Hand Cutting Ornamental Mouldings.

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Adam W.

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This is hived off from the Tabernacle Frame thread to keep that about picture frames and also prevent it from becoming a thread about shopping!

As the title says it's about hand cutting stuff which you need a small amount of to finish or make a repair.

WARNING!

There may be a bit about $ha*pening and even bevels (god forbid!). Your sharpening mileage may vary from mine however, and I'm OK with that. If you want to argue about it, please start another thread as it's incidental to what this thread is really about........Doing stuff by hand in short runs.
Sharpening blather is that way .....


First up pearls, beads and bead and reel.

I've lumped these together as they all start off with an astragal or torus moulding, cut with a moulding plane, router or bought from a shop.

Pearls & Beads


With a V chisel, knife, pencil or any other marking device, mark out the spacing of the gaps on the moulding.

You can measure, I don't bother and eyeball it as mine's going to be gilded and covered in gesso and a slight difference reveals its hand cut nature.

Remember......"The sculptural qualities of the workshop" or how to excuse wonky work.


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With a suitable half round gouge, in this case a 9/5 ( 9 being the sweep and 5 being the size in mm), work along the top of the moulding cutting into the waste with the gouge held bevel up, lifting the handle up as you form the curve.

This forms the bead and the trough between them.

Make the cuts meet up and the waste falls out. It's important to get rid of the waste as you go, as this reduces the pressure on the shape and stops it splitting off. Sweep the floor around you before you start and anything which does fall off, pick up and glue it back on the right way around. You can cover it with tape to hold it in place and come back later and clean it up.

Whatever you do, don't try to flick the waste out with the tool, as you'll send the carved bit flying across the shop.


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Again with the bevel up, cut 90º to the previous cuts and form the dome of the pearl. As before start with the handle low......


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....push it over the dome and finish with it vertical.

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My gouges have no internal bevel, as to make this cut with one I'd have to lift the gouge past 90º and there's no space for that. Plus it makes sharpening more difficult than it needs to be and I just can't be bothered with that, as you may have noticed from other threads.

I'm working right to left, then I work the other way like a typewriter...backwards... and forwards doing exactly the same cut all the way along.

I also carve left handed and right handed, so that I don't have to turn the work around or twist my body into weird positions.

Chop out the waste with the V chisel and tidy up.



IMG_0368.JPG




Easy, no ?



But ........ you need a hair raisingly sharp gouge for this, especially in soft material like spruce, which is what I'm using.

Bead and reel next up...tomorrow.
 
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NickM

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Thanks for this. I bought a small set of carving chisels a little while ago but haven’t used them yet, but this is great inspiration. I need to practice sharpening them as well…
 

bobblezard

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Thanks Adam, I'll move the chat over to this thread.
I'll have a look through my kit and see if I can do without going shopping but will probably end up buying. I would like a moulding plane of the correct size bit may end up buying a router cutter...
My carving to date has been slow and trying but I've ended up with some reasonable results. All much bigger stuff though. I can get a gouge pretty sharp with a polished bevel... As a lefty I'm used to swapping hands about but far from ambidextrous. I'll be huffing and puffing a bit but I'll give it a go...
 
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Adam W.

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@bobblezard You're welcome.

A router would work just fine. You could probably get away with a small chisel instead of the other gouges, but it would take longer.

For your one a block plane might do the job, as there's no fillet to worry about.
 
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Adam W.

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Bead and Reel

Next in line is bead and reel, which can be cut in either an astragal or ovolo with fillets.

Mine's in an ovolo at the top of the predella surbase on the tabernacle frame.

IMG_0388.JPG


It's quite nice ornament and is a little bit more tricky to cut than the pearls, but not much and it looks fancy.

*This is pretty much all cut with the bevel up.*

Starting with a V chisel or regular chisel mark out the centers of the reels and its width. This one needs to be stepped off with dividers otherwise they'll look odd.

IMG_0378.JPG


Remove the waste on either side of the reel and also in the middle to reduce the pressure for the next cuts. If you don't do this the reel might break off.

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With a gouge which is the same width of the gap between the reels and having a sweep of about 5 to make a nice curve, push hard down into the ovolo to cut the shape top and bottom. Use the edge of the gouge to run along the top and bottom edge of the bead and remove the waste.

With a narrow gouge sweep 7 or so, cut along each end of the bead with the bevel up and sink the gouge gradually deeper into the moulding, cutting towards the reel to make the bead taper at its ends.

Mind you don't cut into the reel and chop it off. Cut off the waste with the same gouge you cut the edges of the reel with and use a V gouge to clean it up where it meets the fillet.


IMG_0379.JPG


You may need to do this a couple of times to get the beads shape and the taper right.

Clean it all up using the corners of the gouges to run in the corners of the bead along the vertical edge of the fillet and make the tops of the reels pointy and tidy.

That's it....Except the finished article is neater than the last photo in this post.

Next up Egg and Dart......
 
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Adam W.

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Egg and Dart.

This is another ornamental moulding which makes use of a ovolo with two fillets and is used frequently in classical architecture on cornices and picture frames in conjunction with other ornamentation.

The one I'm going to illustrate is from a 15th century Della Robbia heraldic shield made originally in terracotta and polychromed. It's overly chunky so that it looks like terracotta when it's polychromed and I also like a beefy frame.

I made the complete frame from one length of spruce and cut the ovolo in the normal way.

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Starting with a chamfer and moulding a Grecian ovolo, which has a compound curve and two fillets.

I like the Grecian ovlo, as it gives a nicer more eggier, egg shape.



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Spaced out the centers of the egg and darts with dividers and using a template I drew all of the eggs and borders for the shells or cup, if you like.

Cutting straight down with a stabbing motion, cut out the shape of the egg and removed the waste to form the curvature of the egg with a large shallow gouge used bevel up.


IMG_4543.JPG



Make sure to leave a flat in the centre of the egg, as this provides a reference point and helps to gauge the depth of the cut for the egg. This gets tidied up at the end, but it's essential that it's kept throughout the carving, otherwise the eggs will rise up and down, which would look weird


IMG_4547.JPG



Cutting, cutting, cutting up and down the moulding doing repetitive cuts using the inside shape of the gouges to form a nice egg shape and creating the internal slope of the shell when the waste is removed.

See how spaces for the miters are left between the sets of eggs...

IMG_4546.JPG


I then joined the frame and cut the pointy darts between the cups and formed the outside of the shell at the same time by stabbing down the outside of the shell and forming the dart when I removed the waste with the second cut.

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I can easily gauge the shapes of the elements when the frame was joined, as they were opposing each other.

Plonked a mitered cornice on it and cut a palm and dart pattern into it and around the returns.


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And a fern at the mitres on the frame.

And we're done and ready for gesso and polychrome.

IMG_4576.JPG


Not sure what's next up, maybe guilloché. Small egg and dart on a curved Roman ovolo, guilloché later.
 
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bobblezard

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This is all really inspiring. My first efforts at bead moulding looked pretty uniform but tatty. It was in oak though. Will practice a bit more in something easier
 

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