Friday, December 13, 2013
The Georgian Bedstead, Part Four ~ Turning and Carving the Lower Bedpost Sections.
You can’t afford to take any chances with expensive wood, especially if the supply is limited. I took a short piece of pine, made it up in the same way as the posts just described and put it on the lathe to turn a trial of the urn that adorns the upper end of the leg section. This way you see whether the theoretical design does in fact please the eye. If so, then from it you take exact dimensions in order to copy the form four times. If you are lucky enough to own a duplicating lathe, then the trial piece may be mounted as template which will give you four exact copies mechanically.
Next job is to make a careful drawing for the carving on the urn and transfer this design to the workpiece. I intended to carve four acanthus leaves around the urn. The transference can be done with carbon paper, but I prefer to make small cardboard templates and trace around them. The first templates I made were too skinny – I hadn’t allowed enough for the varying circumference of the urn. Before starting to carve I made a measured drawing of the trial urn, which serve as the standard for four posts. Some carving on the trial piece is a good idea to test the concept, but there’s no need to carve the entire urn. I went about halfway around. This is helpful too as you learn and note which gouges will do best at the different parts of the carving. After carving the same motif for a while you get in the swing of it and will automatically reach for the right tool, but at first this is difficult to remember, so when chopping in the trial carving I labelled a copy of my acanthus drawing at every different curve with the identity of each tool used.
A final note. I am taking a large number of reference photos during this ongoing project. I am posting up the most relevant with this blog, and a very few of the most interesting ones on my Flickr site. For those interested in yet deeper detail I have all my pictures in a folder 'on the cloud' at my "Dropbox" site. Upon request I will be happy to send you a link to my Dropbox folder, and here below is a link to the 'Georgian Bed' set on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/a_henwood/sets/72157635480669119/