hub. Use a mallet to drive overlapping vertical cuts about 1⁄4 in. deep. Also deepen the baseline on either side of the hub, using a straight chisel for cuts that are shallow at the outer arc but 1⁄4 in. deep at the hub.
The fan’s illusion of depth comes in part from the fact that the rays are recessed at the fan’s hub and flush with…