The Expert Panel

The Christmas Meeting

February meeting 17th Century New England carving

17 century carving

We watched a DVD on New England 17 Century carving by Peter Follansby.   This was a bit controversial, as at previous meetings, when this had been suggested members had stayed away.    The DVD was very clear and introduced a subject that we are unlikely to get a speaker for in this country.     The laying out and carving were simple and much done by eye.   It seems from later experiments that the eye and the hand had to have considerable experience of the processes involved for them to be done with such ease.

17 century carving 2

The work was carved on green oak that Peter split direct from the log rather than sawn.    The outside was allowed to dry but the inside was green.   This apparently gave a crisp edge to the cuts, but an easy ride for the gouge / chisel through the wood.   The curves were scribed with  a compass with a sharpened metal metal points on each leg.     Only 6 tools were used.   Most work was done with a V tool.    This looked easy, but a skill that must a have taken lots of practice. The straight lines were scribed using a try square.    Any other elements relied on that eye again.

17 century carving 3

The little ) ( marks were made with two cuts of a gouge, again by eye.       It seemed that it did not matter what you did as long as you repeated the action in similar places in each pattern.   So a “mistake”, in that it was not what you originally intended, does not matter as long as you made the same “mistake” on each repetition of the pattern.     This felt wrong, but as long as you have not told anyone what it was going to look like, it does not matter.   In all it was a refreshing change to our current practice