Chip Carving: From the screen to the bench
For some time I’ve been interested in doing a chip carving project. I selected a Treasure Casket shown in a book by Paul Hasluck, “Manual of Traditional Wood Carving” and scanned the one-page illustration for import to SketchUp. Since there were three different scales used in the illustration, I had to scale-up three different images in SketchUp, each to full size.
On top of those three imported images I traced over various shapes of components and of carvings. You can see those trace overs in the following image from SketchUp. A following video shows the process I used to make the trace overs and components. There’s a second video on the workbench doing the actual chip carving on this casket.
This is a view of the front face trace over. There is much replication and symmetry in the carvings, so this minimized line and arc work, by copying “groups”, flipping, and rotating.
Using these trace overs, I built the components into the final SketchUp model as shown below.
Here is the inside view, with the Top hidden. Note details for the key lock and hinges.
My usual modeling effort in SketchUp is restrained to only that level of detail necessary to efficiently build in the shop. But in this case, I could not hold back interest in doing SketchUp work of no benefit to shop efficiency. This extra work was to remove material to replicate the chip carving shapes. So using the Move Tool, I was able to bend and fold the faces down 1/16-in. from the surface. The following video also shows this procedure.
Here is a close-up view of the 1/4-in. thick ledger plate used in the trinket casket with carved-out shapes.
From SketchUp, I printed full-size templates and stuck them on the face of the mahogany pieces. Here you see the front face of the trinket casket with the templates and carving in process.
Here if the completed mahogany piece finished with beeswax tinted with lampblack.