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Title: A Manual of Wood Carving
Author: Leland, Charles G.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  [Illustration: PANEL.    _P. 124._]




  _Late Director of the Public Industrial Art School of Philadelphia;
  Member (Committee) of the Home Arts and Ind. Assn.; also Comm. Member
  of the French-American and Hungarian Folk Lore Societies; Pres.
  British Gypsy Lore Soc., &c.; Author of "The Minor Arts," "Twelve
  Manuals of Arts," "Practical Education," "Album and Handbook of
  Retoussé Work," &c. &c._



  _Associate Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers, London;
  Corresponding Member of the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia; Member
  of the British Horological Institute; Examiner, City and Guilds of
  London; Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education, &c. &c._




This manual, like that on Drawing and Designing, previously published,
is intended to form one of a series in furtherance of the principles
set forth in Mr. Leland's work on "Practical Education." It has rarely
happened that a volume such as this latter, proposing (as one critic
declared) nothing less than a complete revolution in Education, has
been so favourably received by the public, and so highly approved by
competent authorities, as was the case with it. Should it be unknown
to any friends of educational reform into whose hands this handbook
may fall, it is to be hoped that they will think it worth while to
make themselves acquainted with the principles upon which Mr. Leland's
practical manuals are based.

As regards this in particular, it may be observed that it is almost the
only one which treats Wood-carving in a general and extended sense, and
regards it as an art widely applicable to ornamentation, and not one
confined to small _chefs-d'oeuvre_ and prize toys, facsimiles of fruit
and leaves, or the like. It is the first book in which the sweep-cut,
which is the very soul of all good and bold carving, has ever been
described. It may be added that the work has derived great advantage
from the friendly interest taken in it by Mr. John J. Holtzapffel, for
which the thanks of both author and publishers are due.


  Woods, Tools, and Sharpening                                       1

  Indenting and Stamping                                            15

  Cutting Grooves with a Gouge                                      22

  Flat Patterns made with cuts and lines--Cavo Relievo or Intaglio
  Rilevato (Cavo-cutting)                                           28

  Cutting out a Flat Panel with a Ground                            34

  Cutting Simple Leaves--Carving with the Left Hand--Modelling or
  Rounding--Shaded Patterns and Modelling--Progress towards Relief  39

  Cutting with the Grain--Turning the Tool--the Drill--Bold
  Carving--and large work                                           44

  The Sweep-cut or Free-hand Carving--Cutting Notches in
  Leaves--the Round-cut                                             49

  Further application of the Sweep-cut to Higher Relief             53

  Carving Simple Figures or Animal Forms--Figurini for
  Cabinets--Simple Rounded Edges and approach to Modelling          59

  Finishing off--Imitation of old and worn work--Where Polishing
  is required                                                       64

  Diaper-work--Stamped Diaper-patterns--Cutting Diapers             69

  Building-up, or Appliqué work                                     75

  Carving in the Round                                              79

  On the Use of the Saw                                             83

  Incised, Intaglio, or Sunk Carving                                86

  Carving Curved Surfaces: Cocoa-nuts, Bowls, Horns, Casks,
  Tankards, etc.                                                    93

  Bosses, Knobs, Bars, and Polished Ornaments                      101

  To Repair Wood-Carving--Glue--Nitric Acid Glue--Preparing
  Decayed Wood--Artificial Wood--Fillers--Spraying--To make Glue
  "take"                                                           105

  Colouring Wood-work--Oiling--Soda--Stains and Dyes--Ivorying
  Surfaces--Black Dyes and Ink                                     110

  Making Moulds or Squeezes for Wood-Carvers                       115

  Spot Cutting                                                     118

  Objects for Wood-Carving                                         121


  DECORATIVE PANEL                          _Frontispiece_
  PANEL IN LOW-RELIEF                 _to face page_    40
  CIRCULAR PANEL IN HIGHER RELIEF         "     "       56
  HEAD BY CIVITALE                        "     "       82
  MINIATURE FRAME                         "     "      128




Skill in wood-carving, as in every other art, is to be attained only by
thoroughness. Let the pupil therefore bear in mind that he or she must
be careful to master the _first_ lessons, and to go no further until
these can be executed with ease and accuracy. This will be greatly aided
if the book is read with care, and not used for mere reference.

TEACHERS will please observe that the work is in a regular series of
progressive lessons, the first being extremely easy; and that these
lessons lead so gradually one to another that the last are no harder
than the first to one who has gone on carefully from the beginning. This
will be found to aid teaching and self-instruction greatly.

Every item of information will be found under its proper head, and not
scattered here and there through different chapters: for every lesson
is complete in itself, and from the first the pupil is taught how to
produce some satisfactory work of its kind. Thus, indenting or stamping,
which can be learned at once, and grooving with a gouge, which is not
more difficult, are capable of producing very beautiful decoration even
if the worker goes no further. No writer has, indeed, ever seriously
considered what valuable and varied results may be produced by these
simple processes.

Finally, the author has endeavoured in these pages to treat wood-carving
not merely as a fine art, whose chief aim is to produce specimens
of fancy work for exhibitions, and facsimiles of flowers, never to
be touched, but also to qualify the learner for a calling, and what
nine-tenths of all practical wood-carving really consists of, that is,
house and other large decoration, and of work which is to be perhaps
painted, and exposed to the air. There is no reason why the artist
should not be prepared to undertake figure-heads for ships, garden
gates, cornices for roofs and rooms, dados, door panels, and similar
work, as well as mere drawing-room toys, which should have no finish
save the delicate touch of the cutting tool.

The author would observe as regards this work that he has been under
very great obligation to Mr. John J. HOLTZAPFFEL, Assoc. M. Inst.
C.E., whose name is so well known to all workers in wood and metal,
for revisions, suggestions, and addition of the chapter on the use
of the saw in carving. He is also indebted to Mr. CADDY, teacher of
wood-carving in Brighton for valuable suggestions.

TOOLS AND IMPLEMENTS. The first and most important is a strong, and, if
possible, a _heavy_ table or bench. If the pupil cannot afford this,
an ordinary small kitchen table must be found. It should be used for
carving alone, as it will be necessary to bore holes and drive screws
into it. But if a table cannot be spared for this, the pupil must make
shift by putting a board at least an inch in thickness on a common table
and fastening it with clamps. At a more advanced stage he will carve
standing up at a higher bench, or with his work on a stand. Pupils in
wood-carving "shops" often carve standing from the beginning.

[Illustration: _a_ _b_]

_Carving Tools_ are generally divided into two classes: chisels, which
are flat at the end and in the blade; and gouges, which are hollow.
Among professional wood-carvers the former is generally known as a
_firmer_, in order to distinguish it from the chisel used by carpenters.
A carver's chisel is always ground on _both_ sides, so as to form a
wedge like a very high, steep roof (_a_), while that of the carpenter is
a stouter implement, its edge being like a wedge which is flat on _one_
side (_b_), as it is only ground on the other. The object of grinding
carvers' chisels on _both_ sides is that there are many cuts which
cannot be executed by a carpenter's chisel at all, or at least not with
ease, for one would be obliged, while using it, to continually turn it

  [Illustration: Fig. 1 _a_.



_Carvers Chisels or Firmers_, Fig. 1 _b_, are of many and all sizes,
from an inch in breadth down to the "pick," which, across the end or
edge, is no wider than a small hyphen (-). To these may be added the
"skew-chisels," also called "skews" or "corner-firmers," which are
firmers ground off diagonally, so that the point is on one side. These
are also sharpened on both sides.

[Illustration: Fig. 1 _b_. FIRMERS.]

[Illustration: Figs. 2-5. GOUGES.]

_Gouges_, Figs. 2-5, are chisels more or less rounded. These, of all
widths, vary from the _extra flat_, which is so slightly curved that
it might at a casual glance be taken for an ordinary chisel, to the
ordinary "flat." A little more bend or convexity gives the _scroll
gouge_. A semi-circle or any narrower portion of the same curve is a
_hollow gouge_, the smaller sizes of which are called _veiners_, the
very smallest of the latter being known as _eye-tools_. There are some
differences of names for these among writers, as well as workmen, but
for all practical purposes the terms here used may be accepted, and are
understood by all who sell the tools.

[Illustration: Fig. 6. BENT TOOLS.]

_Bent Tools._ Both chisels and gouges are made straight, or bent or
curved in the shank. It often happens that in deep cutting, or in
hollowed spaces, it is impossible to cut with an implement having a
straight shaft, while with one differently shaped the wood can be easily
removed, Fig. 6.

_Holdfasts._--_Carver's Screws_, and _Clamps_, _Hand Screws_, _Bench
Screws_, _&c._ As the carver holds his tool with one hand and directs it
with the other, it is evident that some means must be taken to secure in
place the piece of work which he cuts.

I. The simplest method of doing this is to drive three or four nails or
screws into the table at a convenient distance. The work may be held
between these to prevent its slipping.

[Illustration: Fig. 7. HOLDFAST AND SAW TABLE.]

II. HOLDFASTS.--_Clamps_ or _Cramps_, Fig. 7. These cramps are small
iron frames, like three sides of a square, with a screw in the under
limb. They are used on the edge of the table to hold the work firmly
down to its surface; two or more are always employed. Their fault is
that they indent and damage the work; a piece of waste wood may be
interposed between the work and the upper limb to prevent this, but
such a guard is generally in the way and otherwise objectionable. _Hand
Screws_, Figs. 8 and 9, are a far better tool, entirely free from the
above-named objection. They consist of two strips of hard wood rounded
at the one end, or jaws, and two screws, also of wood, one of which
passes through both jaws, and the other through only one; the end of
this second screw entering a recess made in the other jaw to retain
it in position. To use them the handles are grasped firmly in the two
hands, and the hands are revolved around one another away from you,
which causes the jaws to open exactly parallel with one another. When
the opening between the jaws equals the thickness of the work and the
table, the hand screws are slipped over them, and the second screw then
alone receives an extra half turn, this throws the jaws slightly out of
parallelism, and effects a powerful grip upon the work at their points.
They are exceedingly powerful also in holding work for gluing together
and other purposes, and are made of all sizes.

  [Illustration: Fig. 8.    Fig. 9.


[Illustration: Fig. 10. CARVERS' SCREWS.]

III. _Carvers' Screws_, Fig. 10. These are iron screws about 12 or 14
in. long, with a finer pointed screw, like that of a gimlet, at the one
end, and a square at the other; on the screw is a winged or fly nut. To
use them the point is screwed firmly into the under side of the work,
with the fly nut removed and used as a lever by one of the holes in
its wings placed on the square on the end of the shaft. The shaft is
then passed through a hole made through the top of the bench or table,
and the fly nut replaced on the screw below the table to fix the work
down to it. The screws are long, which is sometimes convenient, but if
the work be thin it is usual to put a block of waste wood on the shaft
before the fly nut, to avoid the tedium of having to screw the latter up
a long way. Slackening the nut enables the work to be turned round to
any required position, and there is nothing above the table except the

IV. _Snibs or Dogs_, Figs. 11, 12. These are pieces of wood screwed
down to the table, which hold the panel or other piece of work by a
projection. They are easily made by simply sawing out a piece of wood
fairly corresponding in thickness to the panel.

  [Illustration: Fig. 11.    Fig. 12.


[Illustration: Fig. 13.]

V. Take an ordinary "button," Fig. 13, such as is common on cupboards in
country cottages to fasten the door. Saw out a piece of the panel, one
or more inches square. Put the screw through the button and turn it over
the panel and the little waste piece of wood. Two or more of these will
hold the work perfectly fast.

VI. The simplest method of all is to leave about an inch at either end
of the panel and pass screws through these extra portions into the
table. When the work is carved these ends may be sawn off.

[Illustration: Fig. 14. SCRATCH.]

_The Scratch_, Fig. 14. This is a very convenient and ingenious tool.
"It is used," says J. S. Gibson ("The Wood-Carver," Edinburgh, 1889),
"for running small mouldings and hollows. Where the lines are long
and straight it makes finer work than is possible by means of gouges.
The cutters are made from pieces of steel barely 1-16th of an inch
thick. Broken pieces of saws are generally used for cutters. They must
be tightly fixed in the stock. It is worked backwards and forwards
gently. When the cutters are filed to the required shape, they have
to be finished with a slip stone to take out the file marks. They are
sharpened straight across the edges."

[Illustration: Fig. 15. ROUTER.]

_The Router_, Fig. 15. This is a small copy of the joiner's plane of the
same name. It consists of a block of wood with a perfectly flat sole; a
hole through it at an angle carries the cutter and the wedge by which it
is fixed. It is employed for flattening the groundwork after that has
been partially excavated with the chisels. The sole of the router rests
upon any margins left of the original surface, and being worked about
over the ground, the fixed projection of the cutter rapidly reduces the
latter to one true level. These routers are made from about nine inches
long in the sole to about three inches, the smallest, which little tools
have cutters about 1-8th of an inch wide.

[Illustration: Fig. 16. FRET BOW SAW.]

_Saws._ These are of various kinds; perhaps the most useful is the Fret
Bow Saw, Fig. 16. This consists of a light thin steel frame with screw
jaws, at the open end in which the thin saw-blades are clamped. The
handle is also formed as a screw, by which its jaw can be advanced about
an inch towards its fellow. To place the saw in position for work, the
end of the handle is screwed round until its jaw has advanced about an
inch, the saw is then fixed in the opposite jaw by its thumb-screw,
then in the handle jaw in the same way, after which the handle is turned
until its jaw has travelled back again the distance it had previously
advanced, thus straining the saw by the tension of the steel spring
saw-frame. This saw is very useful for removing superfluous pieces from
the outline, both in flat works and when carving in the round, as will
be explained; its primary purpose is for cutting out pierced and buhl
and fretwork, but for such work, as the apertures cut do not always cut
out to the edges, a drill is required to pierce holes to thread the
saw through the work before it is placed in the second jaw to strain
it. Fig. 16 is required for pierced work laid down on a ground and
then carved, a style of carving which will be described. The ordinary
joiners "dovetail" or "tenon" saws, their blades with stiff backs, are
required, and are almost indispensable for cutting off portions of the
work and trimming it to shape; these saws are too well known to require

[Illustration: Fig. 17. KNUCKLE-BEND.]

In addition to the tools already described, the pupil will need for
more and varied work the following:--I. _The Spade Chisel_, and _Spade
Gouge_. These are very light, and are used for finishing by hand, as,
for instance, in cutting around grapes or plums or in fine work. II.
_Knuckle-bends_, Fig. 17. These are gouges scooped or bent in a curve
like a knuckle. III. _The Macaroni Tool_, Fig. 18. This is like the
three sides of a square. It is for removing wood on each side of a vein
or leaf, or similar delicate work. It is not very commonly used. IV.
_The Parting Tool or _V_, straight or curved_. This is a useful
tool for outlining a pattern or veining leaves. Beginners find it, like
the Macaroni, rather difficult to sharpen, or to keep an edge on it. It
must not be used recklessly for carving, as it is apt to break unless
handled with care. It should be kept with a cork on the end.

[Illustration: Fig. 18. MACARONI TOOLS.]

It is a question among experts as to whether the tools for beginners
should have long or short handles, which is as sensible as if they
should debate whether the pupils should have large or small hands.
General Seaton, who is in other matters a good authority, declares that
"small, short, neatly-turned boxwood handles must be avoided; they are
nearly useless. Get good-sized beech or ash handles quite five inches
long, and if the steel is four or four and a half inches long you will
have a really serviceable tool." Common sense teaches that between a
child or a young lady who has a palm "the size of a cardinal's seal"
(to borrow a simile from Benvenuto Cellini), and a workman who would
burst a number ten glove, there must be very great differences in the
size of handles, and it is certain that for young beginners short ones
are to be advised. If they are not to be obtained ready made, then take
an ordinary long handle, saw it off to the requisite length, say from
three to three and a half inches, round the sharp edge of the wood,
firstly with a knife or chisel, then with a rasp, and finish it off with
glass-paper. See that the tools when set into the handles are _well
ringed_ and _firm_. In most shops it is usual to sharpen them if it be
required. After becoming accustomed to such handles the pupil may, as he
progresses, familiarize himself with those which are in general use.

There is really only one _trouble_ in wood-carving. This is the
sharpening the tools, and keeping them in good condition. For this the
grindstone and oilstone are indispensable, and the beginner must take
pains to learn to sharpen his tools well and readily.

SHARPENING. Tools which are as yet unground, or which have had the
edge broken, may, with patience and care, be sharpened on a harsh flat
stone, but round grindstones which revolve with a handle are not dear;
you can, however, always get your tools ground by any carpenter. Every
carver should therefore, if possible, own one of these grindstones. It
will serve as well for a large class as for an individual. The next
indispensable is the _oilstone_. This is to be found of different
kinds; the ordinary Turkey stone, set in a block of wood, will answer
for firmers, skews, and flat gouges, for finer tools the best Arkansas
stones may be employed. Before using one, let fall on it a few drops
of oil, which is to be kept in a small can with a narrow spout, made
expressly for such dropping. Have a coarse rag, and when you have done
with the stone, always wipe it clean of the oil. Take great care not to
wear a hollow in the middle of the stone. It is by far the best plan to
get some wood-carver or carpenter to show you how to sharpen the tools.
There are very few places where there is not somebody who can teach
this art. It is usual to have a box-cover to the oilstone, which should
always be over it when not in use, to prevent dust from settling on the
surface. A very little dust indeed combined with the oil is a great
hindrance to sharpening.

[Illustration: Fig. 19. SLIP HOLDER.]

_Slips._ These are pieces of Arkansas, Turkey, and other stones, made
of a variety of shapes, to fit the inside of such tools as cannot be
sharpened on a flat surface, like that of oil-stone. They require great
care in handling lest the fingers be cut. To avoid this, take a piece
of wood, and cut a deep groove in it, exactly adapted to hold the stone
firmly, leaving as much of it projecting as may be required for use,
Fig. 19. If you cannot obtain a slip exactly suited to any particular
tool, then grind or cut it to shape on the grindstone or with a file;
some carvers use a very coarse whetstone adapted to this purpose. The
safe method of using a slip when not mounted in wood is to "lay the back
of the gouge at an inch and a half from the edge on the edge of the
table; the edge of the tool must be slightly raised, and the slip can
then be applied with perfect safety and with great effect." (Seaton.)
The V, or parting tool, is difficult to sharpen because, until one
has had practice with it, it is hard to cut down each side in _exact_
uniformity with the other. For this it is necessary to have a slip
ground to a V edge, so as to exactly fit the inside of the tool.

_The Strap._ This is a piece of hard, smooth leather, glued on a flat
bit of board. This may be prepared with sweet oil and emery powder, or
Tripoli, to be renewed as occasion requires, or with a preparation of
lard and crocus powder. Emery paste sold at the tool-shop will answer
for all ordinary work. When no strap is at hand a final sharp, or a
razor edge, may be given even on a smooth pine board, especially if a
very little fine air-dust be on it.

Sharpening the tools is like threading the needle in sewing, or putting
a point on lead pencils when drawing, something which is a great
trouble, and a constant interruption to earnest work, yet which must be
constantly seen to. Never go on carving for a second if you find that a
tool is growing in the least dull or "scratchy." There can be no good
work whatever without really good tools in perfect order.

It may be observed that tools are never ground quite so much _inside_
as they are externally. Also that this double grinding gives a sharper
cutting-edge; but gouges require very little edging _inside_.

Should the carver be unable to obtain a Turkey or Arkansas stone, he may
use smooth slate, or almost any stone which is tolerably hard.

WOOD. All wood for carving should be of the best quality, well seasoned,
and free as possible from cracks, knots, or other irregularities.
Fine white pine or deal, being very easy to cut, is suitable for a
beginner. Lime and pear-tree wood, like pine, are even in the grain.
American walnut is also easy to cut. It is of a beautiful dark colour,
which is much improved by oiling and age. With this, but tougher than
the preceding, are beech, elm, and oak. Poplar, yellow deal, and the
so-called American wood (known as poplar in America, Middle States) are
useful for many kinds of work. The carver should accustom himself, as
soon as possible, to oak, as a hard wood is by no means hard to carve as
soon as a little skill is acquired. Bone, ivory, and pearl-shell, which
at the first effort seems to be almost impenetrable, after a few days
are "worked" with great ease.




The first stage in wood-carving is to decorate a flat surface in very
low relief by a process which, strictly speaking, is not carving at
all. Let the beginner take a panel or thin flat board, let us say
one of six inches in breadth, twelve in length, and half an inch or
less in thickness. For this kind of work a finely grained, even, and
light-coloured wood, such as holly or beech, is preferable. Draw the
pattern on paper, of the size intended with a very black and soft lead
or crayon pencil, place it with the face to the wood, and turning
the edges over, gum them down to the edge of the panel. Then with
some very smooth hard object, such as an agate or steel burnisher, an
ivory paper-knife, or the end of a rounded and glossy penknife handle,
carefully rub the back of the pattern. When this is done remove the
paper, and the pattern will be found transferred to the wood. If
imperfect, touch it up.

[Illustration: Fig. 20.]

The pupil may now, with a pattern-wheel or tracer, indent or mark a line
or narrow groove in the outline of the pattern. The tracer is the same
implement of the same name which is used in _repoussé_ or brass-sheet or
metal-work. Its end is exactly like that of a screw-driver. To manage
it properly hold it upright, and run it along, tapping it as it goes
with a hammer of iron or wood, Fig. 20. In some countries a stick of
wood about six inches in length, and an inch broad at the butt, is used.
Where the wheel cannot be employed, as in small corners, use the tracer.
The pointed tracer, Fig. 21, used in leather-work, and in carpentry, is
often indispensable for the smaller pattern-work.

[Illustration: Fig. 21. POINTED AND EDGED TRACER.]

When the outline is all marked out in a groove, take one of the
_stamps_, or grounding punches, shown on Fig. 23, and with the hammer
indent the whole background, Fig. 24. If there be corners too small to
admit the stamp or stamps for the same pattern, then finish them up with
a pointed nail or any point, such as a bodkin. The result will be like
the simple design in Fig. 23. When this is done, coat the whole with
oil, rub it in, and wipe it off with care. Then with a piece of very
soft wood polish only the pattern, and finally rub it off by hand or
with a stiff brush. This kind of ornamentation is adapted to the covers
of books or albums, as it can be applied to the thinnest sheets of wood.

[Illustration: Fig. 23. STAMPS.]

Another way to improve this work is to take the tracer, and smooth down
and depress the ground, especially near the pattern edge. This gives
an improved relief. Then the ground may be stamped or "matted," Fig.
24. It may be borne in mind that the pupil who masters this process of
indenting with wheel, tracers, and stamps, will be quite able to work
patterns in damp sheet-leather, since the latter is effected in the
same way with the same tools. Nor does the first step in _repoussé_
or sheet-brass work differ greatly from it. All the minor arts have a
great deal in common; many of the tools used in one being applicable to
others. The pupil who begins with some knowledge of drawing will soon
find it easy to work in any material.

The pupil having done this, has an idea of how a pattern is _placed_
or _spaced_ and contrasted with the ground. He may now take another
panel, and having drawn the pattern, cut out the outline in a light
groove with a very small gouge or a V tool, or a _firmer_. Let him be
very careful to hold the handle in his right hand, and guide the blade
with the fingers of the left, _and never to let the latter get before
the point_. Do not cut deeply or too rapidly. Before beginning on the
pattern, practise cutting grooves on waste wood. Unless this is done the
panel will almost certainly be spoiled. It is usual among carvers to
begin with cutting the groove with a V tool, but it is well to prepare
for this by using the tracer or wheel.

[Illustration: Fig. 24.]

Fig. 27 represents the effect of a ground which is indented, and to
a degree ornamented, by using round stamps of different patterns and
sizes. Very good effects may be produced in this way, which resembles

To clearly recapitulate the process, let me observe: That to begin,
the pupil must have a smooth panel without knots or imperfections. The
pattern is drawn on this or transferred to it. This pattern should be
entirely in outline, without any inside lines or drawing between the
outside edges, Fig. 24. Take a wheel or tracer and indent the whole
pattern very carefully and rather deeply, not all at one pressure, but
by going twice or thrice over the line. Then with a stamp and hammer
indent all the background and the spaces between the edges of the
pattern. Having done this once, take another panel and pattern, and
instead of _pressing in_ the outline with a wheel or tracer, cut it with
a parting tool or gouge--not too deeply. Then indent as before, Fig. 25.

This stamping the grounds is often miscalled _diaper_ carving, but
the diaper is, correctly speaking, a small pattern multiplied to make
a ground, and not roughly corrugating or dotting with a bodkin, or
pricking. This latter is, of course, indenting. Diapers may be either
stamped or carved like any other patterns.

[Illustration: Fig. 25.]

This process of flattening, wheeling, tracing, and stamping wood,
though little practised now, was so common in the Middle Ages, that
there are very few galleries containing pictures with gold backgrounds
in which there are not specimens of it. Very great masters in painting
frequently practised it. After gilding the ground, they outlined the
pattern with a prick-wheel, which is quite like the rowel of a spur, and
often traced dotted patterns with the wheel itself on the flat gold.
Black or dark brown paint was then rubbed into the dots. Sometimes
the stamp was also used, and its marks or holes filled in the same
manner. It is not necessary to gild the background to produce a fine
effect. First apply a coat of varnish, polish it when dry with finest
glass-paper, then apply a coat or two of white oil paint, toned with
Naples yellow, and when it is dry work it with wheel-tracers and stamps.
When dry polish it again, and rub dark brown paint into all the lines
and dots. Cover it with two coats of fine retouching varnish, and the
effect will be that of old stamped ivory.

[Illustration: Fig. 26. GOUGE LINES.]

This first lesson may be omitted by those who wish to proceed at once to
carving. It is given here because it sets forth the easiest and least
expensive manner of ornamenting wood, and one which forms a curious and
beautiful art by itself. With it one can acquire a familiarity with the
method of transferring patterns to wood, and with the management of the
tracer and stamp. The pattern-wheel should be held in the right hand,
and guided by the forefinger of the left, which is a good preparatory
practice for the chisel and gouge.

While the tools requisite for this work are few and inexpensive, it
may be observed that tolerable substitutes may be obtained for them
anywhere. Almost any knife-blade, eraser, or screw-driver can be ground
into a dull edge which may serve to trace and press the wood, while a
spike or very large nail can, with a file, be so crossed at the end as
to make a stamp.

[Illustration: Fig. 27. INDENTED GROUND.]



We will now suppose that the pupil has a piece of smooth pine wood, at
least six inches by six in size, and half an inch in thickness, fastened
to the table before him. Let him draw on it two lines with a lead
pencil, across the grain, one-fourth of an inch distant from each other.
Then taking a _fluter_ or gouge of semi-circular curve, also one-fourth
of an inch in diameter, let him carefully cut away the wood between the
lines so as to form a semi-circular groove, Fig. 28 _a_. This is not to
be effected by cutting all the wood away at once. A very little should
be removed at first, so as to make a shallow groove, then this may be
cut over again till the incision is perfect. Hold the handle of the tool
firmly in the right hand, with the wrist and part of the forearm resting
on the bench; place the two first fingers of the left hand on the face
of the blade about an inch from the cutting edge, to direct and act as
a stop to prevent the tool advancing too fast. Some place the thumb
below the blade, so that it is held between the thumb and the two first

[Illustration: Fig. 28 _a_. STRAIGHT GROOVES.]

"Keep your mind on your work--a careless movement may cause a slip of
the tool and ruin it." Let every stroke of chisel or gouge be made and
regulated by purpose and design, not haphazard, or at random. Think
_exactly_ what you wish to cut or mean to do, and leave nothing to
involuntary action. The habit of doing this may be acquired in the first
few lessons, if you try, and when it is acquired all the real difficulty
of carving is mastered.

[Illustration: Fig. 28 _b_. CROSS GROOVES.]

_Never attempt to carve anything unless it is fastened to the table._
Pupils who do this fall into the habit of holding the panel down with
the left hand, and the result is that the tool slips sooner or later,
and inflicts a wound which may be serious. Always keep both hands on the

When the pupil shall have cut perhaps twenty straight grooves with great
care with the gouge, he may then cut cross-barred grooves, Fig. 28 _b_,
and then curved ones as in Fig. 29 _a_, _b_, _c_.

[Illustration: Fig. 29. CURVED AND CROSSING GROOVES.]

Two sections of a circle thus intersecting form, as may be seen, a
leaf. One, two, or even three lessons may be devoted to this, _but let
the pupil go no further until he can cut these grooves perfectly_. He
will then find it excellent practice at odd intervals to carve grooves
in circles, spirals, or other forms. Groove-carving may be regarded as
line-drawing, for any pattern which can be drawn in simple lines can be
of course imitated with a gouge.

[Illustration: Fig. 30.]

Very pretty decorative work may be effected by this gouge-grooving
alone, and in fact it was very common in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, as is shown by specimens in the museums of South Kensington,
Munich, Vienna, and Salzburg. The wood chosen was generally a
highly-grained or strongly-marked pine, the natural yellow colour of
which was somewhat heightened by staining, oiling, or age. The pattern,
generally a leafy one, was then outlined with a narrow, say one-third
inch gouge, and the grooves painted in with black or brown. This was
applied in many ways, but especially to large cabinets or wardrobes. It
is a very rapid and effective kind of work.

Celtic or Irish (or Runic) patterns, which resemble ropes or ribbons
crossing one another, can be very well imitated by running these lines
with a gouge, Fig. 30. No writer on wood-carving ever seems to have
noticed what beautiful, complicated, and valuable work can be executed
in this manner alone. These lines can be painted in black, dark colours,
or red, so as to make fine effects in decorative furniture or friezes.
It may also be observed, that when cut they may be used for moulds for
plaster of Paris, papier-maché, and leather. The pupil would do well
to pass a few days in developing simple groove-work, which is worth
perfectly understanding. There are few who cannot with care learn to cut
grooves very well with a gouge after a few days' practice. I urge that
the pupil shall do this with ease before going further. _Secondly_, that
he shall actually realize what a great amount of beautiful work can be
made with one gouge of from one-fourth to one-third of an inch diameter;
as, for instance, in inscriptions, interlacing bands or any kind of
design formed of _lines_ or cords, Celtic decoration, interlacing ropes
or ribbons, etc. The artist who proposes to master carving for general
decoration should pay particular attention to this simple work.

Beginners in carving are, without exception, so anxious to get ornaments
or leaves in relief, and to produce some kind of high-class art work,
that they pass over grooving and curve-carving or flat-cutting as of
very little consequence, when in fact it would be in every way much
more to their advantage to develop it to the utmost. The great reason
why there is at present so little decoration of broad spaces in panels,
scrolls, or furniture, by means of carving, is because all carvers are
devoted almost exclusively to more ambitious work, and ignore what may
be done with a few tools by the simplest methods.





There is an easy kind of flat or hollow carving, if it can be so called,
which is executed with a gouge or V tool, or a firmer alone, but which
produces flat patterns. Make the design, and as it is to be executed
almost entirely with lines or grooves, or small hollows, it must be
so designed that the patterns are close fitting, or separated only by
lines. Now and then, or here and there, a small corner or larger space
or cavity may be removed by a touch of the tool, but as a rule there is
little work in it beyond mere lines. However, as in the gouge-work of
the previous lesson, although anybody can learn in a day or two to "run"
the lines, yet if good patterns be available, remarkably beautiful and
valuable work may be produced by it. It is as applicable to cabinets,
chests, panels for chairs, or other kinds of decoration. Of course the
lines, or hollows, or excavations may, as in all cases, be filled in
with colour, Fig. 31.

[Illustration: Fig. 31.]

This work can often be very well executed with the firmer (or flat
carver's chisel) alone, and it will afford good practice to acquire
familiarity with that greatly neglected tool.

Flat or cavo-cutting of this kind _as work_ is only a little advance on
grooving with a gouge, but its results may be very much more artistic.
It occupies a position between gouge grooving and cutting out the
ground. Each of these are as separated as so many distinct arts, but
they lead one to the other, Figs. 31-35.

The easiest way to prepare this work is to execute the pattern on the
wood in Indian ink, and then simply cut away all the black. The lines in
leaves, etc., must be very carefully run with the V tool; all the larger
hollows should be cut with a gouge. If very large hollows, or spaces, or
grounds are left, they must be executed as described in the next lesson.

[Illustration: Fig. 32.]

[Illustration: Fig. 33.]


[Illustration: Fig. 34.]

[Illustration: Fig. 35.]


Observe in Figs. 31 to 35 that all the carving is confined to simply
cutting away the parts indicated by the black ground. The fine lines
can be best executed with a parting or V tool, and in many instances
with the smallest gouge or veiner. Though not usual, it is excellent
practice, when possible, to learn to do this with a small _firmer_, or
carver's chisel.

These cavo relievo or _cut-out flat patterns_ are as easy of execution
as gouge-work to any one who has learned the latter. They are not now
much studied, but they are capable of a wide application in large
decorative art. The lines and cavities look best when painted or dyed.
It is the next step beyond gouge-work, which represents simple drawing
of lines in design, and corresponds to _sketching_.

[Illustration: Fig. 36.]

Contour or rounding and modelling of course correspond to light and
shade, but plain gouge and cavo-cutting is simple _sketching_. Any
animal, or a human figure, a vase, flowers, or vines may be thus carved,
the only further condition being that the outlines shall always be
broad and bold. Great care should be exercised not to make too many
lines, especially fine ones, and in all cases to avoid detail, and make
the design as simple as you can. When in thus outlining an animal you
have clearly indicated, with as few lines as possible, what it is meant
to be, you have done enough, as in all sketching the golden rule is to
give as much representation with as little work as possible, Fig. 36.

It may be observed that familiar and extensive practice of the very
easy gouge-groove work, and of simple flat or cavo-cutting in hollows,
if carried out on a _large_ scale, as for instance in wall and door
patterns, gives the pupil far more energy and confidence, and is more
conducive to free-hand carving and the sweep-cut, than the usual method
of devoting much time in the beginning to chipping elaborate leaves and
other small work. Therefore it will be well for the pupil to perfect
himself in such simple groove and hollow work. This was the first step
in mediæval carving, and it was the proper one for general decoration.
It was in this manner that the old carvers of England and their masters,
the Flemings, taught their pupils.





Let the pupil take a panel and draw on it a pattern, Fig. 37 _a_. He is
to cut this out in what is called flat carving, and sometimes "ribbon
work." He begins by _outlining_, which may be effected in different
ways. I. By taking a small _fluter_ or veiner, or a tooling-gouge
one-tenth of an inch in diameter, and cutting a groove all around the
pattern just outside of it, but accurately close to it. If perfect in
Lesson II. this will be very easy for him. II. He may do this also with
a V or parting tool, but the gouge is better for a _first_ attempt. III.
The outline cutting may be effected by taking a _firmer_ or carver's
chisel, one-third of an inch broad, and placing it "up and down" close
to the pattern, but sloping outwardly, give it a tap with the mallet so
as to sink it a very little way into the wood. Do not cut "straight up
and down," but so as to make a sloping bank. IV. There is yet another
way, which is more difficult and seldom practised, yet which if mastered
gives great skill in carving. Take the firmer or flat chisel, and
holding it with great care run it along the edge, sloping outwards, so
as to cut the line accurately. By means of this method the whole work
may be very well outlined. It is not urged as absolutely necessary at a
first lesson, but it is advisable to practise it sooner or later.

[Illustration: Fig. 37 _a_.]

When the outlining is done, let the pupil take a flat gouge (if he has
cut the line with a small gouge), and very carefully shave away the
wood from the ground. Let him cut at first very little at a time, for
his object is now not to make something to show, _but to learn how to
manage his tools_. Do not finish all the cutting in one part at once,
leaving the rest untouched, but go all over it gradually several times,
until it is nearly perfect. Let every touch tell. Remove the wood at
every cut, and leave no edges or splinters. To do this well you must
also always watch and consider the grain of the wood at the particular
spot you are operating upon; it is easy enough to see whether you are
cutting with, that is in the same direction, as the grain, or across
the grain; but it is something beyond this that has to be looked to.
It is invariable that all wood, whether cut with the grain or partly
across the grain, will be found to work better, smoother, and with less
tendency to splinter either in the one or the other direction, that
is to say, when cut from right to left, or the reverse, from left to
right. The required direction in which it will cut the smoothest is at
once shown by the behaviour of the wood itself and the quality of the
results; hence, should the work or surface show a tendency to splinter,
if possible cut it from the opposite direction, and turn the work round
on the bench should that be necessary to enable you to do it, that is,
if you cannot use the tool in either hand. Beware above all things of
letting the hands work mechanically. _Think_ of what you are about. By
learning to cut clean and flat you are taking the first step towards
the "_sweep-cut_," which will come afterwards, and which requires both
deliberation and dexterity.

[Illustration: Fig. 37 _b_.]

When all is cut out nicely and carefully, take an extra flat gouge and
clean "the floor," removing every trace of unevenness. Then take a
French round nail or bodkin, and with the mallet fill the ground with
little holes so as to make a rough surface; or you may use one of the
_stamps_ for this. This requires care, so that the shape of the stamp
may not be apparent. It is advisable to trim with a very sharp small
chisel, and with great care, the edge of the pattern. For this lesson it
will be best not to cut away more than one-fourth of an inch to form the

If the outlining is done with a chisel and mallet, before cutting away
the ground, go over the outline and cut at a little distance from
the line already cut towards it, so as to remove the wood and form a
V-shaped groove, as one digs with a spade.

Teachers or pupils are begged to remember that the sole object of this
lesson is to learn how to handle and manage the tools; that is, to
become familiar with them, and how to learn to _cut_ a ground with skill
and confidence. To do this _there should be much occasional practice on
bits of waste wood_. Therefore it is earnestly urged that no beginner
shall go further than the work described in this lesson until he or she
can execute it with accuracy and ease. When this is gained all that
remains to be done is easy.

The reason why the "parting" or V tool is not specially recommended to
_beginners_ for outlining is, that it is the most difficult of all tools
in ordinary use to sharpen. The small gouge answers every purpose for
the work in hand.

To recapitulate, first, we have the cutting away from between the
outlines of the pattern: If the panel be half an inch in thickness, it
should not be more than a quarter of an inch in depth. Cut over the
whole very lightly at first, and then go over it again and again. Do
not dig or cut out the whole quarter of an inch in one place at once,
leaving the rest as yet untouched. Should you do this you will be led
to cutting too deeply in some places. When the hard work is effectively
executed, and nearly all the wood is roughly cut away, the work is said
to be _bosted_ or sketched, a word supposed to be derived from the
French _ébauché_ or the Italian _abozzo_, meaning the same thing.

After cutting Fig. 37 _a_, the pupil may proceed to 37 _b_, which is
simply an amplification of the same.




It will be very much to the advantage of the pupil, so soon as he can
cut confidently and correctly with the gouge or chisel, to practise
with the _left_ hand as well as the right. The younger he is the easier
will it be to form this habit. A carving tool is sharpened from both
sides because the edge, so made, enables the artist to cut from many
positions without turning the wood, and when he can use both hands he
has the same advantage to a greater degree. Try, therefore, to acquire a
perfect command of the tools, so as to cut with both hands, and in many
directions and ways, the greatest care being always taken, however, that
you do not turn the point towards yourself, lest an unwary slip should
produce a wound. When you can _cut_ with confidence, and do not rely
under any circumstance on splitting, digging, prizing up, "wriggling,"
or rocking with the gouge to remove wood, then you can tell beforehand
what you are about to do. To attain this skill you must frequently
practise cutting on waste wood, and not spend all your time on perfectly
finished work.

[Illustration: Fig. 38.]

The pupil has been instructed in Lesson IV. how to cut out the ground
from a flat panel, leaving the pattern in relief. Very beautiful
patterns may be executed with very little finish; and a vast proportion
of beautiful old Gothic wood-carving depended far more on outline than
on modelling for its effect. Modelling is the rounding or shaping a
pattern to give it form. Now _leaves_, in one shape or another, more or
less natural, form a great proportion of all decorative design. When
they are simplified from the original type, and made merely ornamental,
yet still preserving so much of the original shape that we can plainly
see what that type was, they are said to be "conventionalized." It is,
therefore, very important that the wood-carver should know how to carve
leaves well. He has already learned how to make the simple outline
or groove of one or many with a gouge, and how to remove the wood
surrounding them. He may now go a step further and cut with great care
the elementary pattern, Fig. 38. Use a flat gouge for gradually rounding
and carving the surface, beginning with the outer or lower edge, and
working up to the stem. The pupil will do this as well again, and with
far greater confidence and ease, should he begin firstly by making a
shaded copy of a leaf in pencil, then modelling it in clay, and then
copying this in wood. The time thus spent will be gained in the end
many times over by the skill and dexterity and eye-training acquired.

[Illustration: Panel in Low-relief]

[Illustration: Fig. 39.]

The first step in rounding a leaf is effected simply by "wasting" or
chipping away little by little by straightforward cutting. This is
the same for convexities and hollows. Such rounding and undulation is
performed by skilled artists with very few tools, including gouges,
skew-chisels, rasps, files, and the double-bent gouge.

The student may, in the beginning, round and scoop his leaves with any
tools which seem fit, if he will only cut with the utmost caution,
and keep the implements well sharpened. A very important and rather
difficult part of this work is the cutting the ribs or stems which
run through the leaf. One implement for this purpose is the so-called
"macaroni tool," but at present it is really very little used, owing to
the great difficulty of keeping it sharp, and its liability to break.
Nearly all veining can be executed with the fluter or large veiner, the
hollow gouge, the V tool, or the flat gouge, according to circumstances.

"The wood," as Eleanor Rowe remarks, "should be taken off in short,
sharp touches, and not by deep and long cuts, and no attempt should be
made to obtain a smooth surface until the form and general modelling of
the leaf is done." The edge of the leaf may be a little under-cut to
give relief; this effect should be given by a V tool or small veiner.
When the leaf is correct in form, proceed with flat gouges to remove the
tool marks, holding the tool very firmly, and inclining it to an angle
of about 45°.

It is advisable for the beginner to cut several simple leaves with great
care, Fig. 39, and, if possible, let him draw, shade carefully, and
model them all in clay before carving them. He will be astonished to
find how much easier the latter process is, and with what confidence it
can be carried out, after the two former have been executed. Having for
several years had under my supervision large classes in wood-carving,
both with and without modelling in clay, I speak from experience on this

It is to be observed that, as leaves and sprays involve every possible
curve, he who can design, model, and carve them well, will find no
difficulty in executing birds, animals, or the human face or figure. In
their simplest forms, or in flat work, these are all extremely easy.
Then they may be a little rounded, or modelled, and so going on, step by
step, the carver may come to full relief. Oak leaves are, perhaps, the
most graceful of all objects, and lend themselves to as many forms as
the acanthus, but they are also very difficult in their more advanced
developments. Therefore they form an admirable subject for study.




In both large and small carving there is one common difficulty, the
frequent resistance of the grain of the wood and defects incidental to
it. This question has already been touched upon in the Fourth Lesson,
where the pupil has been told that he will usually find the wood cut
more readily from the one side towards the other. To this may be added,
that as he progresses and carves in higher relief he will not only
find the same thing in working leaves and other ornament, but he will
also find that some portions about these will always cut better, more
smoothly, and without splintering, when the tool cuts downwards, that
is, from the surface towards the background, but with other and quite
adjacent portions when the tool is made to cut the reverse way or
upwards. As a first rule, therefore, so soon as there is the smallest
sign of splintering, try the cut from an opposite direction to remove
it, and it should cease.

[Illustration: Fig. 40.]

Further, if the edge of the gouge or firmer cut in certain directions
_against_ the grain of the wood, it will "catch," or tear, or splinter.
As another precaution against this, the carver may shift the position of
the wood by unscrewing it, if it is held by a clamp or holdfast. This
is more easily effected if he have, in the French fashion, only three
or four nails driven into the table, in which case he has only to pick
his work up and put it into a different position; or he may shift his
own position. But it is best of all to be able to carve with both hands,
a feat which, after all, is not difficult to acquire, and which comes
very soon with a little practice; and to master the art of _turning the
tool about and cutting in any position_, which also comes with practice
to an incredible extent. He who can do this, can manage to cut with the
grain in most cases without shifting the block.

[Illustration: Fig. 41.]

Wood should _never_ be torn or ripped; everything should be done by
clean, smooth cutting. To make sure of this you must first of all keep
every tool as sharp as a razor all the time, and always cut with the
grain. Cutting diagonally, or partly across, is still cutting with the
grain, and is easier and surer than going parallel with it.

Mark out the pattern, Figs. 40 or 41, and outline it. The Greek and
Roman workmen, and very often those of later but early times, with a
gimlet, or drill, or centre-bit, bored out holes here and there, both
in wood-carving and in stone, and worked up to, or around these. They
formed beginnings, as it were, to guide the gouge or chisel. These
were often of great practical utility wherever a small round cavity
occurred, but their chief use in wood was to aid and direct the tool in
certain places where there were difficulties of grain to contend with,
or sharp points or corners of ornaments likely to be broken off. I was
once puzzled to know why the drill was so much more used in ancient than
in modern carving, but reflection convinced me that where decorative
work must be done expeditiously or cheaply, and a little coarseness of
execution did not signify, it was a very great aid.

In the pattern, Fig. 38, the leaf is easy to cut; that is to say, one
single leaf. Cutting it once more, or repeating it, is only doing the
same work over again; yet if this same leaf, or another not a bit more
difficult, be repeated twenty-five or thirty times in a wreath, it
will seem to be a very difficult piece of work. Now, it is a matter
of importance to understand that if you can do a very small, simple
piece of wood-carving really well, you can also by mere patience
and repetition execute a piece of work which would seem to be very
remarkable, or quite beyond your power. The illustration to this
lesson, Fig. 40, shows what I mean. Almost any one with care could
cut out a leaf, and he who has done one can _repeat_ it in any other
arrangement. Now a vast proportion of all decorative patterns in flat
or ribbon-work, and even in higher relief, are formed on this principle
of repetition, or of so-called "lobes," so that he who can carve even a
little neatly may be confident almost from the beginning of being able
to execute even valuable work.

Such a panel as Fig. 41, when once carved, may serve for the lid or
sides of a box, the cover of an album, or any object with a smooth,
flat surface. But I cannot repeat too often this injunction, to
constantly practise cutting on waste wood, so as to acquire facility
of hand, before attempting anything which is to be shown or sold. It
is unfortunately true that, left to himself or herself, there is not
a pupil in a thousand who would not devote all the time or work to
producing show-pieces, even at the first cutting, instead of practising
so as to learn how to produce them.

When pupils have teachers who are practical and workmanlike, it is
probable that as soon as they can handle the tools they will be set at
_bold, large work_. This is fortunate for them, since it is the greatest
advantage one can have, be it in Design, Modelling, Wood-carving, or any
other art of the kind, to be made familiar with free-hand, large, and
vigorous execution.


  [Illustration: HIGHLY FINISHED STUDIES OF FOLIAGE.    _P. 48._]




Boldness in cutting is a matter of very great importance, since no
one can carve really well till he gets beyond chipping or "wasting."
To carve boldly we must use the sweep-cut. It may be observed that in
modelling in clay there are certain methods of shaping the material,
which are quite peculiar; as, for instance, when we press the modelling
tool down or up, and at the same time turn it to the left or right. This
makes an inclination upwards or a depression downwards, yet sloping to
one side or the other. It is made by two movements in one; so in cutting
with a sword or long knife, if we chop, yet at the same instant _draw_
the blade, the result is a much deeper incision. This is called the
draw-cut, and by means of it a man may cut a sheep in two, or sever a
handkerchief or lace veil thrown into the air.

[Illustration: Fig. 42.]

Very much like this is the double motion of the hand in the _sweep-cut_,
which must be acquired by all who would learn to carve leaves well. It
is not quite true that all work must go through the three stages of
blocking out, bosting, and finishing; for when leaves are carved with
the sweep-cut they are generally finished at one operation. With this
cut, which is usually performed with a flat gouge, the wood is removed
so as to give a peculiar form or curve--as when a leaf slopes down and
sideways--by a single but compound movement; that is, we must, while
pressing the edge, also move it or give it a slight lateral motion.
This sweep or side-cut is developed more fully in sloping larger and
especially rounded surfaces, like whole leaves, which rise and fall,
or undulate, Figs. 41, 42. This cut, by means of which one can carve
with confidence the most brittle and difficult wood, requires a tool
of very good quality, which must be kept scrupulously sharp. It must
be practised on waste wood till the pupil is a master of it, but when
it is once acquired, wood-carving, as regards all large and effective
work, may be said to really have no further difficulties. With some it
seems to come all at once, by inspiration.

The simplest or first form of the sweep-cut occurs in making leaves.
Every one who has tried this knows that the cutting the notches or
making lobes in the wood, but especially the shaping the points, is
a difficult matter, for if we simply shove or press the edge of the
cutter, as in ordinary or _plane_ work, the leaf will probably break,
especially if the wood be "splitty," uneven, or brittle. Having marked
out a circle to include the lobes of the leaf, we cut a notch half way
between the proposed points, and by shaving first from one side and then
the other, bring the leaf or its lobes into shape, Fig. 43. Of course,
in doing this we cut _from_ the point to the corners.

For the present it will suffice to apply it in its simplest and easiest
form to cutting groups of leaves. In the previous lesson the pupil
has been told how to cut out a single plain leaf in relief by simply
"wasting" or chipping away the wood little by little with a flat gouge.
In like manner it might be filed, or rasped, or scraped like metal,
into shape. Let the pupil now sketch Fig. 43, and then bost it out, by
cutting round and clearing away as already described.

[Illustration: Fig. 43.]

The dotted lines indicate the original shape or circles in which the
leaves are cut. When it is "all done but the finishing," or bosted, then
cut the notches backwards in the manner already described. And, as I
have said, if the pupil has practised the sweep-cut, and keeps his flat
gouge perfectly sharp, he may cut the finest notches in the smallest
leaves in the splittiest wood without once breaking away a piece.

The sweep-cut gives perfect confidence, and he who has acquired it, and
knows how to apply it so as to make any curve or boss or involution
which he pleases, may be said to have passed from the amateur stage to
that of the artist, or at least of the clever workman. By means of it
one can model the most refractory wood into any shape, and to any one
who is expert at it oak is as easy to carve as pine. Therefore the pupil
should spare no pains to acquire it; and it will come sooner perhaps
than he expects if he first of all takes all pains to understand what it
really is, and secondly to practise it for a few hours on waste wood.
There are, however, many carvers who pass months or years in "wasting"
away wood by simple straight cutting or chipping before they get any
idea of what a sweep-cut is--if indeed they ever learn it. But if the
pupil has previously acquired skill, that is to say, ease and confidence
in running gouge lines and hollow cutting and shaping simple leaves
by straight cutting, he will without doubt find that the free-hand
sweep-cut comes as by inspiration.




When a leaf is in its ordinary natural condition it is generally flat,
but while growing or fading it often curls and twists into remarkable
and graceful shapes, which are extensively employed in decoration.
Before going further I would impress it on the intelligent student that
the mere literal imitation of any kind of leaf, so that it would look
exactly like a _real_ leaf if it were only coloured, should seldom or
never enter within the province of wood-carving as a general decorative

What the pupil should do in copying leaves and flowers, etc., or in
modelling them for carving, is to observe their characteristic shape and
contour, to follow all their graceful lines and bends, depressions and
swellings, and give the general expression and spirit of these without
striving _too_ accurately to make a mere leaf. He should not make it so
thin that it would break with a slight blow. A great deal of the most
admired work of the present day is of this kind, which will hardly bear
dusting. A leaf may always be cut, as we see it done in classical and
in ancient work, so solidly and firmly as to resist the wear and tear of
centuries. As nobody is expected to believe that it is a real leaf when
it is palpably cut out of wood or stone, we may as well conventionalize
it (that is, keep only a general likeness to a leaf), and make it
attractive by grace and skilful combination. And this can be done if we
only cut out the leaf in its _general_ form and leave a strong base for
it to rest on, so that it may be safely dusted or rubbed against. The
student should try to understand this, for it will enable him to make
all effects necessary in decorative work, and save him much needless
petty labour.

[Illustration: Fig. 44.]

If the pupil has practised the sweep-cut, and can with confidence work
in any direction, with both hands, he may now attempt oak-leaves in
which there are varied slopes, cavities, and swellings, Figs. 44 and 45.
These seem to have been the favourite subjects of the old modellers and
carvers. Perhaps the best designing of the kind in existence is that
by Adam Kraft, in Nuremberg. I repeat here, that the more difficult and
varied a leaf is the more necessity is there for the pupil to model it
in clay, or at least to draw and shade it carefully, before beginning.
The reason is this, that, having its principal points in the memory,
it is much easier to reproduce them when cutting in wood; we know then
when and where to turn the hand or the tool. And it is well to bear in
mind that this practical and necessarily accurate, though often hasty,
sketching and shading of the workshop grows very rapidly on the pupil,
so that, being driven to it, he learns to do such drawing more promptly
and vigorously than he would in a school or class.

In making the sweep-cut it is necessary _to get the bend_ or movement,
which is directing the gouge in the proper route. In ordinary cutting we
only push the blade forward; in the sweep-cut there is a "draw" or side
movement as well as a push. But the _bend_ or direction constitutes, so
to speak, a third movement, and this is the most difficult to determine.
To get a certain symmetrical turn or curve we cut _without seeing_,
whereas in ordinary cutting or "wasting" we see clearly just what we are
going to slice off, and take it away with confidence. But with a little
practice on waste wood, the sweep or draw-cut will become so familiar
that one can execute the most difficult curves, not by chipping away,
but by a bold sweep. Amateurs who have taught themselves can generally
cut or chip only straightforwards; they cannot turn or curve a leaf with
a sweep. The combined movement given to the tool in making the sweep-cut
may be thus analyzed, and if the three distinct forces applied to the
tool be first understood and then kept in mind in making such cuts,
success will soon and easily result. Suppose we are engaged upon the
surface of a leaf which slopes generally downwards and off to one side,
but also has a rise or mound somewhere in the course of the slope, and
most leaves have one or more such undulations. With the gouge, straight
or bent, grasped firmly in the right hand, and the two fingers of the
left hand pressed on the surface _and side_ of the blade about an inch
from the cutting edge--the position already described: the tool is
pushed straight forward for the entire length of the cut by the right
hand; at the same time the blade is pushed to the right or pulled to the
left by the two fingers of the left hand to the extent, and as the slope
may travel to the right or the left; and thirdly, the right wrist is
raised or lowered to cause the tool to travel over the intended mounds
or undulations on the leaf. Now these three distinct movements or forces
exerted on the tool merge into one another, and may be said to be used
simultaneously, and are really one continuous movement, which gives
the sweep-cut; but the extent to which any one preponderates of course
depends upon the particular shape of the leaf or scroll being carved,
and is soon found out by but little practice upon different forms.

In commencing or bosting out this pattern, Fig. 44, and all others in
high relief, the pupil will do well to observe that he should select
a gouge whose sweep will fit the curve of the leaf in the part it is
intended to begin upon, and placing the edge of the gouge outside, but
quite close to the line, and holding the tool at a slope so as to cut
away from it outwards, give it a moderate blow with the mallet. Take
care not to drive the gouge in too deeply. This is the _blocking out_ of
the leaf, or outlining in the solid. And in doing this, begin by making
or cutting the general outline only. Leave the second-sized interstices
or hollows for a second cutting, and the smaller notches of the leaves
and fine corners for a final finishing. In this pattern, Fig. 44, also
Figs. 42 and 45, the leaves should be of the natural size, or from three
to five inches in length.

  [Illustration: Fig. 45.


Most beginners cut too closely under the leaf, so as to get at once to
relief, which looks like finish. As a rule it is better, whatever the
pattern be, in flat ribbon-work or high relief, to always rather slant
outwards. For in the first place, when we come to finish in ribbon-work,
the pupil may find it necessary to cut so much away to bevel or round
or undercut the pattern, that (especially when it is in narrow lines)
the _thinning_ away will quite destroy their proportions. But it is
well on yet another account to be very sparing of this paring away and
undercutting. There are far too many wood-carvers who cut away under in
order to make leaves thin and natural, till they are like paper, and
much more fragile. This is greatly admired as indicating "skill," and it
certainly demands skill of a common order to effect. But it requires a
much higher and nobler kind of _art_ and will to make the leaves strong
and firm, even if we conventionalize them--so that their curves are
really beautiful. And this may be done, and at the same time all the
most beautiful and characteristic features of leaves be preserved.

In ribbon or flat carving, a strong shadow or relief may be got as
follows. In cutting, slant the chisel or gouge outwards at an angle of
45°, thus ⁄. When the grounding is finished, cut under the slope, half
way up. The outline will then be like a ❮. This sharp edge may
be cut away a very little, such as ⦗, or even into a rounded (,
in which case there will be a marked line of shadow all round
the edge.

Having blocked out the whole quasi-perpendicularly, that is, in one
direction or on one side, proceed to cut away the most apparent hollows
or depressions. With care and measurement even the beginner will soon
find his leaves beginning to assume shape. If he has not learned as yet
to cut and sweep boldly, he may finish the whole by simply wasting the
wood away with straight cutting, aided by the file, riffler, or rasp.
In fact, for many beginners, and especially for those who are slow to
learn, this straight cutting and rasping is really advisable, because
it at least makes them familiar with handling tools, and teaches them
how to model and hollow out. Beginners always experience great dread or
hesitation as regards hollowing and curving "in the round," but when
they perceive that an object is beginning to assume shape they take
heart, and when they have succeeded with one or two by easy, certain
work, even with the help of rasps, they will carve with more confidence.





When the pupil has had some practice in carving leaves and similar
ornaments in relief, he soon learns to deepen or to cut them higher and
higher, and then to model them into form. He may now, if he chooses,
attempt some simple animal forms. A bird, a duck, or a hare hanging up,
will present no special difficulty to him, firstly, if he will obtain
one of Swiss work, already carved in wood, and imitate it. There are few
towns where he cannot obtain something of the kind. It is true that
much Swiss wood-carving is not at all to be recommended as regards style
or finish, but it will do very well for a beginning. The best method
would of course be to model a hare in clay after a dead one. In any case
he can make a beginning by buying some toy animals, carved in wood and
not painted. These are made by being sawn or turned out of wood into
the profile section. This is then sliced into many pieces and each of
these carved, sometimes fairly well, into an animal. The wool or hair is
imitated in the very small gouges or V tools, and sometimes scraped with
a rasp, comb, or other tool. After the blocking out such work presents
no peculiar difficulty.

[Illustration: Fig. 46.]

The process is quite as easy as regards the ordinary or grotesque
animals in Gothic carving. Draw such an animal, Fig. 46 or 48 _a_ or
_b_, and having fairly bosted it out, proceed to very gradually round
away the edges. If it be, for instance, a serpent, which is everywhere
round, this process is very simple, especially if after the cutting we
smooth it with files and glass-paper. It will shape itself. Now the
limbs of animals, and even of human beings in low relief, may be rounded
in this manner to approximate correctness; or to correctness enough
for initial ornamental processes. As the pupil proceeds, and improves
in modelling and advances to copying--let us say excellent patterns of
Renaissance and classic work--he will go far beyond such beginning.
But there is in itself absolutely no reason why, if he only draws his
outlines correctly, he should not begin by this simple Gothic work.

[Illustration: Fig. 47.]

Whatever a pupil can draw from life or a block, _that_ he can shadow;
and whatever he can draw and shadow he can model (or _vice versâ_); and
whatever he can model, he can execute in wood; nor would the working it
out in sheet brass or leather trouble him at all. This is the best way
to work, so much the best that, under all circumstances, and in spite
of all drawbacks, every wood-carver should strive with all his heart to
learn to draw and model; for in so doing he will learn a great deal more
than all three of these cuts put together, for he will most assuredly
have acquired a faculty which will help him in anything which he may

Having learned to sketch out, bost, and round simple figures, I advise
the pupil to execute a number of them, with or without leaves and
ornaments. He may thus sketch and cut fishes, animals of all kinds,
human figures in outline, until he feels a certain confidence and ease
as regards their execution.

What the pupil must do, therefore, in this lesson, is to draw, bost out,
and round easy animal forms. At this stage let him pay more attention
to the few points which constitute general correctness in a sketch than
to minor details. I refer to the general distances of the eyes, joints,
outlines of legs and back in a horse, deer, hog, etc.

[Illustration: Fig. 48 _a_.]

[Illustration: Fig. 48 _b_.]

Simple figures may be executed in flat or ribbon-work, or in the lowest
relief, as well as in any other work.

The Italian carvers, for cabinet making, in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, made great use of _figurini_, Fig. 49, also the ornament on
page 60. These were little statues, generally of human beings, from
three to five inches in length. They were, in ordinary work, rather
sketched out than elaborately carved, but the effect was good; sometimes
a hundred of them would be worked into a single cabinet. These
_figurini_ were also very freely used in later Roman and Roman Byzantine
stone and ivory work, generally as rows of saints or scriptural
personages, every one filling a niche under a round arch. These latter
were often as rudely and simply shaped as it is possible to conceive,
yet, owing to their "making up" or disposition, as subordinate parts
they were in good taste. Any carver with a little practice can produce
them. Rows of _figurini_ in niches were frequently used for borders, or
to surround caskets.





The finishing off of wood-carving depends on what the work in hand may
be. If it is a piece of carefully executed foliage, or leaves (and
leaves, like _crochets_ in decorative art, is a term widely applied to
all shooting out or growing ornaments), it is of course the best plan to
finish only with the gouge or chisel, so that the skill of the artist in
clean cutting may be evident. But it has become the fashion for writers
on wood-carving to insist on it, as a law without exception, that all
wood-carving must be finished by cutting; that glass-paper and files
should on no account be used, and that a carver should not seek to
smooth over the surface of his carving, as if to conceal how his work
has been executed. In wood-carving, as in everything else, a true artist
does not go by mere rule. He uses what tools he pleases, and finishes as
he pleases. He does not confine his work to a single kind, and declare
that everything should be limited to that in which he or certain experts
excel. An examination of the beautiful and curious wood-carving in the
great hall in Venice will convince any one that other things as well
as leaves may be carved in wood; and that when these represent, for
instance, old books with metal clasps, or household utensils, or arms,
imitation may be legitimately carried so far as to polish the surface.
Again, it may very often occur to the artist to imitate old and worn
objects, such as a pilgrim's bottle, a casket or horn, for age in this
way often gives very beautiful and curious effects of light and shadow,
polish or roughness, differing very much and very advantageously from
the stereotyped uniformity of style of too many schools. All of this
requires a wide departure from the no-polish theory.

[Illustration: Fig. 49.]

The truth is that the beginner should indeed _learn_ to cut clean and
well, and to do all his work with an edge, without files or glass-paper,
but there is no law why he should go no further. A great deal of the
beauty of many old objects comes from a certain worn look, by which they
have lost some crude defects. We will now consider how such polish may
be given.

Draw on a panel half an inch thick, more or less, Fig. 49. Having bosted
it out, _very_ slightly undercut the figure, not completely, but by
rounding the edge a little. Do this firstly with the chisel, as neatly
as possible; then take files. For many places in your work, especially
for smoothing grounds where the work is difficult and the curved tool
not available, a bent file is most useful, and these may be had of
every shape and curve. For rough finishing you may use rasps and large
rifflers, for finer work small files. Having brought your work into
shape, you may scrape the ground flat with pieces of broken glass or a
tool made for the purpose, or a chisel. Then take glass or glass-paper,
the former being greatly preferable, and with care finish still more. It
may now be advisable to oil all the carving, if oil is to be applied.
Lay the oil on with a broad flat brush, but if there are any places
which it will not reach, use a smaller paint or camel's hair pencil.
Let the oil soak in for a few days in a warm room. Then with a piece
of very soft pine wood, rub with great care. The harder you rub the
better the polish will be, but also the greater the risk of bending or
indenting the surface of the carving; therefore great care is necessary.
The longer this polishing is continued the better the effect will be.
Workmen often spend as much time in polishing a piece of work intended
to be handled as it took to carve it.

It may be observed that in using the glass-paper it is often very
difficult to get into certain holes or cavities. These are reached
either by making a bit of the paper into a roll, or by folding or
rolling it around the end of a stick cut for the purpose. But the
most effective way of all is to take a stick, say of the size of a
lead pencil, or according to the cavity, round the end with a gouge
and glass-paper, dip the end into glue, and, while it is moist, into
powdered glass. When dry these make admirable finishers, and they can be
again dipped when the glass begins to wear off. Glass may in this manner
be put on the ends of old bent files.

When there are figures of animals, or leaves, or bands intended to be
thus finished and polished _all'antico_, or to resemble worn work, it is
not advisable to put in them too much inside work or _in-lines_. Inside
work is, for instance, the feathers on a bird, the hair on an animal,
the scales on a fish, the middle lines and veins of leaves. A very few
lines to serve as indications must suffice. But the student of old and
time-worn carving cannot fail to draw all these conclusions for himself.

The last finish to be given to such work may be executed by rubbing
with the hand. This communicates to certain kinds of wood and other
substances a peculiar polish, which nothing else can really give.

In a very large proportion of simple flat or ribbon-work the effect is
very much increased or improved by polishing the pattern, and leaving
the ground rough or indenting it. This is not only perfectly legitimate,
but commonly done in marble or metal _repoussé_ of every kind, as well
as leather-work, and yet every writer on wood-carving repeats as a
duty the injunction that there must be "no polishing," and nothing but
cutting. This is, indeed, equivalent to prohibiting the application of
wood-carving to furniture, objects to be handled, house and many other
kinds of decoration. But, in fact, there are instances in decoration in
which paint or dyes, French polish, nails or other metal work, may be
most artistically and beautifully combined with wood-carving, as many
thousands of relics of the Middle Ages and Renaissance prove.

Polishing a pattern makes it shine, while roughing or dotting a surface
darkens it. Therefore, when we want in decoration bold effects of light
and shade, we may legitimately polish the parts which are in relief.
Elaborately cut work which is to be studied by itself in detail, and not
simply as a part of a whole, need not be polished or rough; its finish
will depend on the conditions of its design.





That which is called diaper-work is where the ground consists of one
generally small pattern frequently repeated at regular intervals. It
is so called from the well-known diaper or figured linen cloth, from
the Old French _diapré_, meaning the same, from the verb _diapréz_,
to diaper, or "diversifie with flourishings" (Cotgrave). The verb,
according to Skeat, is from the Old French _diaspre_, later _jasper_, a
stone much used for ornamental jewellery. Italian, _diaspro_, a jasper.
"_Diaper_, to decorate with a variety of colours, or to embroider on a
rich ground" (Anglo-Norman). "There was a rich figured cloth so called"
(Strutt, ii. 6), as "also a kind of printed linen" (Halliwell). The
latter are still common. It is, however, most probable that the word
really comes, as Fairholt asserts, from Ypres, _i.e._, d'Ypres, which
was famous for such work. Some writers apply the term to merely dotting,
indenting, or roughening a ground, but it is properly applicable to
small figures.

STAMPED DIAPER PATTERNS. These may be produced firstly and most readily
by means of wood, stamped or punched, Fig. 23 and 27, and a hammer or
mallet. Practise with these first on waste wood. It is not at first
easy to repeat them at perfectly regular intervals, making one the same
as the other. The work is greatly facilitated by drawing lines like
a chequer or chess-board on the ground, and making a stamp or diaper
in every dot, or all along the lines. Punches for this purpose may be
had in great variety. This class of stamped work is very effective for
narrow edgings and borders, and on fillets, which would otherwise be
tedious and difficult to carve. With but little practice this work can
be executed with great rapidity.

CUTTING DIAPERS. There are some patterns which are very easily cut with
a single tool, as, for instance, squares, diamonds, and triangles. For
these a firmer or chisel is sufficient. The reader will observe that one
square, etc., is removed alternately, and another left. In designing or
selecting these, or any diapers, care must be taken to choose such as
fit together exactly. But any figures of this kind, whatever they are,
are well adapted for grounds.

A more advanced style of diaper-work is made by cutting lines with the
parting-tool or smallest gouge, unless, indeed, you are expert enough to
do it with a chisel or firmer.

  [Illustration: Fig. 50.


This was the commonest kind of diapering on caskets in the Middle Ages.
A very pretty effect was often produced by filling these lines with
dark brown or black paint. In any case, when oiled, or as they grew old,
and dust and oil or moisture worked into them, they became dark. It has
already been said that any kind of mere _line_-work can be executed on
a smooth wooden surface by means of a V tool, or generally by a small
gouge. It may also be effected with a tracing-wheel, or with a tracer,
or with any rather dull-pointed instrument. In hard wood of a light
colour very beautiful effects may thus be produced.

The next step is to cut lines, and combine with these cutting out and
excavating spaces, as in ordinary carving. Nevertheless, it is not, as
a rule, a good plan to make diapers too ornamental or elaborate; for
this will lead to making them large, and then they will draw attention
from the pattern, if there is one, or the main figures. When the whole
surface is all diaper, as in a carpet, the diapers may be as large and
as elaborate as one chooses to make them.

There is but one general rule for designing the diaper. Draw a
chess-board, and then by diagonals convert these into "points up and
down," squares, or triangles; or fill the equal spaces with equilateral
triangles, hexagons, circles, or pentagons, etc.[1] These may be filled
in with any suitable decoration. In Fig. 50 portions of the original
surface of the panel have been left as ridges to separate the diapers,
and then every one of the latter has been carved with the same ornament;
a rather advanced example, but cut only in moderate relief. Another
plate, Fig. 52, gives a variety of suitable figures in low relief; some
two or three of these should be chosen and repeated in regular order in
neighbouring spaces.

      [1] To draw these and ornament them, consult "Drawing and
          Designing," by C. G. Leland; London, Whittaker and Co.

  [Illustration: Fig. 51.


Where the main object is simple decoration of surfaces, plain
diaper-cutting is an important industry, and one by means of which, with
no very great degree of skill, beautiful results may be obtained. Thus,
large pieces of furniture, chests, and especially walls or wainscoats,
may be expeditiously adorned by means of it, even by one who is far
from being able to carve in the round or cut leaves. It may be very
much facilitated in many ways. One of these is to cut out the patterns
in duplicate, many at once in paper, paste them on the wood, and carve
round them. Then wet the paper, and thoroughly remove it with a stiff
brush. Another plan is to cut out the pattern in card-board, thin brass,
or wood, and stencil it with a lead pencil or colour which will wash
off. Then cut away as before. It is extremely easy, when we have once
cut a certain figure a few times, to go on repeating it, and beginners
can, therefore, with great advantage, be set at diaper-cutting, since
they thereby acquire not only a familiarity with the use of the tools,
but by dint of repetition familiarize themselves perfectly with at least
one process; for the greatest trouble in all arts and studies is, that
they do not, at any early step, sufficiently master any one thing.





It will often happen that in carving, while most of the work is on a
level, some portion, generally the centre, will rise above the rest, or
project beyond it, illustrated by Fig. 52. It would often be a waste of
wood and time to cut this out of a single piece. In such cases we merely
glue an extra piece of wood on, and carve it into shape. Sometimes in
carving a face, only the nose, and perhaps the chin, require to be
added. It is said that this method of gluing wood on to wood to obtain
additional relief was first extensively practised by Grinling Gibbons.

In Germany this addition of a central "boss" is so well understood,
that in many shops they sell heads or faces of men, women, or animals,
wreaths, and similar centres or bosses for carvers who can execute
flat or ribbon-work, but not high relief. In this way very ornamental
or showy pieces of work may be executed with the least possible pains
and expense. In the same manner a piece of old carving, or, it may
be, several pieces, are taken or saved from some half-ruined ancient
specimen, and well glued on a sound piece of old wood exactly like them
in colour and texture. This is then carved in the same style. In this
way really valuable work may be easily made, for such half-decayed
pieces of old carving are too often thrown away, and may often be
purchased for a trifle.

Still, this method of _appliqué_, or applied wood on wood, though it
may be resorted to in certain cases to save a great deal of cutting
and material, may be carried too far, when it degenerates into mere

_Appliqué_ work of this kind falls still further into manufacture when
it consists of thin boards, cut into patterns with a fret or scroll-saw,
worked up with gouges, and then glued on wood. This is plain imitation.
Yet it may be borne in mind, though most writers on the subject deny it,
that while it is absolutely _not_ high or legitimate art, there is no
law and no reason against it; and if a man can contrive no better way
to ornament his house, he is perfectly in the right in doing so, if he
thinks fit. And if he can afford the time, skill, and materials, he will
probably advance from _appliqué_ work to something better. In any case
he will have learned something by it, and it is worth learning. It is
too often the case with high art critics, that they exact that everybody
_must_ have finished taste and _high_ perceptions all at once, with no
regard to expense.

  [Illustration: Fig. 52. APPLIQUÉ WORK.


The pupil may now attempt an easy piece of _appliqué_ work. Take a
panel, Fig. 52, and trace on it the pattern. Leave a blank flat space
of the original surface, called the "seat," for the figures, of their
precise size, and then work out the ground. Where this consists of
a _diaper_, it may be made either by carving or by stamping. Having
finished the diapered ground, saw or cut out the figures, glue them
into their places, and carve them; or the carving may be executed before
the application.

_Appliqué_ work is liable to the objection, especially where large
surfaces are laid on, that two pieces of wood are seldom of _precisely_
the same quality and texture, and that, therefore, they may sometimes
afterwards shrink or swell in different directions, with the natural
result of warping and splitting. This is sometimes remedied by using
screws as well as glue; but the best preventive of such accidents is to
cut both the ground and the piece glued on to it from the same piece of
wood, of course perfectly seasoned.

In many cases frames or borders may be _appliqué_ or glued on. If the
work be intended for an album or book-cover, the frame may be made
a trifle higher than the central ornament, to protect it from being
scratched when lying with the face on any surface. This will not be
necessary if it be used for a panel in the side of a box or in a wall.





Carving in the round is cutting an object which is finished on every
side, as a bust or statue. It is in fact "statuary." It seems to be
very difficult work to a beginner, but the pupil who has mastered the
rudiments which are laid down in this book, and who can measure and
cut a low relief of an inch, or a high relief pattern of two or three
inches, will find no trouble whatever in carving something small in the
round, and in progressing from this to something larger. The steps in
wood-carving from hammering an indented pattern to carving a statue are
perfectly defined, and very easy if they are thoroughly mastered one at
a time.

Carving in the round will be least difficult to the one who can model
his work in clay or modelling-wax. This is especially easy if he
alternates carving with designing and modelling; it is, in fact, so
great an aid to carving, that there should be little of the latter
without it. He who has modelled anything in clay or wax has, in a way,
carved it in a soft material, while true carving is only modelling with
gouges and chisels.

There is no difficulty for one who has mastered the first six lessons of
this book, in carving half a duck or fish in relief. If he could carve
the other side and join them he would have the animal complete. From
blocking out simple forms, such as ducks, fish, hares, or game, in high
relief, the carver soon learns how to "rough" almost anything. Having
made a bust in clay, he knows where a bit is to be removed or cut away
here or there. He studies it as he proceeds, alternately in profile or
full-face, and continually measures with callipers and compasses to see
that he is preserving all the proportions. The practice which he has
had in delicately carving, grooving, sweeping, and modelling leaves,
in cutting the hair of game, imitating basket-work, etc., will all now
come into play. As regards fitting certain tools to form the eye-balls,
eye-lids, etc., if the pupil does not as yet know the measure and
capacity of his tools, he has worked to little purpose. If he should
be in doubt from time to time, let him just carve an eye, or a lip,
or mouth, on a piece of waste wood, and he will have no difficulty in
repeating it; and he who grudges the time for such practice will never
make an artist, Fig. 53.

The great difficulty in carving in deep relief and in the round, is to
get the general sweep and contour and proportions of the _whole_, and
this is difficult for a pupil who does not design, and shade, and model,
while it is a mere trifle to one who does. The cutting and blocking out,
which seems to be the great difficulty, is a merely mechanical process,
performed with compasses, carving tools, and rasps, and sometimes with
a steel bow-saw, here and there. And it presents no difficulties to any
intelligent person who has carefully executed all that is described
in the previous lessons, especially to one who has carved animals and
simple figures, or faces, in high relief.

[Illustration: Fig. 53. HIGH RELIEF. Design by C. G. Leland.]

It is true that in shops where much large and coarse work is executed,
as, for instance, great pieces for ceilings, figures for façades, and
the like, the sculptor, trained from the beginning to the sweep-cut and
to bold chipping, makes little account of any difficulty, and proceeds
to carve with great confidence. Now what the student must endeavour to
attain is some of the confidence of the mere workman with the culture
and knowledge of the artist. And he should, whenever an opportunity
presents itself, try to see practical carvers of all kinds at work, for
in this way he will learn much which no books give.

It is to be recommended that the first attempts at carving in the round
be made in soft pine wood, as it is of course most easily modelled. No
one should be discouraged because a first or second effort has turned
out a failure.

I have observed that many writers on the art treat carving in high
relief, or in the round, as if the first effect in it must necessarily
be a human head or figure, that is to say, the most difficult of all
objects. But he who can cut out a wooden shoe, or a rabbit, or a fish,
or the simplest object, on a large scale, on all its sides, will, if
he repeats this till he can do it easily, have mastered the greatest
difficulty which alarms beginners, that of _blocking out_ from all

In the head by Civitale, full half-round, which may easily be made
full round, the carver may begin by modelling the whole. If this is
not convenient, let him mark out with the compasses the different
dimensions, and carefully bring the whole into form by first rounding
all into a rude shape, and then very gradually cut away the hollows.
No detailed descriptions of exactly what tools to choose for certain
places, or how to work, would be of any real use to the pupil who
has carefully executed the previous lessons, as he will not have
a single cut which he has not made before, and in this instance a
little voluntary ingenuity and reflection will do more good than any

  [Illustration: HEAD, BY CIVITALE.    _P. 82._]



(_By John J. Holtzapffel._)

The steel buhl saw-frame (Fig. 16) may be very usefully employed for
removing many of the superfluous portions of the material in the
earliest stages of carving in the round, as in large or small figurini,
and for those parts which have to be cut away to leave the outlines or
margins between leaves and other ornaments in flat works. In such cases
it is to be recommended, for its use not only saves much time, but also
the risk of breakages, to which the work is very liable when these
portions have to be removed entirely with the carving-tool.

In round carving, the block, more or less roughly marked out on its
surfaces to some approach to its ultimate form with thick pencil or
crayon lines, may be held on the work-bench by the carver's screw (Fig.
10), or if that be not convenient, or if it be flat work, it can be
held in the vice. A coarse strong buhl saw-blade is employed; this is
first fixed in the screw jaw at the further side of the saw-frame; the
handle of the latter is then unscrewed until it projects its jaw about
half-an-inch, and at the moment the other end of the blade is fixed
therein, the two jaws are also made to approach one another by pressing
the further side of the saw-frame against the work-bench, with the
handle against the workman's chest; after this, the handle is screwed
back again until its jaw returns home to its former position. The back
of the saw-blade is towards the back of the saw-frame, and the teeth
of the blade should point away from the handle, easily discovered by
passing the finger along them, and when the saw is properly strained for
use it should ring like a harp string.

In use, the handle of the frame is grasped by all the fingers of the
hand, except the forefinger, which is stretched straight out along it
in the direction of the saw; the latter is pushed straight forward and
withdrawn with moderate pressure, just sufficient to cause it to cut,
and is twisted about to follow the directions of the lines or curves of
the piece to be removed. During the sawing the outstretched forefinger
is an unerring guide for the direction of the cut.

When a piece has to be removed from between others which have to be
left, as between the body and the bend of the arm, or between the legs
of a figure, a small hole is first drilled through the block and the
saw threaded through it before it is strained; and the only necessary
precaution throughout in using the saw, is to leave sufficient material
everywhere for perfect freedom in the subsequent carving by not cutting
anywhere too close.

An entirely different method is followed in cutting out moulds, the
pieces to be used for _appliqué_ carving, and for the outlines of
fretwork or panels pierced with many interstices of which the surface is
afterwards to be carved. These works cannot be held fast in the vice or
otherwise, not only because they are often thin and liable to fracture,
but because, if so held, it is impossible to attain the desired true,
easy-flowing outlines required at once without subsequent correction,
which can be produced without difficulty when the work is perfectly

The professional hand fret-cutter, who produces the best and most
elaborate work, such objects as the long, thin, pierced panels to be
backed with silk for the fronts of pianofortes, uses a similar, but
much deeper, yet light saw-frame made of wood, with the same steel
screw-jaws, hung to the ceiling by a cord. He sits astride a bench
called "a horse," which has two tall vertical jaws in front of him,
their upper edges lined with brass, or sometimes with cork. The further
jaw is fixed to withstand the thrust of the saw, the other is notched
below and springs open when left to itself, but is closed by a diagonal
strut resting loosely in mortises made in the face of the bench and in
that of the movable jaw; the strut is pulled downwards to close the jaw
on the work by means of a cord passing from it through a hole in the
bench to a treadle beneath the workman's foot. The surfaces of his work
are, therefore, vertical, and the work itself is very lightly held, so
that he can twist it about in all directions with the left hand, while
he keeps the saw steadily traversing backwards and forwards in the same
plane horizontally, with the right.

A simpler support, called a "saw table," Fig. 7 _b_, is used, and
thoroughly answers every purpose for the smaller class of works which
we are considering. This tool consists of an oblong piece of wood,
perfectly flat, smooth and polished on its upper surface, at the one end
of which there is a slot of about an inch wide; beneath, it has a cross
piece of wood to keep the implement steady on the bench or table on
which it is placed, and a clamp and screw to fix it there.

The work, first pierced with the holes for threading the saw through
all its intended interstices, has the saw placed through one of them,
strained as before, and is then laid down, pattern uppermost, on the saw
table, upon which it is lightly held and twisted about by the points of
all five fingers of the left hand planted vertically upon it; the saw is
worked up and down vertically in the slot by the right hand, the handle
below the saw table. The aim here is to keep the saw working always in
the same place, and to let the curve or line result from the perfectly
free movement of the work alone. The saw-blades employed are much finer
than those previously referred to; they are tightly strained in the same
way as before, but they are placed in the frame so that the teeth now
point the reverse way, towards the handle, and the cut, therefore, takes
place at the downward stroke.

The saws in ordinary use, such as the brass-backed tenon and dove-tail
saws and the key-hole saws of the carpenter, also find constant
employment in first roughly shaping and preparing the blocks and panels
to be subsequently carved; in their use it is only necessary, as in all
sawing upon carved works, to cut just sufficiently wide of the lines
marked to ensure that all saw-marks will be removed by the carving tool.




Deep carving, as it is termed by certain writers, is now known among
artists as incised, sunk, or intaglio. It is an advanced form of

It is a very beautiful yet easy kind of work, which was extensively
practised in Italy in early times, and which is deserving special
attention because of its applicability not only to bold, large, and
even coarse decoration--which was, however, very effective--but to the
most delicate and minute objects. "It may," says General Seaton, who
was the first to describe it, which he does with much enthusiasm, "be
called sunk carving, for, contrary to the usual method, the carving is
sunk, while the ground is left at its original level." Like engraving
on metal, it cuts into the ground, and depends entirely on outline, or
drawing, and shadow for its effects. It is suitable for book-covers, or
to be employed wherever the carving is liable to be handled or rubbed,
because, being sunk beneath the ground, it cannot be rubbed or injured
till the ground itself is worn down.

Take any wood except a coarse one,--holly, beech, oak, poplar, pear, or
walnut,--and let the surface be well planed, or perhaps polished. If it
be a wood of light colour, draw your pattern with a very soft pencil,
say _B B B_, on paper, lay it face down on the wood, and rub the back
carefully with an ivory or other polisher. The work is chiefly executed
with bent gouges and grainers, flat and hollow, with two or three bent
chisels and stamps, and it often happens that a good piece of incised
carving can be executed with very few tools. It is executed almost
entirely by hand, or without hammering.

[Illustration: Fig. 54. INCISED CARVING.]

Choose some simple pattern, your object being to learn how to cut and
not to produce something startling at a first effort. If the wood
be dark, such as American walnut, mark the pattern through with the
prick-wheel or dot, Fig. 54. If the pupil has not perfect eyesight, or
expects to carve at night, it is advisable to outline this dot line with
a very fine camel's hair brush and Chinese white. This prevents many
mistakes. Take, to begin, a small gouge, a little less than the stem to
be cut in diameter, and run it along the line. When you cut leaves, get
gradually towards the centre. Then take a larger gouge and finish the

Keep by you a piece of clay or putty, or moist kneaded bread, and from
time to time take an impression of your work. This is important, for the
real excellence of intaglio carving consists in its being exactly like
relief carving reversed. In this way you will at once perceive, without
any special directions, what tools to use in your work.


Fig. 55 is a rather advanced example of this class of carving. The whole
of the foliage is cut in cavo relievo, or cavities, with gouges and
chisels, both straight and bent, and the lines upon them with bent V
tools. The duck in the centre may be in ordinary low relief, to give an
effective contrast.

There is another reason for thus learning to make your work perfect. If
you carve in hard wood, you can always use a piece of sunk or intaglio
carving for a mould. When it is finished take a piece of russet leather,
soak it in water till it is quite soft, press it with your fingers and
a sponge for some time with great care into the mould, and then take it
off. If your wood be well cut, the leather when dry will be quite as
attractive as the carving itself, and may be used in many ways. The wood
will not be injured in the least if you wipe it dry after taking the
impression. With such moulds _papier-maché_ casts can also be taken. I
have now before me a beautiful specimen of old Byzantine work made in
this manner.

[Illustration: Egyptian Cutting.]

There is a peculiar kind of intaglio carving which may be called
Egyptian, because the ancient Egyptians used it very extensively
on their monuments. It consisted of cutting out the outline of a
figure in the following manner. On the _outside_ the carver cut down
perpendicularly, while the inside pattern was not cut away, but only had
its edges rounded.

The result of this peculiar groove or cut, straight on one side and
rounded or curved on the other, was a very strong relief and shadow. It
was in fact a simple combination of relief and incised or cavo carving,
by means of which a strong relief was attained by little work. The main
object was to make the inscription solid and durable, and at the same
time very legible. The principle, as I have shown, is quite applicable
to ornament, and requires much less labour than even intaglio carving.
It is something more, in fact much more, than mere outlining, and it is
particularly applicable to mural or wall decoration.

Incised carving is often much improved by being painted, and sometimes
varnished. That is to say, the sunken portion is thus coloured. I have
seen white and vermilion used with good effect, but black and dark brown
are generally preferred. Gilding seems peculiarly rich when thus applied
in the hollow, as the shadow gives it a fine tone.

Though the imitation of engravings is not within the range of
wood-carving, there is, however, a very pretty and easy art by which
drawing and painting are very ingeniously combined with a kind of
carving. Take a panel of firm wood of lightish colour, well planed and
polished. Draw on it any pattern, or even an animal, or human figures.
Incise the principal lines with a V tool, or, according to its size,
small gouges may be used. For the fine lines and shading, a tracer, or
any point to indent, not so sharp as to scratch; this is a matter of
great importance; and the wood, which, if possible, should be of box,
sycamore, beech, or holly, must be adapted or prepared to take a mark
without breaking. When all the lines are well in, take a miniature fitch
pencil, and fill in every line with colour, taking care not to let the
paint spread beyond the lines. Different colours may be used. This is
hardly wood-carving at all, but in skilful hands it produces beautiful
and remarkable effects. It is very effective indeed when applied to
leather. As the colour is _sunk_ in the lines, it is well protected;
this kind of ornamentation is therefore well adapted to book-covers. I
have applied it successfully to heavy card-board panels prepared for
artists to paint on in oil.

As I have said, incised cutting will be found useful to workers in
leather, papier-maché, clay, or plaster of Paris, because by means of it
they can make moulds. Another kind of mould is made as follows: Cut out
with a saw the outline of the pattern in a piece of board thick enough
to give the requisite depth. Then glue the perforated board to another
board, the surfaces of both being of course first planed and smoothed.
This gives the mould in the rough. Then fill in the angles of the
hollows with a composition of clay and size, or putty, or rice and lime
with white of egg, or any other suitable cement, and while it is soft
shape it with fingers and tools to the details of the pattern required.
When perfectly dry go over it carefully, taking proofs here and there
with putty, and correct with bent files. Then smooth it where it is at
all rough, oil it all, and make your cast.





Carving concave or convex surfaces, such as the exterior of a horn or
the interior of a bowl, is often very difficult work, and though an
ingenious artist will readily find out for himself some way to get over
such difficulties, it is well to know at once how the work may be done.

HORNS. The first difficulty is to fix the object so as to cut it.
A beginner who undertakes to carve such a very hard, slippery, and
unmanageable object as a horn, will, if he hold it with one hand while
he carves with the other, inevitably damage his pattern or wound
himself. It is very dangerous to hold the work in one hand or between
the knees. One way to secure such an object is to take a board, nail
cross-pieces on it over the ends of the horn so that a portion may be
exposed on which to work, and in this manner one can cut with safety.
Again, holdfasts and clamps may be employed, but the utmost care should
be taken lest these slip away whenever too great pressure is brought
to bear on them. A very good means to keep the horn firm is to have a
piece of wood fast to the table in which there is a hole, into which
the lesser end of the horn fits, while the butt rests, and is fixed, on
the table. Having secured it, outline the pattern with a V tool or very
small graining-gouge, and then cut away the ground with quarter-flat,
and finally with flat gouges. The bent file may be freely used for a
horn, and it will be necessary in many places. When bosted, finish with
careful touching or fine files and glass-paper.

If you wish to colour the horn, select one which is chiefly white.
Take a solution of nitrate of silver, which any chemist will prepare
for you. Be very careful indeed how you handle it, for it will burn
clothes, carpets, or flesh, and at least stain your fingers for a long
time. With a _glass brush_, if you can get one, if not, with a glass
point, or pen, or agate point, or wax, apply the acid carefully to the
pattern. If you use wood for this purpose it will answer, but it is very
speedily consumed by the acid. This will make a yellow, or brown, or
sometimes a black stain, according to the strength of the solution, the
number of times it is applied, and the hardness of the horn. When the
horn is covered with diaper-work, or a great many small figures, or a
close pattern, then always put the acid into the hollows, and leave the
design in white. A black dye for horn, as well as for metal, is made by
combining ammonia with sulphur. It is very malodorous, but is effective.
Any chemist will make it, and will also prepare for you the dyes used
for ivory and horn. It is better and cheaper for the amateur to buy
these than to attempt to make them for himself. In most cases black and
brown are the best colours to use.

If a horn is boiled in hot water, or steamed, it will become so soft
that it may be flattened. Then it is very easy to carve. The author has
in his possession two very ancient and singularly ornamented Italian
horns which were thus shaped. Horn, when treated with quick-lime and
hot water, can be reduced to a paste which can be made into any shape
like a cement or plaster. It becomes hard again in cold water. All
old horns were not used for gunpowder; many of them were for wine or
other liquors; others were used for blowing; they all make effective
ornaments. Carved horns are handsome ornaments when hung up with cord
and tassels. I have made them very attractive by gilding the raised
patterns on them.

TO CARVE A BOWL. The exterior of a bowl presents no special difficulty,
if it be well clamped down. It may be secured with blocks and nails,
or screws. But the _interior_ is harder to get at and much harder to
cut. This is, of course, chiefly done with bent gouges and chisels. It
requires care and patience in cases of special trouble. I have, however,
easily succeeded in wearing or wasting away the ground by the process
which will be described in carving cocoa-nuts. Wooden bowls, which are
well adapted to carving, may be bought cheaply at household furnishing
shops. They are of the kind used in every kitchen. They may be mounted
on bases, such as any turner can make, to which the bowl should be
fastened with a screw and glue. Bowls may be coloured or gilded like
horns. They are very useful for many purposes, chiefly to contain
visitors' cards or other small objects on the writing, work, or toilet

COCOA-NUTS. If it is to be used as a cup, begin by sawing away the end
on which is the "monkey face," or so much as is desirable. Sometimes
the whole nut is left, to be hung up as an amulet, ornament, or charm,
as ostrich eggs are hung up in the East. Then clean it smooth with a
large rasp till fit to carve. Draw the pattern on this with Chinese
white, that there may be no mistakes. Then fix the nut to the board or
table, as with the bowl (_vide_ p. 100).

The ground may, with patience, be cut away with flat gouges, and, with
practice, this becomes really easy, and more expeditious than one would
at first suppose. Or it may be done chiefly with files. But the most
rapid manner of working is by a "cut" which is described as follows by
Gen. Seaton, who, however, limits it to mere decoration for a ground.

"There is a species of ornament most useful for the bend of branches,
and which is to be seen in Swiss carved brackets. This may be called
the _zigzag_ pattern or ornament. It is intended to represent the
cross-fissures and marks that are seen in the bark of some trees at the
end of the branches. It is done with a flat or quarter-round gouge,
the hand swaying from side to side, and at the same time advancing by
alternate steps each corner of the tool."

[Illustration: Small zigzag]

That is to say, put the tool straight up and down, and _rock_ it from
side to side, and it will require little practice to learn it. But
to use it, not for ornament, but a cut, or rather dig, a _firmer_ or
chisel is better than a gouge; nor need we be very particular as to
the appearance of the marks made, as they are all, in the end, to be
cut or smoothed out. Rock up and down with the firmer, pressing a
little flatter than if the object were to only make lines, or so as to
scrape away some of the ground. Then from another direction go over
this ground, digging and scraping away again. In this manner a shell
may be bosted rapidly, and by it one can work at the bottom of a bowl
when even the bent tools are of little or no use. When the whole ground
is excavated by this process it may be easily smoothed with files or
carving tools. The cuttings from cocoa-nut shell, or waste bits, may be
kept, and when pounded to a fine powder, and mixed with glue, they make
an admirable cement for repairing walnut or other dark wood work.

[Illustration: Fig. 56.]

CASKS. A cask when carved is an admirable object for waste-papers, or
holding canes and umbrellas, Fig. 56. It should be of wood at least one
inch in thickness. If held together by broad brass or copper hoops it
will be much handsomer. A bucket or pail may be carved in like manner;
and when lions' heads or other carved ornaments are _applied_, it will
be found that a very ornamental object may be made with little trouble
or expense. It is easiest to carve casks, kegs, buckets, or firkins, up
and down, or in a perpendicular position, and to stand up while at the
work, as a true carver is sure in the end to do at all his work.

[Illustration: Fig. 57.]

TANKARDS AND WASTE-PAPER BOXES. Tankards, if small, may be turned from
solid wood, but, when large, it is best to have them made by the cooper,
of several pieces, and hooped with metal. To make the design for all
such cylindrical objects, take a piece of paper which will _exactly_ go
round, or correspond to the surface, and be sure to make the pattern
continuous, that is, without breaks, unless it be designed in divisions.
Wooden measures, such as are used by dealers in nuts, fruit, etc., are
well adapted to carving for tankards. They may be bought at general
furnishing shops.

  [Illustration: Fig. 58.


The old Irish, and sometimes the Danes, made a rude kind of tankard,
Fig. 58, by fastening together with nails, glue, or screws, four pieces
of oak panel or thin board. It was like drinking from a box. It makes a
useful receptacle for many purposes.

[Illustration: COCOA-NUT GOBLET.]




There are several small effects in ornament which the carver should
study with care; they are generally applicable to most kinds of
decorative art. The first of these is the employment of bosses or knobs,
some left plain, and some carved, hemi-spherical or less. They may be
almost flat, but are always smooth at the edge and polished. They were
very extensively used in early carving and metal-work, and the reader
may see many illustrations of them in the works of Hulme. Sometimes the
knob becomes a small spot or a mere dot, employed to introduce light
into a dark ground. The practical theory is that the knob represents
the plain or ornamental head of a nail used to hold the work to the
wall, or the rivets of armour, which the Goths transferred from coats of
mail to linen and woollen. But the real reason is to introduce points of

[Illustration: Fig. 59.]

[Illustration: Fig. 60.]

Knobs or bosses may be placed wherever there are wide spaces between
patterns. The rule of employing them is either a few large points or
many small ones; they must, however, be used sparingly. The principle of
introducing them is of very wide extension. Thus, in all kinds of work,
especially metal, grapes, melons, and other fruit are introduced solely
that, by their roundness and polish, they may make points of light or
"shiners." Old embossed work in leather and wood-carving often owes its
chief beauty to the polish, which time and use have given to the reliefs
on it. Of course the employment of "shiners" or bosses, and of all
kinds of smooth polished relief, should, as a general rule, be sparing,
subordinate, and judicious.

Nevertheless, in certain kinds of work, especially in much
flat-carving, which is intended to simply ornament a surface, at no
great expenditure of labour, just as tiles or tapestry might do, the
stems and portions of the leaves, or sometimes all the pattern, may be
polished as highly as possible, so as to make a relief against the dark
ground. Grounds are pricked or punched or dotted to make them dark,
and when the oil soaks into the holes they become permanently darker.
Therefore the pattern is to be in contrast; and when the object is no
more than to make a general decorative effect, not perfectly finished,
but like a sketch, it may be polished.

[Illustration: Fig. 61.]

[Illustration: Fig. 62.]

There is another curious effect given by crossing the pattern alone, or
the ground alone, with bars, lines, or stripes. It was very common at
one time. In carving, it may be produced with a small gouge or fluter;
though not natural, except where it is given in long and short lines to
represent the graining of wood, it has a good effect simply because it
distributes shadow evenly. It was probably derived from the effect of
"ribs" in cloths, which were much admired by the Venetian painters.

Door-knobs are effectively bosses, that is to say, the same
ornamentation may be applied to both, as to handles for bureaus,
cabinets, and other furniture. Figs. 59 to 62 will give the pupil some
examples and ideas for carving knobs and bosses.





It will sometimes happen to a carver that, owing to bad wood or
inadvertence, he splits away or breaks off a piece from his work. In
this case he must have recourse to glue. This should be of the very best
quality, perfectly light and clean. Glue is made in what alchemists used
to call a _balneum mariæ_, that is, of a vessel containing hot water,
within which is a smaller vessel. The glue, which is in the inner pot,
is therefore to be boiled by the heat of warm water, and not of the fire
directly. Before setting it to boil, break it into very small pieces,
say of the size of a hazel nut, and let it stand in cold water for
twelve hours. It will now be like a thick jelly. Pour off all the water
not absorbed, and put the jelly into the inner pot, fill the outer with
water and let it boil till the glue is like a thick cream. Use it while
in this state.

If you add to the glue, while thus liquid, some nitric acid, say about
a tea-spoonful to half a pint of glue, you will have a very superior
cement, which holds faster than the plain glue, and is much less liable
to crack or split. It dries more slowly, which makes it very valuable
for veneering and for large surfaces, where glue often dries before the
whole can be applied. Again, when an article fastened with common glue
is detached, it is often almost impossible to stick it on again with the
same. But with the acidulated glue this is easy.

The greatest advantage of this glue is, that if it be kept excluded from
the air it will remain in a liquid state for at least a year, and can be
used cold. Its disadvantages are a very pungent and not agreeable smell,
and the fact that, when corked up, the cork is most certain to get glued
to the bottle, and requires to be broken to get it out, rendering a new
one necessary. This may be avoided, however, with great care. Stir the
acid into the glue with a glass rod or tube.

It may happen that a rotten, broken place is found even in the best
wood; or the carver may obtain possession of a piece of ancient,
worm-eaten, half-decayed carving, and with a very little skill such
pieces can be perfectly repaired. Take a piece of similar wood, and
reduce it to fine sawdust by means of a rasp. For this purpose American
walnut and dark old oak, or cocoa-nut shell, which is easily pulverized
in a mortar, is excellent. Make this into a paste with glue, and repair
with it any broken places. This, if properly made, is quite like wood
itself, and may be moulded into any shape. It "takes hold" of the
ground, and when dry it may be filed into uniformity with the rest. It
may also be cut with ease or trimmed to shape, or, in fact, carved. If
there is too little glue in it it will break too easily, if there is too
much it will be too glazy. But a proper mixture makes it quite like

Scratches and chance cuts may be remedied by merely melting them with
hot water. But for such small defects a _filler_ is useful. This is a
kind of paint or liquid cement, the object of which is to fill up the
pores of certain coarse woods and make the surface fine. The squeezing
wax, described in the chapter on making moulds, is a filler. Others
are made by mixing flour with varnish, etc. Any dealer in paints and
varnishes will supply a filler suitable to any special work.

When a piece of wood-work is so decayed that it is absolutely dropping
to pieces, and cannot even be handled, it may be preserved and
rehabilitated by the following process. Take some thin glue and water,
or mucilage, or size of any kind, and a _spray_, that is, one of those
articles such as are used for spraying perfumes, etc., and which are
for sale in most chemist's shops. Spray or sprinkle the glue over the
figure, and, if necessary, gradually throw on it fine sawdust or other
powder. As it dries it may be shaped and worked more freely.

We read continually in the newspapers of the opening of old tombs and
ancient subterranean caves, in which are discovered dead bodies, bones,
dresses, implements of bone and wood or leather, or even of baked earth,
which gradually dropped into dust a few hours after being exposed to the
air. And I have never known a case in which these objects could not have
been preserved; certainly all which I have ever seen could have been.
All that is necessary to do is to make a thin size, and very gradually
spraying or sprinkling it on the objects, allow it to dry, little by
little. There are very few cases in which, indeed, the spray cannot be
successfully used. It was by the application of this principle that Sir
Joseph Hooker preserved the ivory articles brought from Nineveh by Sir
Austen H. Layard, and which would have perished but for him. He advised
that they should be boiled in gelatine. The student who becomes an
expert in such repairing will find plenty to do, and it will be his own
fault if it is not profitable. Nineteen people out of twenty have not
the least conception of the degree to which repairs may be carried.
Some years ago a gentleman in America had a very curious and valuable
vase from the pyramid of Cholula in Mexico. It was very fragile, being
made of the weakest terra-cotta, and having been broken to pieces, the
owner was about to throw it away, but gave it to me. Some months after I
repaired it so perfectly that the closest observation could not detect a
flaw in it. I did this by fastening pieces of paper on the inside with
gum, and so gradually bringing the fragments together, edge to edge,
and fastening them with the acidulated glue. When all were together,
there was, of course, a lining of paper. Where there was a fault or a
deficiency outside, I filled it in with plaster of Paris, rubbed it all
even, and coloured by "rubbing in" paint. This process would have been
much easier with decayed wood.

In gluing ordinary wood together, heat the two pieces first. This
renders them more inclined to "take" the glue. Sometimes it is a
difficult thing to hold them together till they "set," that is, adhere
so firmly that they will hold. For this the clamp, Fig. 7_a_, may often
be used. In other cases, take two pieces of wood, put one on each side
of the parts to be glued, and tie them tightly together; sometimes
clamps may be used to connect the binding pieces, when they are not
applicable to what is to be glued. Strong indiarubber rings or gummed
paper strips may be used in some cases. But with thought, ingenuity can
generally be awakened so as to help one out of any such difficulty.

A very perfect resemblance to carved wood may be made by taking
cocoa-nut powder or fine sawdust and mixing it with the acidulated glue,
so as to make a paste as already described. Then, having ready a mould,
either of plaster of Paris or of sunk or incised wood, and oiling it,
take the impression. These casts, retouched and glass-papered, are quite
like wood, and they may be used for decoration in doors.

The following are also excellent recipes for glue.

_Liquid glue._ Take of best glue three parts, place them in eight
parts of water, allow them to soak for some hours. Take half a part of
hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid), three-quarters of a part of sulphate
of zinc, add to these the glue, and keep the whole at a moderately high
temperature till fluid.

_Exceedingly strong cement_ for glass and china. Take gum arabic and
dissolve it in acetic acid instead of water. It must be melted in a
hottish place; it will be much stronger if this be done. The finest
quality of sheet gelatine makes a transparent glue.





Carved or any other wood is often dyed, stained, or toned. Sometimes
this is done to make one piece or part match with another; or it may be
to imitate the effect of age, or to give light woods a colour which will
prevent them from showing defects. This is effected in many ways.

_Oiling_ alone is a kind of colouring, for all oiled wood becomes much
darker before long. The more frequently it is rubbed in with a pine
stick the harder and darker the surface becomes. I have seen walnut
tables which had been thus rubbed with a stick or a hard scrubbing
brush, until a tea-cup wet with hot water on the outside would make no
mark on them. Had they been only softly oiled or painted, or varnished,
an indelible stain must have resulted. Care should be taken that the oil
is pure, and that _no wax_ has been boiled in it. A table which has had
wax on it for a polish will always show marks or stains from hot water.

_Soda_ dissolved in water, and applied to oak with a sponge or
brush, will give it a darker tone, which may be increased by several
applications. Dark tea with a little alum is also useful, also porter
or beer, also a decoction of walnut leaves. In America butternut gives
a very rich indelible dye. Let it be carefully observed that in using
these, or any other colours, the following rules must be strictly
observed. I. Use a sponge or brush and do not apply the dye profusely or
pour it on, as you will run great risk of warping the wood, or causing
it to split. II. It may be advisable to dry it near a fire, but in this
case exercise great care that the heat be not too great. III. When dry,
rub the dye off with a rag or soft old newspaper, or chamois skin. Do
this very carefully, and do not be disappointed if it seem very light
and to have taken but little dye. Apply the dye again, giving it plenty
of time to dry between the coatings. Of course this depends on the dyes
used, and the degree of colour required.

_Stephens' stains_ of different kinds, to imitate all kinds of wood,
or those of _Mander_ (Oxford Street, London), are very good, and may
now be purchased in every town. As a rule, most of these dyes are very
strong, and it is therefore necessary to dilute them with water and make
several applications, instead of putting on the whole strength at once.
The diluted dye is carefully painted over the entire surface with a
full flat camel's hair brush, and a smaller round brush is used in the
corners and smaller recesses. After using dyes, and when perfectly dry,
the wood should be oiled.

_Ammonia._ Wood, and especially oak, may be not only stained of a very
dark rich colour, giving the effect of age, by washing it carefully with
ammonia or spirits of hartshorn, and then exposing it for some time in a
chimney, or otherwise to the fumes of smoke, especially of a wood-fire
if it be possible. Strong spirits of ammonia, according to Rowe, may be
placed in an open vessel and then shut up with the panel in an airtight
chamber or box, the wood darkening according to the length of time it is
left in. The ammonia may have to be renewed, as it quickly evaporates.
For small work a glass shade may be used, or a box can be made with a
glass lid, and after the panel and saucer of ammonia have been placed
inside, the crevices can be pasted over with brown paper. When the
depth of colour is obtained, which can be seen through the glass, the
panel can be taken out. The wood must be so placed that the ammonia can
pass quite round the parts which require darkening. But for ordinary
purposes, it will be found quite sufficient to apply strong ammonia with
a brush or sponge, and expose it to smoke.

_Umber._ Common powdered umber, which is used by the house painter, is
much preferable to the Swiss brown liquid stain to produce an antique
brown appearance. The Swiss dye is entirely too rich and uniform, making
everything exactly alike, or similar to chocolate. But the umber must be
properly applied. Mix it with beer or porter; strong coffee is also very
good; and apply it with a brush. When dry rub it very carefully, clean,
and apply it again. If it be desirable to make the wood very dark, add
lamp-black to the dye, mixing and shaking it very thoroughly. But always
let the first applications be of umber alone. By adding the lamp-black
one can darken the wood almost to blackness, and if it be very carefully
done, and not in a hurry, and exposed at intervals to smoke in a warm
place, a colour second to none may be thus given.

_Paint._ Wood which is to be exposed to the air must of course be
painted in the ordinary way. But there is another method of applying oil
paint which is not so generally known or practised, yet which gives very
good results. This consists of _rubbing_ paint with the hand into wood
or on plaster of Paris, papier-maché, or stone. As it is much thinner
than with coats laid on with a brush, it appears more like an innate
or natural colour. This was the finger painting of the old Venetian
artists. The appearance thus produced, when it is skilfully done, is
very different indeed from that of an ordinary coat of paint, and in
most cases it is much more attractive.

_Ivorying._ Take a panel, the pattern may be carved, or even produced
in the lowest relief by simply indenting the outline with a wheel or
tracer. Any degree of relief will, however, do just as well. Apply a
coat of thick ordinary copal varnish. When perfectly dry smooth it with
finest glass or emery-paper. Then apply the paint; two or three coats
are better than one. See that the last is perfectly smooth. Then work on
the dry surface with tracer and stamps, as you would on wood or brass.
When finished, take a very small fitch-brush and paint Vandyke brown
into all the dots, lines, scratches, and irregularities. Let there be a
dark line of brown close to the outline of the pattern. Sometimes the
entire ground may be _rubbed_ with brown, allowing an indication or a
few dots of white yellow to show here and there. When dry give two coats
of retouching varnish (that of Söhnee Frères, No. 19, Rue des Filles du
Calvaire, Paris, is specially suited to this work). By using olive, dark
and light greens, a beautiful imitation of bronze can be thus obtained.
In fact, by studying the effects of colour in many kinds of old objects,
we may obtain hints for converting very ordinary wood-carving into
beautiful objects.

_Bichromate of Potash_, diluted with water to the required shade, is a
good dark dye, but great care should be taken not to spill a drop of it
on the clothing, or to get it on the hands, or even to inhale its fumes,
as it is a poison. Apply it with a brush.

_Black Dyes._ Of late years black dyes have been so much improved
that ebony is imitated with holly, hickory, and beech, to absolute
perfection. The best way for the carver, as regards these and all kinds
of dyes, such as red, yellow, green, etc., is to go to a chemist or
colourman, who will obtain them for him. For black the following recipes
may be used.


  White vinegar                  1 pint.
  Iron filings                   2 ounces.
  Antimony (powdered)            2 ounces.
  Vitriol                        1 ounce.
  Logwood                        3 ounces.

Steep it in a corked bottle for eight days.


  Gall nuts coarsely broken      2 ounces.
  Rain water                     1 quart.

Boil down to one half. (_Seaton._)

To stain wood, first apply No. II., when nearly dry put on No. I. and
then No. II. again. It will occur to the reader that this is really
ink, and, in fact, if he cannot get a stain, good common ink applied a
few times and well dried will answer quite as well. After it has been
thoroughly put on, and quite dry, oil the surface, and rub it well, and
it will be found that it will not wash off from any casual application
of water. Some of the writing inks now made are intensely black and
almost indelible.



It will very soon become apparent to every wood-carver that it is easier
to copy from a model than a drawing, and that this ease is very much
increased when he has made that model in clay himself. However, it is
also very advisable that he shall, after a time, practise carving from
drawings and sketches also, as this of itself gives great skill and
accuracy of perception. But he will very often need or wish to have
copies of carvings or casts, and these he may obtain with ease, if
the relief be not too great or the object too large. This is called
"taking a squeeze," and it may be done in two ways. Firstly, by means
of squeezing or modelling wax, which is sold by dealers in artists'
materials. The use of this and the casting in plaster of Paris is,
however, generally tiresome to beginners in carving. For all practical
purposes squeezes in paper are quite sufficient.

_Paper squeezes._ Take any pieces of soft newspaper. Oil the wood
or plaster cast which you wish to copy; soak, and then press on the
paper and, with your fingers and a sponge or a very stiff brush, poke
and squeeze it into every cranny of the original. If this be done
_thoroughly_, the hardest part of the work is accomplished. Now give the
paper a brush of flour-paste or gum or mucilage, or paste strengthened
with glue, and press on new pieces of paper. To merely copy the
original, a few thicknesses will suffice. Take the squeeze off and let
it dry; if necessary, touch it up with colour. For this the first coat
should be of _white_ paper. To make a cast, keep adding paper till the
whole is at least half an inch in thickness. Press it as hard as you can
while forming the mould. When it is dry you can paint or rub the inside
with any dry powder, such as whiting, or varnish it, and then make a
cast with the same material, _i.e._ paper and paste, or with plaster of
Paris. Papier-maché casts, when rubbed by hand with brown paint, form
perfect facsimiles of old wood-work. Rubbed with bronze-powders they
resemble metals, or they may be ivoried, by the process described in the
chapter on dyes.

Plaster-casts are very easily broken, and are heavy and difficult to
transport. Wax is spoiled almost by a touch, and it readily yields
to heat. Papier-maché, when properly managed, with a little practice
gives a mould which is equal to either for all surfaces except the most
minutely delicate. When dry, such casts may be let fall, or really
thrown about, without sustaining any injury, and they are very portable.
It is very often possible to easily copy an object with paper when
plaster or wax cannot be used at all. The reason why it is not more
generally used is because few persons have taken the pains to treat
it as a plastic material suitable to the arts, or are sufficiently
practised in it to know what can really be done with it. The wood-carver
should do this, because it is a very important thing for him to keep
copies of his works, or to get those of others to use in his designs.
With a little practice, and at no expense, he can make such casts in a
material which is almost as durable as wood itself.

In large manufactories of papier-maché the pulp of paper is simply mixed
with the paste or size, and put into the moulds in large masses, and
then subjected to pressure. When a good surface is secured with fine
white paper, it is not of much consequence how coarse the paper for the
_backing_ may be. For this purpose it may be mixed with tow or fibre of
any kind, plaster, or fine sawdust, etc., so long as the _binder_ or
size be only strong enough to hold all together. But for all ordinary
purposes waste-paper and paste, thickened with common glue, will




This is a manner of ornamenting which can hardly be called carving,
and which would not deserve special mention were it not that it is so
extensively used, it being the chief method of decoration in all the
islands of the Pacific, and still extensively practised in Sweden and
Norway. It consists of small incised triangles, or "diamonds," made with
a skew or ordinary chisel, which are arranged in rows or lines. Simple
as the work may seem, it is very effective when artistically employed;
and it has this peculiarity, that no other kind of cutting is so well
adapted, with very little labour, to relieve flat surfaces, such as
paddles, tankards, spoons, war clubs, and scoops or dippers.

The triangular incision is made with three cuts; by adding two more
from the opposite direction we make a diamond, or the latter may be
produced at once with only four cuts, Fig. 63. To these we may add the
hemi-spherical or cup hollow, which is made with a gouge, and which,
in Scotland at least, seems to have been the earliest pre-historic
beginning of ornamentation of flat surfaces.

When these triangles and diamonds are tastefully arranged in lines, and
filled in with a composition, or paint, which contrasts in colour with
the wood, the effect is often excellent. Ordinary putty, into which a
little mastic has been well worked, or plaster of Paris with size and
a little flour paste, with one drop of oil to an ounce, makes a good
filler for such a purpose. This may be applied to any incised cutting.
An ivory-like filling, which may be stained of any colour, and which was
once extensively used in Florence, is made with rice, lime, and size.

[Illustration: Fig. 63.]

Any pattern which can be drawn in lines may be executed with good effect
in triangular spots, the base of every spot being on the line. They may
either join one another or be separated; both methods produce a good
effect. The spots may be of all sizes, and are generally not larger than
those at the top in the above illustration.

Large triangles may of course be used as well as small ones. Owing to
the ease with which these spots are made, and the good effect which they
produce when blackened, it is not remarkable that so simple a method of
decorating wood is extensively practised.

By placing a gouge vertically and turning it, as already mentioned, a
cup-like cavity is easily cut. A row of these is often very effective.




  "The most difficult part of making is to know what to make."

In no circumstances should the wood-carver be at a loss for a subject
to work on, yet this is the commonest source of complaint, especially
among young artists, that they "do not know what to take up." One result
of this is the wearisome production of panels or "fancy pieces" without
any definite aim, and a constant imitation of one another's work.
Unfortunately there are a great many who cannot understand or form any
idea how a pattern would look when executed. They will pass it over in
an engraving, but when they see it actually carved and made up they
appreciate it. Now the tutor should teach the pupils, and the students
teach themselves, to think of subjects, to invent them, to sketch
and execute them. I have found that all workers are invariably more
defective in this respect than in any other, and that it is one in which
the direction of almost every art school in the world is either utterly
wanting, or else leaves much to be desired.

[Illustration: Fig. 64.]

Pupils should be encouraged to look at every object with an eye to
ornamenting or decorating it, so far as that can be done without
detracting from its usefulness. In every school a list of objects for
carving should be hung up, and the workers be frequently requested to
think of subjects to add to the list; outline sketches of furniture
and other objects should be supplied. It is not at all understood
that even a very little frequent employment of the mind inventing and
planning, no matter at what, stimulates _all_ the mental faculties to an
extraordinary degree.

I therefore seriously urge that the wood-carver shall earnestly study
the following list of subjects, add to it, and at times take one or
the other of them and sketch it with variations. He may remember while
doing this, that any of the ornaments given may be varied and applied to
different things, as, for instance, the vine on a circular panel may be
easily adapted to a square. Full directions for doing this may be found
in "The Manual of Design,"[2] price one shilling, which also contains
many patterns perfectly adapted to carving.

      [2] London: Whittaker and Co. Chicago: Rand, McNally and Co.

The first subject to be considered is: What to design or make; how its
surface can be appropriately ornamented; and, how to produce the best
effect with the least work. Mere elaboration is admired only by the
ignorant, and the less cultivated a pupil is, the more inclined he will
be to densely crowded petty patterns.

If the pupil wants a design for any of the objects described in this
chapter, and if he can draw at all, and has any skill in adapting or
changing a pattern, as, for instance, to make one which fills a triangle
or a square "set" into a circle, or extend to a long panel or a border,
he will find something for any of them, either in this book, or in the
"Manual of Design" already referred to. Let him also take pains to
collect as many patterns as he can of all kinds, and keep them in a
portfolio for reference.

Every student of wood-carving should remember that if he has a folding
looking-glass, which he can make for himself by cutting in two a square
mirror of, say, six inches by twelve, he can, out of any pattern in this
book, or from any simple ornament whatever, make (with the least effort
of ingenuity or adaptiveness) a border by repeating it in succession,
or a centre ornament which may be multiplied in whole or in part _ad
infinitum_. That is to say, he can fill any given space, be it a panel,
ceiling, circle, triangle, or hexagon. Or he can fill such spaces by
simply cutting out ornaments from card-board, and placing them together
to form vines or outgrowths from one another.

_Panels._ A panel is defined as a board with a surrounding frame. The
word is derived from the old English _panel_, a piece of cloth, Latin
_pannus_, "a cloth or patch"; from the same word we have _pane_. In
wood-carving we practically apply it to small boards intended to be
set in furniture, or walls, or ceilings, or made into book-covers
or box-lids. The uses of panels are without limit, as they may be
introduced into almost every kind of furniture, such as the backs and
sides of chairs, chests, bedsteads, caskets, window-garden boxes, doors,
or wherever a flat surface can be adorned. When surrounded with a frame
or several strips of moulding, any panel becomes improved when the outer
frame is not overdone. As a rule the border of a panel should be plain,
so as to distinctly define or set forth the pattern. For this reason
many very ordinary and even rude subjects "come out" or look well when
thus "mounted." A series of carved panels makes a beautiful frieze for
any room. A good general size for most work is a panel six inches by
twelve, more or less, and half an inch thick. In _spacing_ a panel for
ornament the pupil may begin by making one circle in the centre and one
in each corner, so that the five may fill up the whole space. Convert
these into a vine and apply ornaments. There are of course endless
variations of this principle. (Consult the "Manual of Design.")

_Chairs._ Take any chair, copy it, and then fill the spaces with
ornaments to be carved. Large, square, high-backed, old-fashioned chairs
admit of the most panelling, and can be made up by any cabinet-maker or
carpenter, _vide_ Fig. 69. It is a very good plan to always have such
objects made up in pieces, carve them separately, and then have them
put together. It may be observed for beginners, and those who are not
much practised in cabinet-making, that there is a very substantial kind
of furniture once made very commonly in Germany, and which has been
much revived of late years. It is made entirely without glue, nails, or
screws, by simply cutting holes into which tenons or _ends_ project,
which ends are fastened on the other side by holes and pins.

[Illustration: Fig. 65.]

On this principle every kind of furniture can be made by any man who is
ingenious enough to simply measure boards, cut square holes, and adapt
pins to them. Such articles as are made by this process are very much
stronger than any others, and they have the great advantage that they
can be easily taken apart, packed, or be stored in very small space
when not in use; and the style is of course more adapted to carving
than ordinary furniture. The writer has in his possession chairs 250
years old made on this principle. The seat is a square nearly two inches
thick, in which four holes are bored, into which the legs are simply
set, as in a milking-stool. Between the hind legs two square holes are
cut, into which similar tenons made in the lower end of the back are
fitted. In these tenons two square holes are cut, just exactly on the
other side of the seat, into which square pins are driven, Fig. 65. With
a very little ingenuity or will, anybody can contrive to make any piece
of furniture on the same principle. The seats of chairs and stools, or
the faces of tables, should never be carved, for very apparent reasons.
There is plenty of space for the carver to work at on the edges and
legs, and this may be made striking enough by means of colouring and
gilding, Figs. 64 and 66.

[Illustration: Fig. 66. CONSOLE OR BRACKET.]

_Boxes._ These have formed in all ages favourite subjects for
decoration. They vary from the smallest casket to the chest. A box
with the lid forms five panels, or, seen from any point, three. In
Italy, of old, they were often carved without and within. Boxes may
be made by simply gluing, nailing, or screwing together, but they
may be so dovetailed by an expert workman that the juncture is quite
imperceptible. _Vide_ "Forty Lessons in Carpentry Practice," by C. F.
Mitchell. Cassell and Co. It is a feat in cabinet-making to do this
_perfectly_, and boxes thus joined are very expensive. The appearance
of boxes is much improved by the addition of moulding-strips, bases,
and projecting ornaments. The student is advised to carve or buy a few
bosses, such as heads of animals or faces, and rosettes, and try the
experiment of fitting them to a box or carving them on one, Fig. 67.

[Illustration: Fig. 67.]

_Caskets for Cigars._ This applies also to receptacles into which
glasses for flowers may be put. Take a cylinder of wood, turned, or made
up like a barrel, and fit a base to it, and a lid. They may be made of
very large joints of bamboo, which may also be beautifully carved, and
partly coloured in the lines, as is common in China. It is best for
turned cylinders and bamboo to have them surrounded with metal rings to
prevent their splitting. They may also be made square, that is, as

[Illustration: Fig. 68. TRAY FOR CIGAR ASHES.]

_Trays for Cigar Ashes._ These are best when carved from hard wood,
such as box, though any other may be used. It is much better that
they be made rather larger and deeper than many in use, as ashes are
continually being knocked out of small and shallow ones. They may be
round or square, like a fish or a small book (with a lid), a shell, a
tortoise, or a scooped hand, a face, or a figure of any animal or human
being, Fig. 68.

_Basket-work._ This is very easily imitated in wood, and it forms a
very pretty and fanciful style for many kinds of objects. Take any kind
of basket-work, either that of split osiers, which are half-round, or
Italian rush-work, or American Indian, which is made of flat strips
of ash or pine-bark interwoven, or Indian rattan, and imitate it with
flat gouges or firmers. It is very easy work, and beginners soon become
expert in it. It improves the effect, when the work is finished, if
dark colour be painted into the depressions. Basket-work may be used
for diaper ground. The American Indian basket-work, in flat strips from
one-third of an inch to an inch in breadth, is easiest to imitate, and
may be executed with a single V tool or firmer.

_Casks, Small Barrels, Kegs._ These are useful for waste-paper boxes, or
to contain canes and umbrellas. When carved and coloured they form very
attractive articles of furniture. They may be used for garden seats.
Heads of animals _appliqué_ to these, some for handles to lift them, or
else holes must be cut in them for this purpose, _vide_ Fig. 56.

_Frames for Pictures or Looking-glasses._ These give a wide range to
the wood-carver, for all borders are suitable to frames. Heads may be
_appliqué_ to corners and centres of frames. It is very much to be
desired that designers and carvers would exert their inventiveness and
endeavour to break up the monotony and feebleness which characterize
most frames, _vide_ borders and photograph frames.

  [Illustration: MINIATURE FRAME.    _P. 128._]

_Horns._ Horns may be carved, as previously described, and imitations of
them in wood are easily made. They are ornamental objects, and useful
when hung up to contain small objects. They can, by steeping in hot
water, be softened and flattened, _vide_ initial to Fifteenth Lesson.

_Tiles._ These are really panels. They are pieces of wood from half an
inch to an inch in thickness, the size of ordinary tiles, carved in bold
relief with free hand, coloured or not, and are very useful for house
decoration, chimney-piece borders, cornices, and corners. The tile when
employed with much repetition becomes the diaper ornament.

_Window Gardens_ to contain flower-pots. These are square chests, as
long as the window is wide, and from a foot to eighteen inches in depth.
They may be made with two or three panels, or one long panel in front,
with one at each end. They form admirable subjects for decoration.

_Albums, Portfolios, Book-covers._ These are panels, and afford an
infinite range of design and effects in wood-carving. They may be very
beautifully and easily ornamented in mere stamping and outlining (_vide_
Lesson II.), or by putting in diaper grounds, or basket-work, or by very
low relief carving, in which case there should be a border in a little
higher relief to protect the pattern from being rubbed, Fig. 70.

_Canoes._ In many countries large or real canoes are made from one piece
of wood and elaborately carved. Very pretty miniature canoes may be made
from one to three feet in length from any kind of wood, and covered with
any kind of ornamentation. It is not necessary to excavate them from a
single block or log, as they may be made from two or more pieces. They
form useful receptacles for many objects.

[Illustration: Fig. 69.]

_Panels of Doors._ These might be generally ornamented. Every kind of
wood-carving is applicable to them, but it should be remembered that
for all such decoration a large, free, and bold style is absolutely
necessary, and that it is unwise to make mural work, which should be
visible at great distances, out of pretty flowers or too delicate work.
A room with good bold door-panels, wainscot, or dado and a frieze,
seems half furnished, while trifling and feeble ornaments detract from
such appearance. The great secret of the attractiveness of mediæval and
savage decoration is its energy. Even eccentricity and grotesqueness
lose all that is repulsive in them when they are simply and vigorously
set forth.

Carved patterns in low relief may be applied to door-panels.

[Illustration: Fig. 70. ALBUM COVER.]

_Foot-stools._ These are really small panelled boxes, unless made with
supports or legs.

_Benches._ Simple benches are seldom decorated, but they are admirably
adapted to it. Never carve the seats, unless they are made to fold up
to protect them from the rain, in which case the under ornaments of
choir-seats or misereres may be appropriately used. When the bench has
a back it becomes a rude sofa or settee or settle (Anglo-Saxon _setl_,
a seat). Properly speaking a settle is a _long_ bench with a high back.
This may be carved in panels. There was an old Saxon and early English
double chair made to seat two, which is like a short settle.

[Illustration: Fig. 71. HANGING BOX.]

_Hanging Boxes._ These are boxes generally made with a back, which is
the longest piece, and which goes above and below the receptacle part.
They are useful for newspapers or letters. Every kind of carving is
applicable to them, Fig. 71.

_Key Boxes._ These are small hanging cabinets. In every family there are
many loose keys of trunks and furniture lying about loose, and hard to
find when wanted. If there were a key box they would always be readily
found. Make a box or frame, let us say eighteen inches in length by
ten inches width, of four strips of deal or any wood. These strips may
be half an inch in thickness by an inch in width. Nail or glue them
together so as to form the four sides of a box. Then take one or two or
three strips of thin planed board, and neatly nail them on to form a
back to the shallow box. Now take a panel, which is to form the lid or
door of the cabinet. It will be better to make a narrow frame of four
strips, and set the panel in this, as a door, with hinges and lock.
This is to be hung up on the wall. It will very much improve the whole
if the interior and outside of the cabinet, or all the deal, be stained
to match the door, which, as it is to be carved, should be of walnut
or oak, or some better class of wood. Then get some small silver or
plated-headed nails and drive them in rows in the cabinet. The keys are
to be hung up on these.

_Cabinets._ These may be in the nature of upright boxes with doors, with
three sides ornamented, the fourth being placed against the wall, or
three-sided for a corner. The forms of cabinets are extremely varied,
and the artist should pass much time in designing them. They are of all
sizes, from great _armoires_ for clothing down to caskets. The word
cabinet is derived from the French _cabane_, a cabin. The earliest
dwellers in Italy made the receptacles for the ashes of the dead exactly
like the cabins in which they dwelt.

_Sabots or Wooden Shoes._ These serve admirably to carve, and are very
pretty when coloured or ivoried, bronzed in antique style, or otherwise
ornamented. Sabots are useful to contain small articles, and may be
turned into cigar-ash holders.

_Umbrella Handles._ These offer an inexhaustible field for the designer
and carver of small objects.

_Tankards._ These and all kinds of cylindrical objects are the same
as regards design as panels, only that the pattern when not in set
divisions must be continuous, or going round without a break. They have
been already described.

_Pen and Pencil Boxes._ A very convenient form is that of a round-turned
wood, plain, upright jar. Small square or round carved boxes for such a
purpose are not hard to make. They may be made like towers or castles,
the trunks of trees, barrels, or almost any hollow objects.

[Illustration: Fig. 72. FLASK.]

_Pilgrim Bottles and Powder Flasks._ Take two pieces of board, each
one inch thick, plane them smooth, and saw both into ovals exactly
matching, of, say, six inches by ten. Cut away the centre from both. Fit
them exactly. Then round each half in such a manner that, when brought
together, they form a round ring, like a French loaf. Then carefully
hollow out the centre of both, including the neck, and glue the halves
together. Carve the outside, Figs. 72 and 73. During the Middle Ages
such bottles were made of many sizes to contain gunpowder. They were
carved from ivory or hard wood, and were covered with a very great
variety of subjects, such as deer, dogs, wild boars, birds, cupids,
scenes from the heathen mythology and the Bible, as well as ordinary

[Illustration: Fig. 73. PILGRIM BOTTLE.]

_Shrines or Reliquaries._ This is the conventional name for boxes or
caskets made exactly in the form of houses, the lid being one side of
the roof. The shape is a convenient one for a box. They were covered
with ornaments of the most varied or grotesque kinds.

_Mummies._ The Egyptian mummy or its outward box or sarcophagus forms
an excellent subject for a useful box. Take two pieces of wood, adapt
them to make a box, like the Egyptian type, that is, the lid being about
one-fourth as thick as the box. _Appliqué_ or glue more wood on to the
lid, in the centre. The whole may be then smoothed into shape, painted
and gilt, or else carved in low relief, or simply stamped. It may also
be all gilt, and the dot work and shadows painted in brown or ivoried.
Take for model a real sarcophagus. The work is not difficult, and the
result will be a very handsome object.

_Roman Sarcophagus._ This is simply a square box carved in very high
relief, after the pattern of a Roman tomb. The ornaments may be
_appliqué_. These sarcophagi are very beautiful when ivoried.

_Books._ A very pretty pattern for a box is an old book of the twelfth
or thirteenth century, with its clasps and other ornaments in high
relief. One of the covers is set on hinges, and forms the lid. Care
should be taken to polish and ornament the whole so as to look like
an original. It was very common to make the sides of old books of
wooden panels, which were carved in high relief. Silver and brass or
iron clasps and studs taken from such old books may be bought in many
bric-à-brac shops.

_Staves or Alpenstocks._ A staff four or five feet in length is more
useful for a pedestrian going a great distance than a cane, and it
is remarkable that it should have fallen into such disuse. In old
times in northern countries they were often made square, the corners
being slightly rounded, and were then covered with Runic inscriptions
and ornaments. These were very often almanacks, so that a man wishing
to know what was the day of the week or month had only to consult
his staff, or to "up stick." These were called clogs. They might be
acceptable and useful to many tourists. They were commonly carved by the
peasants, and a few may possibly still be found in Suffolk.

_Spoons._ Wooden spoons are easily carved and ornamented. It is very
curious, that quite apart from any modern slang attached to the words
"spooney" or "to spoon," two spoons, from their fitting together
exactly, are considered in many countries as a type of matrimony and
perfect agreement. In Wales, as in Sweden and Algeria, it is usual to
present a newly married couple with a piece of wood carved into the
form of two spoons, and I myself possess specimens of such. If anyone
wishes to establish the custom in England he would probably find that
the present would be generally welcome. Two spoons in one cup are, it
is well known, the sign of a happy marriage. I have seen large wooden
spoons carved and painted and varnished, or gilt; two of these tied
together with a ribbon were hung up as an amulet to secure peace.

_Bellows._ These are carved in low relief, and may be ornamented by
simple indentation or outlining and stamping. It is the easiest course
to get the wood and saw it out, half or one-third inch walnut or oak,
and then carve it, and have the bellows made up, Figs. 74 and 75.

_Platters._ Take a piece of panel, one-third to half of an inch in
thickness, and saw it out into any shape, such as that of a fish, a wild
boar, a pig, a cat, a rabbit, tortoise, hare, etc., care being taken
that the shape always approach that of a circle, an oval, or at least
a diamond. Most animals can be drawn fitting into a circular border,
as you can ascertain for yourself by putting a cat or a hare, etc.,
into a hoop. Indent with stamped work or carve in ribbon-work, low
relief, finish and polish with care, dye black, and then oil or varnish.
These are useful for interposing between cups, vases, etc., and the
table-cloth. Very pretty effects may be produced by inlaying small discs
of pearl or ivory to form the eyes, etc.

[Illustration: Fig. 74. THE WIND-FLOWER, OR ANEMONE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 75. A SALAMANDER.]

_Lunettes and Spaces._ It will often happen that there is over a
chimney-piece or door, or under or over a window, a space like a
semi-circle, or half an ellipse or oval, or square or rectangle of any
kind, which might very well be filled in, and it will be found that, in
most cases, there is nothing more appropriate than wood-carving. It will
be an easy matter for anyone in the least familiar with drawing to adapt
the designs in this work, or in the "Manual of Design," to such spaces.

_False Sofa-backs._ When a plain flat lounge or sofa is placed against a
wall its appearance may be greatly improved in one of two ways. Firstly,
a carpet or cloth may be hung on the wall, just matching it in size and
meeting it. Secondly, and this is very effective, get boards or panels
made into a piece, just as broad as the sofa is long, and from two feet
to any height you please. It may reach down to the ground, or begin with
the sofa. Carve it. This will seem to be the back of the sofa, or a
guard for the wall; in any case it will appear very well. It may be made
of separate panels, say six or eight inches by twelve or sixteen, made
up into a frame. Such pieces may be placed to back any kind of furniture
which rests permanently against the wall.

_Door Pieces._ Panels just as long as the door is wide, and from one
to two, three, or even four feet across, when carved, form handsome
decorations to place _above_ a door; they may also be used to place
above windows. Inscriptions, or simple figures with ornament, look very
well on them.

_Outside or Façade Pieces._ Many a house, be it mansion or cottage,
which seems utterly prosaic and plain, might be greatly improved if
between its windows, on the outside, there could be set ornamental
panels. These may be painted, carved in stone, moulded of Portland
cement or other artificial stone, and in many cases carved of wood.
Ornamented inscriptions in old English, and simple figures, are suitable
for these panels; in any case let those who adopt them try not to have
the commonplace cupids and ornaments generally seen in mural decoration.
It may not be in good form to be grotesque, but those who entirely avoid
it are almost always commonplace. Fig. 76.

[Illustration: Fig. 76.]

_Wood or Coal Boxes._ These are square boxes with lids, to be placed
by the fireplace. The coal-scuttle, with the coals, may be placed in
them. In carving everything of the kind it is a good idea to introduce
ornamental lettering and appropriate mottoes.

_Bread Platters._ These may be seen in every fancy or furnishing shop
where wooden wares are sold. They can be much improved by carving to
serve as round panels.

_Chimney-pieces._ These generally consist of pilaster panels and strips,
and anybody who can execute these in detail can have them made up. It is
desirable for the pupil to copy a few or many chimney-pieces, great or
small, from real ones, and adopt the ornaments from them. And as they
are articles which receive a great deal of wear and tear and rubbing,
it may be well to remember that too delicate finish is misplaced where
scrubbing with soap and sand is sure to set in some day, and where, at
any rate, dusting and other processes are inevitable. After a few years
the foliage or flowers undercut to the last degree, begin to shed their
leaves, and appear broken or ragged. Good flat-carving, which endures
anything, is better than this, and the roses, even if in high relief,
would look none the worse for being solidly though conventionally cut. A
good chimney-piece and a handsome high-backed armchair can be very well
executed by anybody who can do ordinary panel carving.

There is no fireplace in even the humblest cottage for which a
chimney-piece may not be made. Its upper portion can in most cases be
made to support shelves or a cabinet; when in a corner these of course
are triangular. Gothic or ornamented lettering may be used in the
ornament. For this, proverbs or quotations relative to the fireplace are

_Beams._ When the beams which support the floor above are left exposed,
the room is improved by being made higher. If these beams are carved,
even if it be done rudely, the whole room seems to be adorned. This is
strikingly the case when the beams are stained a dark brown, and then
touched up a little on the prominent points with gilding. If it be
too difficult to carve the beams _in situ_ or in place, it is easy to
ornament them with applied carved ornaments. Pains should be taken to
make these appear to be uniform with the wood.

_Racks._ These may be for umbrellas, hats, garments, pipes weapons, and
other purposes. Great ingenuity and taste can be developed in designing
them. Of one thing let the designer be very careful. Let him see that
the pegs or hooks are strongly fixed and are not ornamented. I have seen
such pieces of furniture, in which a four-cornered sharp-edged flower is
placed once and even twice on a hook, while on others there is at the
end a projection more than an inch in diameter, which is flat on the
back or under side, with a sharp edge. The result is, that when a coat
is hung by the loop on such a peg and is then turned or twisted once or
twice, as often happens, it is almost impossible at times to get it off.

_The Boss_ or round central projection formed a very important part
or speciality in mediæval wood-carving. It can be advantageously used
as a centre, and sets off to good effect surrounding flat or plain
carving. It is sometimes used as a handle for chests. It is, when a
simple half-circle, very easily sketched into shape. It may be formed
into the head of an animal, a flower, a single curling leaf, or several
leaves. The student is specially urged to copy as many as he can from
Gothic designs. A boss at the bottom of a bowl, or in a saucer or
_plaque_, produces a good effect, the concave surface round it making
a beautiful effect of shade, which might be more frequently employed
by picture-frame makers. This ornament, which is very easily made and
very striking, is thus prepared. Get a bowl or a shallow round platter;
any turner will make one for you. Then carve from a hemisphere of wood
a head or a boss of leaves or flowers, or a dragon. Round the bottom
with a file to fit, and with glue and a screw fasten it to the bowl. The
interior of the bowl may be polished, varnished, gilded, or ivoried.

_Clock Cases._ A common clock is not very expensive, and when it is
properly repainted and set in a well-carved frame its value will be very
much enhanced. A tower is a very good subject for a clock case.

_Vestibule._ The small ante-hall, between the first and second door,
common in very many houses. This can be ornamented with a wainscot or
dados in long panels. It is very often thus decorated in America. For
cottages and country houses, or even for town mansions, such panels
may be beautifully and fitly decorated with gouge-work in grooves, a
flat pattern in simple cutting-in, such as any person may learn how to
execute in a few hours. Fill in the pattern or cuts with dark paint,
and if exposed to changes of temperament or rubbing, let it be oiled or
varnished. The same work is of course as appropriate to halls as any
other rooms, but the vestibule, being small, may serve for a beginning.

_Staircase Balusters._ These afforded inexhaustible work for the artists
of the olden time, and they should be tempting to every wood-carver.
It is not at all necessary that they should be strictly of open work,
in lattices or rails, as beautiful objects of the kind were once often
made in panels. But the carver should especially be aware of projecting
leaves or crochets, as they are very apt to "catch" garments.

_Garden-work._ Much bold wood-carving may be executed for gardens in a
great variety of forms. Stands or tables for potted flowers and tubs
may be decorated, panels placed in walls, and summer-houses made in far
greater variety than they are at present. Poetry supplies an infinite
variety of inscriptions appropriate to gardens, which may be carved
and ornamented. It is worth noting that statues of Flora and Pomona
and Vertumnus in simple archaic forms were used to protect gardens and
orchards among the Romans, and it would be an easy matter to carve these
in low relief in panels.

_Gates._ The gates of country places, gardens, etc., afford a wide scope
for the skill of the carver, and as they are the first objects generally
seen about a house they may be most appropriately ornamented. In this,
as in much other work, the art of the carpenter is combined with that of
the carver. It should be, however, remembered, as regards gates, as of
all decoration whatever, that anything which can ever be in any manner
in the way is not beautiful, sensible, or proper. There should never be
a jagged or pointed ornament wherever it can "catch" clothing.

_Bedsteads._ The bedstead was of old considered so appropriate for
carving, that I find in an excellent old Italian work on furniture more
illustrations of this article than any other. Even very simple and cheap
ones may be redoubled in value by a little judicious carving.

_Trays._ These may be made in great variety, to contain many kinds of
objects. As a rule the tray is a long shallow box, but it may be carved
from one piece of wood, and is then used to carry objects in, the single
piece being necessary to give it strength. If ornamented with carving
the tray forms an attractive object when hung up on the wall. And it
may be here remarked that one great object of all carving is, that most
objects which are useful in some way shall be ornamental when not in
use. We do not wish to have trays and coal-boxes in the way if they are
plain, but when decorated they serve as well as pictures to ornament a

_Coal or Wood Boxes. See Wood or Coal Boxes._

_Salt Boxes, Collection Boxes._ These very useful articles need not
be limited as regards contents, nor confined to the kitchen or to
"collection." If the part of the box which goes against the wall, or
its back, be lengthened, the salt box becomes a kind of bracket. _Vide
Hanging Boxes._

_Shelf-boards._ It very often happens that a literary man, or
draughtsman, or architect, though his work-table may be large, finds
it crowded with books, etc. To find place for these the shelf-board is
very convenient. It is simply a board, let us say one foot wide, placed
on two supports, which lift it twelve or fifteen inches from the table.
To economize room these supports may each be a square open box, in
which books may be placed. The advantage of this shelf is that it may
be displaced at any time when the table is cleared. A plain board in a
room is not an attractive object, its edge, or even one side of it, may
therefore be carved.

_Brackets and Bracket Shelves._ These useful objects may be made in a
great variety of forms. The simplest is merely three pieces of board
fastened together in a triangle. In the illustration, Fig. 77, there
are five pieces. The centre of _b_ slopes at an angle of 45°. Bracket
shelves are made by hanging two brackets and laying a board across them.
A bracket may be made on a longer board, and have two or more shelves,
it then becomes a hanging rack or cabinet. Or the support may be a long
strip in which pegs of wood or metal are placed, on which objects are
hung. A very great variety of carved or stamped ornament may be adapted
to brackets.

[Illustration: Fig. 77. BRACKET. THE TANNHÄUSER.]

_Violin and Guitar Cases._ In the old times these were often elaborately
carved, and thus formed an ornament, instead of being, like all now
used, anything but attractive.

_Handles for Drawers._ The hanging or hinge style of old-fashioned
handles, now so prevalent, has the drawbacks of not being always easy to
open or "find," and of frequently breaking. The knob, which was screwed
on, was always wearing out and getting out of order. The best and most
practical kind is made with a square shank which passes through a square
hole in the drawer. It has also in itself a square hole into which a
square pin is driven, which holds it fast. Carving in very low relief
may be applied to ornament these handles, but it should never be such as
to produce positive inequalities, such as press into, or may hurt the
hand. If the pin be slightly wedge-shaped, it can never wear out, nor
can the handle become loose, since when it does, all that is required is
to drive it in further. A very plain chest of drawers may be made much
more attractive with a handsome set of handles. Handles are another form
of bosses.

_Applied Ornaments._ Old Roman bronze coins, such as may be bought for
two or three pence, are often quite handsome enough to be applied with
beautiful effect in caskets, tankards, or boxes. Lay the coin on the
wood, draw its exact circle with a pin, and do this until the line is
rather deeply scratched. Cut out the disc with great care, so that the
coin may fit tightly into it. For this purpose very thick coins are
preferable. Let it project a little from the surface. Fasten it in with
diamond or Turkey cement. Of course, medals or coins of any kind may be
used. Make a border in the wood round the coin, and if you like, apply
other ornament to this border. Large nails with circular boss heads are
very effective in furniture. Chests may be beautifully ornamented with

_Waste-Paper Box._ A carved box is much more "sightly" and solid than an
ordinary waste-paper basket. The box may be carved in a basket pattern,
and made rather wider at the top than the bottom.

_Borders._ Any ornament continued in a line or strip forms a border. A
wave line, or one made of hemi-circles, joined or not with ornaments
in every compartment, is a good plan for a border. So is a vine of any
kind. When the hemi-circles are squared and joined, it becomes the basis
for the Greek Meander or Wall of Troy. Angles and other forms are also
used. Any diaper may be repeated so as to form a border. Borders around
panels and other margins, and all along the edges of boards for shelves,
brackets and most of the works mentioned in this list, may be executed
in highly decorative effect, and with an ease and precision difficult
to attain by carving, with the hammer and stamps mentioned in the first
lesson. Lines are first drawn on the work as guides to place the punches
to insure regularity.

[Illustration: Fig. 78. LECTERN.]

_Pilaster._ Though this term is generally applied to what may be
called a flat-sided pillar against a wall, or a flat half pillar, in
wood-carving it means quite as often a perpendicular border in relief.
Like borders, pilasters are used in many ways in decoration, as on
walls, bureaux, cabinets, sideboards, tables, or wherever a long "strip"
is to be filled.

_Base Moulding._ This is generally a border which is the lower portion
of a piece of furniture, etc. Thus, if there is a panel and frame,
and under this, just over the "feet," a carved strip, it is a base
moulding. Narrow fillets on these may be also decorated by stamping.

_Sideboard or Buffet._ A piece of furniture eminently adapted to
ornament. It may be made with a back or with shelves, niches, or a
cabinet placed on it instead of a back.

_Alms Boxes, Money Boxes._ These are made up for churches, generally
after Gothic designs, and afford a wide range of design.

_Lectern._ A church reading desk. This has always been a favourite
subject with wood-carvers, Fig. 78.

_Ends of Pews._ A favourite subject for carvers in the days of old,
_vide_ Fig. 80.

_Porte-papier._ A very useful article to carry paper, or a sketchbook,
or to press leaves and flowers and convey them home. Take two pieces of
board, from one-third to one-half an inch in thickness, and six inches
by eight in size, more or less as may be desired. The paper is placed
between these boards and the whole secured with a hand-strap. It is
usual to carve a flower pattern on these.

_Ring or Circular Boxes._ Take a board, of any thickness, _e.g._ one of
two inches, and make of it a disc or circle, using the steel fret saw,
Fig. 16; then marking out another circle within this, saw out a ring
about three-quarters of an inch in thickness. Adapt to this a bottom
and lid, both, of course, also circular. It will be like what is known
as a cheese box. To double the depth saw out two rings and glue them
together. This will give four inches depth. Boxes may thus be made of
any shape, such as a fish, and then carved.

_Photograph or Mirror Frames, or Mounts._ Take a piece of thin board,
six inches by four or five, or any size required. Cut out of one corner
of this as much as will be required for the photograph or mirror,
leaving enough wood for a pattern. These have become very popular of
late, Fig. 79.


_Triptych._ Two folding covers or boards on hinges, intended to cover a
picture or carved or enamelled or inlaid work. These triptychs may be
used reversed as writing desks, or else carved on both sides, and then
when open hung on the wall as ornaments. When there are only two boards,
as in an album, it is called a diptych.

_Encoignures._ Tables made with an angle to fit into a corner of a room.

_Shields._ Carved in wood, these form beautiful ornaments.

_Incitega._ A kind of stand or table for flowers. It was generally made
of rods or strips, but it may be very easily formed like a box, that is,
a truncated pyramid reversed. The sides are carved.

_Monopodium or Centre-table._ A small circular table supported on a
central stem or foot, used by the ancients at social entertainments.

_Orb._ A globe covered with ornaments carved in low relief. They form
very effective decorations.

_Finial._ A terminating ornament, corresponding to a flower as a crochet
does to a side leaf, Fig. 80, etc.

_Coin-brackets._ Brackets made to fit into the corner of a room.

_Corner-cabinets._ Cabinets adapted to a corner of a room. There are
also coin or corner objects of furniture of all kinds.

_Mouldings._ These are narrow borders or strips, and are very effective
in giving relief in long spaces. A good effect for a full border,
a diaper ground or a broad pattern, may often be made by doubling,
trebling, etc., mouldings. By using the folding mirror a segment of any
moulding or border may be converted into an ornament to fill up any
given space, of any shape. There are several tools specially made for
cutting figures in mouldings.

[Illustration: Fig. 80. POPPY-HEAD.]

_Poppy-heads._ There are many cases where carving may be applied with
good effect to relieve bareness. "Such ornaments, generally small groups
of foliage" (though often figures with leaves), "were formerly placed on
the summits of bench-ends desks, and other clerical wood-work" (F. W.
Fairholt). Poppy-heads can be placed, however, or adapted, to all kinds
of furniture, with a variation in form, Fig. 80.

_Sconce._ A wall candlestick, which usually takes the form of a
projecting bracketed support in wood or metal. They originated in the
fifteenth century, and were generally of enriched design. They may be
sawed out of boards, or carved in many forms.

_Trellis-screens._ These are thin boards of open lattice-work, generally
made by fret-sawing and subsequent carving. They are useful to place
behind windows, and for many purposes.

_Tympanum._ A triangular space, which may be filled in with carved

_Verge or Barge-board._ The gable ornament of wood-work, used
extensively for houses in the fifteenth century. It affords a wide field
for decoration.

_Wreaths._ Carved circles or rings of wood, which form beautiful
ornaments, especially when hung up at intervals. They may be used for
picture-frames, Fig. 81.

_Acerra._ A square box, on legs or supports.

_Heads and Legs._ When a cylinder, or square stick, or horn, or oval
box, is made to rudely resemble a figure by adding to it a head and
legs, this is so called.

_Ædicula._ A small house or tower, generally used as a box. Very
effective and beautiful articles are thus made.

_Ante-fix._ Ornament carved in stone or wood, or made from terra-cotta,
"to give an ornamental finish or to conceal unsightly junctions in
masonry" (Fairholt). There are few country houses or cottages where they
cannot be applied.

_Ciborium, Synedoche._ Very richly adorned receptacles in which the
Host is kept. They may be imitated for cabinets. In Spanish churches
they are called _custodia_.

[Illustration: Fig. 81. RING-BOX, WREATH, OR BREAD PLATTER.]

_Cyma._ A moulding consisting of a round and hollow conjoined, termed
_cyma recta_ when hollow above, and _cyma reversa_ when the cavity is

_Modillons._ Brackets in Gothic architecture, the lower portion often in
the form of a grotesque animal or human being.

[Illustration: Fig. 82. HAND MIRROR.]

_Hand Mirrors._ These afford an endless field for design. Fig. 82.

_Echinus._ The egg and tongue or egg and anchor moulding, much like the
heart and dart ornament. It is easily made and is very effective. Faces
may be cut on the "eggs."

_Outlines._ Figures of men, animals, etc., cut or sawed out of boards,
and either painted or carved. They are common in Italian churches. They
form very effective hanging ornaments. Birds can be adapted to beautiful

_Hammer Beam._ The projecting end of a beam, often carved.

_Hood Moulding._ The moulding which covers or surmounts a door or
window on the outside, forming a sort of hood or weather-guard. It is
also called a dripstone or weather moulding. It can be beautifully
ornamented, and thus becomes a striking decoration.

_Impost._ The horizontal moulding on the summit of a pillar from which
the arch springs.

_Console._ (French.) Brackets in furniture.

_Perfume Chests._ Boxes with perforated lids in which is kept
_pot-pourri_ of rose leaves, or a mixture of powdered orris-root and

_Churns._ A carved churn is a fanciful ornament, used to contain papers,
etc. The handle is fixed to the cover and serves to lift it.

_Handles for Bowls, Cups, or Boxes._ These are sawn from board from one
half to an inch in thickness, and then fastened to the bowl or box,
generally with screws. When gracefully or quaintly shaped they convert
any ordinary bowl or tankard, with very little trouble, to an attractive
ornament. They are almost peculiar to Sweden and Norway, where they may
be seen in museums in very great variety.

_Bark Frames._ A curious and striking ornament may be made in this
manner. Take a piece of cork, oak, or other bark, which may be a foot in
length by six inches. Make in it an oval or circle, in which carve any
subject. The writer once had an image of the Virgin thus carved, which
was much admired. Dark brown bark is much improved by having gilding
roughly spread on its projecting points. If the ground of the carving be
gilt and the bark left in its natural condition the effect will also be

_Three-legged_, or _Milking Stools_. These are commonly carved on the
seat. Ornaments may be carved and better applied as in Fig. 83.

[Illustration: Fig. 83. THREE-LEGGED STOOL.]


  Acerra, 151

  Ædicula, 151

  Album-covers, 129, 131

  Alms boxes, 148

  Alpenstocks, carved, 136

  Ammonia as a wood stain, 112

  Animal forms, carving, 59

  Antefix, 151

  _Appliqué_ work, 75, 84;
    it may be carried too far, 76

  Art, "high," and carving, 64, 76.
    _See also_ Conventional, the, Rule, etc.

  Artist, the, and the workman in wood-carving, 82

  Balusters, carving, 142

  Barge-board, 151

  Bark frames, 154

  Bars, and other ornaments, 101

  Base moulding, 147

  Basket-work, imitation of, 128

  Beam, hammer, 154

  Beams, carving, 141

  Bedsteads, carved, 143

  Bellows, carving, 137, 138

  Bench, the working, 3;
    screws, 5

  Benches, carving, 132

  Bend, getting the, 55

  Bent tools, 5, 95

  Bichromate of Potash as a dye, 113

  Black dyes, 114

  Blocking-out, 50, 56

  Bold, large work, 48, 49

  Bone, ivory, etc., carving, 14

  Book-box, 136

  Book-covers, carved, 88, 91, 129

  Books and authorities, quoted and referred to:
    Caddy, Mr., 3;
    Fairholt's Dictionary, 151;
    Gibson's "Wood Carver," 8;
    Holtzapffel, J. J., 2, 83;
    Leland's "Drawing and Designing," 72, 122;
    Mitchell's "Lessons in Carpentry," 126;
    Rowe, Eleanor, 42, 112;
    Seaton, General, 11, 88, 96, 114.
    _See also_ under names, as Gibbons, Grinling.

  Borders, carved, 78, 146

  Bosses, or centres, 75, 101, 141

  Bosting, 38, 50, 56

  Bowl, to carve a, 95, 142, 154

  Boxes, carving, 125, 136, 144, 148;
    hanging, 132, 133;
    pen and pencil, 134.
    _See also_ Cabinets, Caskets, Perfume, etc.

  Brackets, 125, 144, 145;
    coin (or corner), 150

  Bread platters, 137, 140, 152

  Buffets, 148

  Building-up, or _appliqué_ work, 75

  Butternut as a dye, 111

  Cabinet-making, 124

  Cabinets, 133, 152;
    Figurini for, 59, 62;
    corner, 150

  Caddy, Mr., his suggestions, 3

  Canoes, carving, 129

  Carpentry, C. F. Mitchell's Lessons in, 126

  Carving, early, 33, 54, 68, 70, 101, 130, 134, 141;
    objects for, 121.
    _See also_ Cabinets, Horns, Italian work, etc.

  Carvings, decayed, restoration of, 106

  Carvings, imitation of, 108

  Case for papers or music, 117

  Caskets, 136;
    for cigars, 127.
    _See also_ Boxes, etc.

  Casks, carving, 97, 128

  Casts. _See_ Moulds, etc.

  Cavo-cutting, 28

  Cavo Relievo cutting, 28, 32

  Cellini, Benvenuto, 11

  Celtic patterns, 26

  Cement, for glass and china, 109;
    for wood, 97, 106, 146.
    _See also_ Fillers, Glue, etc.

  Centres, or bosses, 75, 89

  Chairs for carving, 124

  Chimney-pieces, decoration of, 140.
    _See also_ Lunettes, etc.

  Chipping, or wasting, 42

  Chisels, 3, 10

  Churns, ornamental, 154

  Ciborium, Synedoche, 151

  Clamps, or Cramps. _See_ Holdfasts.

  Clock-cases, 142

  Coal boxes, etc., 140

  Cocoa-nut goblet, 100

  Cocoa-nut shell cement, 97;
    powder, etc., 108

  Cocoa-nuts, carving, 95

  Coin (or corner) brackets, 150

  Coins as ornaments, 146

  Collection boxes, 144

  Colouring and staining wood, 110

  Common-place, the, _v._ the grotesque, 140

  Console, or bracket, 125, 154

  Conventional, the, preferable to the real, 54, 57

  Corner-cabinets, 150;
    firmers, 4

  Cramps, or Clamps. _See_ Holdfasts.

  Crossing the pattern, 103

  Cups, handles for, 154

  Curve carving, 26

  Curved surfaces, carving, 93

  _Custodia_, Spanish, 152

  Cyma, 152

  Decoration, early, 130;
    of rooms, 130
    _See also_ Rooms, etc.

  Deep carving. _See_ Intaglio.

  "Design, Manual of." _See_ Leland.

  Diaper cutting, 18, 69, 70, 76;
    patterns, 70, 129, 147

  Diptych, 150

  Dogs, or snibs, 8

  Door-knobs, 104;
    pieces, 139

  Doors, panels of, 129

  Drawers, handles for, 145

  Drawing, 61, 72

  Drill, use of the, 47

  Dripstone, 154

  Dyes for wood, 110

  Ebony and other black dyes, 114

  Echinus, 154

  Egyptian intaglio, 90

  Egyptian Mummies (boxes), 136

  Encoignures, 150

  Engravings, imitation of, 91

  Eye-tools, 5

  Façade pieces, 139

  Figures, carving simple, 59

  Figurini, 62, 83

  Files for finishing, 64

  Fillers, or cements for wood, 106, 119

  Finger painting, Venetian, 113

  Finial, 150

  Finishing off, 50, 64

  Firmer, the, 3

  Flasks, carving, 134

  Flat-cutting, 26, 35, 48

  Flat patterns, 28, 30, 31

  Flemish carvers, the old, 33

  Florence, ornament from, 58

  Fluter, the, 22, 34

  Foot-stools, 132

  Frames, bark, 154;
    or borders, 78;
    picture, etc., 128, 148, 149, 151

  Free-hand carving, 49

  Fret bow saw, the, 9.
    _See also_ under Saw.

  Fret-cutting, 84

  Furniture, carving for, 74;
    old and German, 124, 125.
    _See also_ under Cabinets, Chairs, Foot-stools, etc.

  Gable ornaments, 151

  Garden-work, 143

  Gardens, window, 129

  Gates, carving, 143

  Gelatine as a preservative, 107

  Gelatine glue, 109

  German furniture, 124

  Gibbons, Grinling, his work, 75

  Gibson, Mr. J. S., his "Wood-Carver" quoted, 8

  Gilding, 141, 155.
    _See also_ under Finishing.

  Glass, and glass-paper, for finishing, 64, 66

  Glue, making and use of, 105, 108;
    acidulated and liquid, 106, 108, 109

  Gothic wood-carving, 40

  Gouge lines, 20;
    work, 22

  Gouges, 3, 4, 10

  Grain, cutting with the, 44

  Greek, ancient, work, 47

  Grindstones, etc., 12

  Grooving, 2, 22

  Grotesque, the, _v._ the commonplace, 140

  Ground punches, 16, 17

  Grounds, cutting, 34

  Hammer beam, 154

  Handles of tools, 11;
    for drawers, 145;
    Swedish, 154

  Hand screws, 5, 7

  Hanging boxes, 63, 132

  Heads and legs, in ornament, 151

  Holdfasts, or clamps, 5, 44, 94

  Hollow gouge, the, 5

  Holtzapffel, Mr. John J., on the Use of the Saw in wood-carving, 83

  Hood moulding, 154

  Hooker, Sir Joseph, 107

  Horn, how to colour, 94;
    how to soften, 95

  Horns, carving, 93, 128

  House, outside ornament of the, 139

  Hulme, works of, 101

  Imitation of old work, etc., 64

  Implements. _See_ Tools, etc.

  Impost, 154

  Incised work, 86

  Incitega, 150

  Indenting, or stamping, 2, 15

  Ink as a dye, 114

  Intaglio, or sunk carving, 86;
    Rilevato cutting, 28

  Irish (Runic) patterns, 26;
    tankard, old, 99

  Italian, early, work, 62, 86, 143

  Ivory and horn, dyes, etc., for, 95

  Ivorying, 113

  Key boxes, 133

  Knobs and bosses, 101

  Knuckle-bends, 10

  Kraft, Adam, his work, 55

  Layard, Sir A. H., his antiquities from Nineveh, 107

  Leather work and carving, 90, 91

  Leaves, cutting, 39, 51, 53, 64

  Lecterns, 147, 148

  Left hand, carving with the, 39, 46

  Leland, Mr. C. G., his "Drawing and Designing," 72, 122;
    design in high relief by, 81

  Lunettes and spaces, filling, 139

  Macaroni tool, the, 10, 42

  Mander's stains for wood, 111

  Metal work, _repoussé_, 15, 17

  Mirrors, hand, 153

  Mitchell, C. F., his "Lessons in Carpentry," 126

  Modelling, 39, 49, 55, 61, 79;
    or rounding, 39

  Modillons, 153

  Monopodium, or centre-table, 150

  Mottoes, 140

  Moulding, hood, 154

  Mouldings and borders, 147, 150

  Moulds, carving for, 90, 92;
    making, 115

  Mummies (boxes), 136

  Mural decoration, 140

  Nails, headed, as ornaments, 146

  Nineveh antiquities, the, 107

  Norway, ornament in, 154;
    spot cutting there, 118

  Notches in leaves, cutting, 51

  Oak, treatment of, 111, 112;
    leaves, 43, 54

  Objects for wood-carvers, 121

  Oiling in finishing, 66, 110

  Oilstones, etc., 12

  Orbs, carving, 150

  Ornament, pre-historic, 118

  Ornamentation, art of, 121.
    _See also_ Decoration.

  Ornaments, applied, 146

  Outlines, 154

  Outlining, 34

  Pacific islands, spot cutting there, 118

  Paint, etc., in finishing, 68, 91, 113

  Painting, finger, of the old Venetians, 113

  Panels for carving, 123, 129, 132

  Paper squeezes, 115

  _Papier-maché_ work, etc., and carving, 90, 92, 116

  Parting tool, the, 10, 13.
    _See also_ V tool.

  Patterns for carvers, 74, 122

  Pattern-wheel, or tracer, the, 15

  Pegs and hooks, 141

  Pen and pencil boxes, 134

  Perfume chests, 154

  Pew-ends, 148

  Pick, the, 3

  Pilasters, 147

  Pilgrim bottles, 134, 135

  Plaster casts, 116

  Platters, carved, 137, 140

  Polished ornaments, 102

  Polishing wood-carvings, 66, 111.
    _See also_ Finishing.

  Poppy-heads, 150, 151

  _Porte-papier_, 148

  Portfolio-covers, 129

  Powder-flasks, 134

  Practice, 40, 48

  Racks, carved, 141

  Rasps for finishing, 66

  Real, the, not to be sought too strictly, 54

  Relics, ancient, preservation of, 107

  Relief, high, design by C. G. Leland, 81;
    higher, 53;
    low, 89;
    progress towards, 39

  Reliquaries (boxes), 136

  Repairing wood-carvings, 105

  _Repoussé_ work, 15, 17

  Ribbon carving, 34, 48, 57.
    _See also_ Flat carving.

  Ring boxes, 148, 152

  Roman Sarcophagus (box), 136

  Roman work, early, 47

  Rooms, decoration of, 130, 139.
    _See also_ Vestibule, etc.

  Round, carving in the, or statuary, 79

  Rounding. _See_ Modelling.

  Router, the, 9

  Rowe, Eleanor, quoted, 42, 112

  Rule, "high art," and wood-carving, 65, 76

  Runic ornaments, 26, 137

  Sabots, or wooden shoes, for carving, 133

  Salamander, a, 138

  Salt boxes, 144

  Saw table, the, 6, 85

  Saws, and their use, 9, 83

  Sconces, 151

  Scotland, early ornamentation in, 118

  Scratch, the, 8

  Screens, trellis, 151

  Screws, carvers', 5, 7

  Scroll gouge, the, 5

  Seaton, General, quoted, 11, 88, 96, 114

  Settee, or settle, the, 132

  Shaded patterns and modelling, 39

  Sharpening tools, 11, 12

  Shelf-boards, 144

  Shelves and brackets, 144

  Shields, in ornament, 150

  Shiners, or bosses, 102

  Shrines or Reliquaries (boxes), 136

  Sideboards, 148

  Side-cut, the. _See_ Sweep-cut.

  Skew-chisels, 4

  Slip-holder, 12

  Slips, for sharpening tools, 12

  Snibs, or dogs, 8

  Soda as a dye for wood, 111

  Sofa-backs, false, 139

  Söhnee Frères, their varnish, 113

  Spaces, filling, 139, 150, 151

  Spade chisel, the, 10

  Spade gouge, the, 10

  Splintering of wood, 36, 44, 51, 105
    _See also_ Wood.

  Spoons, carved, 137

  Spot-cutting, 118

  Spray, use of the, in preserving decayed objects, 107

  Squeezes, and "taking a squeeze," 107, 115

  Staining wood, 110

  Staircase balusters, carving, 142

  Stamping, or indenting, 2, 15.
    _See also_ Diaper.

  Statuary. _See_ Round, carving in the.

  Staves, or alpenstocks, carved, 136

  Stephens' stains for wood, 111

  Stools, 155.
    _See also_ Foot-stool.

  Strap, the, 13

  Sunk carving. _See_ Intaglio.

  Sweden, ornament in, 154;
    spot cutting there, 118

  Sweep-cut, the, 37, 49, 53, 55

  Swiss dye for wood, 112

  Swiss work, 59, 96

  Tables, 150

  Tankards, carving, 98, 134

  Tannhäuser bracket, 145

  Tea as a dye, 111

  Tiles, 129

  Tool, the, art of turning it about, 35, 37, 46

  Tools, 1, 3, 82, 150;
    sharpening, 11, 12

  Tracer, the, 15, 16

  Trays, carving, 143;
    for cigar ashes, 127

  Trellis-screens, 151

  Triptych, 150

  Tympanum, 151

  Umber stain for wood, 112

  Umbrella-handles, 134

  Under-cutting, 57

  V or parting tool, the, 11, 13, 28, 35, 37.
    _See also_ Parting tool.

  Varnish and carving, 91, 113.
    _See also_ Polishing, etc.

  Veiners, 5

  Venetian finger painting, 113

  Venice, wood-carving at, 66

  Verge or barge-board, 151

  Vestibule, ornamenting a, 142

  Violin and guitar cases, 145

  Wainscots, etc., carving for, 74

  Walnut wood, treatment of, 110

  Waste-paper boxes, carving, 98, 146

  Wasting, or chipping, 42

  Wax, for moulds, 107, 115, 116;
    as a polish for wood, 111

  Window gardens, 129

  Wood, for carving, 14, 36, 88, 106 (_see also_ Grain, Oak,
    Splintering, Walnut, etc.);
    colouring and staining, 110;
    decayed, treatment of, 106;
    imitation of, 106, 108;
    oiling, 66

  Workman, the, and the artist in wood-carving, 82

  Wreaths, in ornament, 151, 152

  Zigzag ornament, the Swiss, 96

Transcriber's note

Text in italics was surrounded with _underscores_, bold with =signs=,
and small capitals were changed to all capitals. A symbol looking like
a knotted point on the side was represented with [symbol] on page 57.

In the original Fig. 22 did not exist.

Errors in punctuation and misplaced spaces were corrected silently.
Also the following corrections were made, on page

   10 "lways" changed to "always" (do not always cut out to the edges)
   35 "latter" changed to "later" (sooner or later.)
   42 The second "Fig. 38." changed to "Panel in Low-relief" (See list
      of Plates.)
   49 "boldy" changed to "boldly" (To carve boldly we must use)
   75 "12" changed to "52" (or project beyond it, illustrated by Fig.
   90 "Egpytian" changed to "Egyptian" (Egyptian Cutting.)
  113 "Fréres" changed to "Frères" (that of Söhnee Frères)
  143 "Vertemnus" changed to "Vertumnus" (Flora and Pomona and
      Vertumnus in simple archaic forms).

Otherwise the original was preserved, including inconsistencies in
spelling and hyphenation.

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