Thursday, 23 January 2014

The claw feet of the sella curulis

The carving of the claw-feet for the sella curulis proved to be more easy and much quicker than the carving of the eagle heads. All in all, it took me a week's time - during the Christmas holidays - to finish the four claw feet. In the photo's below I will show you the process of carving the clawed feet. First, I made a test foot from a spare piece of pear wood. While doing this I changed my mind on the projection of the claws. My first plan was to have the claw-nails projecting outward, as if they were poised to grasp a prey. However, this have would produced brittle points, that would easily break off during transport or while sitting on the chair at an uneven surface. My solution was to have the claw-nails pointing inwards, as if they were already holding a prey.

The test piece on the right and a partly carved claw on the left.
The claw nails are pointed inwards, leaving the edges rounded and less prone to breaking off.

The front side and view underneath the claw feet.  

First I made drawing guide of a piece of paper that was cut out in the form of the claw. This ensured that the feet more or less looked the same.  The pattern was transferred to the wood and at the bottom of the feet some connecting lines were drawn. A thin line was sawn between the two parallel claws and the claw claws were carved using a carving knife, as well as some gouges (sweep 3-20, 5-20, 7-6 and 8-7) and the abegglen knife (see previous post). I continued by carving the oval gap between the claws and then followed by further rounding of the claw nails. The nails were sanded to a smooth finish afterwards.

Left: the paper drawing guide and the pencil lines of the claws. Right: You can see the guidance lines at bottom of the two feet.


A small saw line was made between the parallel claws. On the right you can see the pencil lines to guide the carving.

First the oval gap between the claws was carved, the the separation line of the nails, and then the nails were further rounded.

The nails were sanded to a smooth finish.

For the upper part of the claw feet some scales were planned. The scales were first drawn with a pencil, then the outlines were cut by pushing the 8-7 sweep gouge into the wood and followed by making the cut wider with the 7-6 sweep gouge.

 Left: These two small gouges were used to cut the scales of the feet. Right: The pencil scales.  

The finished claw feet with still some pencil marks left. The initial cut was made by the 8-7 sweep gouge (the upper line of the scale); then the cut was widened by the 7-6 sweep gouge (the lower line of the scale).

Now all the carving has been done, the next step will be the gilding of the head and feet, which will feature in another post.

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