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  • mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

    Here are a few pics of a job that just came in today,typical of my "bread and butter" type pieces. The large frame is an Overmantle,found obviously above a mantle on the wall that usually frames a picture.The mantle itself ( being done by another woodworker) will have these small (18 inch) brackets done with leaves,,so it sort of ties in with my greenman carving on another post.The large painted one is just for reference for me to use. I thought you might like to see how else these leaves can be used. The moulding I'm holding is typical Egg & Dart that I'm going to carve all around the 1/4 round moulding on the overmantle ,you can see it in the close up of the painted bracket, as well as what will be found around the mantle itself. One thing I didn't show,'cause it's just a block of mahogany now,, is a shell and acanthus leaf design I have to do for the center of the mantle.What is also interesting I think is this is how several of my pieces come. Many times I don't have to do any prep, glue up or cut outs. I have the shops do them,from their wood to my specifications, ship them to me,I carve it and send it back. This way all the woods match and all I do is carve,,,Ahhh what a system.But at the same time,there is absolutely no margin for error on my part,,,It has to be accurate, clean and mistake free.
    The aluminum piece I'm holding by the way is the pattern I made to repeat the egg & dart mouldings. I did this out of aluminum flashing, and cut the pattern using the actual chisels I'll use to carve the wood. Those Swiss made chisels really cut well.The pattern is slid down the length of moulding at specific intervals, and usually has to be adjusted so when the moulding is cut the miter doesn't fall in the middle of an egg. I design it so every mitered joint is covered with the leaf design near my thumb,and every run starts with a complete egg design.I can do this whole design with basically 3 chisels.I hope you found this interesting.

  • #2
    Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

    Hey Mark,
    Very interesting project. Is the metal template for the molding something you made? I imagine it makes layout a lot easier, accurate and faster for you. I would like to see more on how you create the molding on this piece…if its not asking too much can you post some in progress pic’s.
    Thanks

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    • #3
      Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

      Yes Tony,,I usually make templates for all my mouldings I carve,, you can't really keep drawing them over and over,,carbon doesn't really work,, but with these I can use a drafting pencil and trace them over and over like a stencil. I make them out of regular aluminum stock found at any hardware store,usually with the gutter hardware.And like I said cut them out with the shape of the chisel that will make that cut. Repeatability is the Key! Lately I have also been using "for rent" signs, though for curved pieces like the 1/4 round it doesn't keep the shape like the aluminum does,, but works really well. In these shots you'll see part of the box full of stencil patterns I've made for various size mldgs. the one with the quarter on it is plastic , an incredible repeat pattern with the hearts (just under1/8 th inch, 5 in the size of a dime,was a ball to do,,it was a tiny little rosette,,and did dozens of them in this pattern,,then gold leafed them,,looked really neat...tiny but neat.They went on the back rails for a 6fthigh x 3ft wide chair and 2 4 ft high matching chairs.But the rest of the patterns you can see some of the matches with the casts I made of the finished mouldings.

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      • #4
        Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

        Here is a close up of the stencil for the heart design,, as well as a miniature shell that went with the tiny rosette,, and the other stencil in my hand made the odd looking curved cove capitalsin the last two pictures.I think these carvings came out pretty clean . These are basswood and the individual "'leaf" type designs are about 1 inch wide,the whole cap. is about 5" tall,maybe 10-11 inches wide. The other shots are parts for the mantle I did for Mario Andretti, but you can see the bead and reel, cove mldg and egg and dart as well as the acanthus leaf designs I did for it,,, this is all pattern grade mahogany.To hold this leaf scroll while I carved it I used the same tape method I described in the green man post,,these pieces were 5/8 inch thick and as you can see rather thin and delicate in sections,,, but the tape worked great,,popped it off and attached it to the mantle.
        By the way,that 4inch high coved crown moulding on the top of the mantle I made completly on my table saw using a regular blade,,that was a neat trick.And the last pic is a stack of 10 of the capitals,,, that isn't how they were used as you see them,, just made a neat picture of them all together.

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        • #5
          Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

          Gorgeous work Mark. All of it. I especially like the running leaf scroll work in the second picture in your last message. They remind me of the scroll leaf work on the cheeks of a clipper ship. The leaves in the last two pics are super, they have such a nice flow to them. Thank you for sharing them with us, great project.

          Bob
          Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.

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          • #6
            Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

            For some reason, probably from seeing mass produced molding and leaf patterns in catalogs, I thought moldings like that were machine made.

            That stuff is really cool Mark “tips & tools of the trade” and for the carving…insert long pos here…I can’t find a word or words that I haven’t already used to describe your work. Ah here’s one my kid uses “Sweeeeeeeeeet” LOL!!

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            • #7
              Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

              Ow,,,that hurt!LOL ,LOL,LOL,!Not the Sweet part but the machine made part.Yes, there are machine made pieces,,,but I was kinda shootin for a hand carved look,,Ya know, a bit more detail,,deeper cuts.LOL I do know what you mean though, I hear it quiet often,,"I didn't think anyone did this work any more" Thankfully there are those out there that do and keep me very busy.

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              • #8
                Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

                Terrific work and great information! You're carving my favorite subjects and styles, and it's really good to see work from professionals. I attended Frederick Wilbur's session at the WCI open house, and he described his "bread and butter" pretty much as you have. I am in awe of the amount of work you professionals can do, but I know you have to be very good and very efficient to be successful. Thanks for sharing and don't hold back in the future! Mike
                Matthew

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                • #9
                  Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

                  Sorry Mark I didn’t mean it to sound like that. Your moldings are so well done and in my…okay searching for the right words again…naivety or exposure to technology (Discovery Channel) you know big automated machines I just well you know thought.

                  Until I met you online I just never knew there was that much architectural carving done by hand. Maybe I just didn’t look hard enough.

                  I find it extremely fascinating I wish there was a place or person like you in my small town. There used to be a thirty-minute show on TV called Modern Masters, I loved that series along with other shows like Woodworks, New Yankee WS, etc. I could get lost watching you create masterpieces too.

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                  • #10
                    Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

                    Mdallensr,Thanks,I was hoping someone here might enjoy this stuff. No , it's not as novel as caricatures and things like that,but it is another facet of woodcarving that I find is interesting and has taken me to some fascinating places.Not everyone relates to it,,but most seem to enjoy it when seen in homes and churches.Besides the fact it can be quite lucrative compared to other types of carvings I do.
                    Tony,,'Ya had to know I was just bustin ' on you! LOL.LOL. My toes aren't all that tender, and you didn't respond any differently than most.This isn't what most people have in mind when I tell them I'm a woodcarver.,,I get a "you do what?",,,"That's a real job?" ,,,"You do that full time?" I don't really know what they imagine,,usually something along the lines of cabinetry or such. Once you get involved with architectural type work,the field is incredible.The range and scope is more than many could imagine.There is more work here than I could possibly ever get to.And I don't even advertise.I too loved that show,,modern masters,,ALL the guests they had were great,no matter what medium they worked in.

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                    • #11
                      Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

                      "You get paid to do that"?
                      Kidding Mark. Just wondered how tender your toes were.
                      Actually, Excellent workmanship Mark. very few artist or carvers, do what you do. It shows the dedication, hard work and the foresight on what and how you want it completed.

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                      • #12
                        Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

                        wow, very informative thread again, mark. i am impressed to learn even today all these great carvings i admire are there , and there are handmade ones too. i was wondering about that recently..... of how a carver today can survive, with carving. i mean good pieces do take time, and that cost money. and, at least here in germany, people not too willing to pay for something they can get (in poorer quality) cheaper. so it is very positive to learn from you, it is possible to do that, and it looks interesting work to me too. like how you made these templates from aluminium. will keep that in mind, a friend asked me about carving a big frame for picture...

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                        • #13
                          Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

                          Funny you should mention a picture frame,,I just got a painting back today from the restorer,now I have to do a frame for it. I plan on doing a carved cloth "unveiling" for it as long as the client approves. It will appear as if a covering was pulled back from the painting as if the artist was showing it for the first time.I'll carve the cloth and the rope tie backs with the "frame" peeking out from under the carved cloth..should be a neat way to handle an unusually shaped frame.This measures 4 ft X 6 ft tall. I know a sketch would be handy,,that'll come.I 've gotten hit so hard lately,,don't know what has happened.

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                          • #14
                            Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

                            Mark, outstanding work. Anytime you are really bored, I would love a short tutorial on the egg and dart or any of the other line mouldings you are doing. I never would have thought of the aluminum stencil!

                            Chuck

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                            • #15
                              Re: mantle leaf brackets,egg&dart

                              Bygeorge,we've got another Pennslyvanian,,,a great carving state! Must be that German heritage!!! Either that or there is something in the water.I'm never bored 'cause I'm carvin all the time, but I would be happy to show you how to do Egg and Dart.Just made a new pattern for the Overmantle today,,started laying out the design. On paper (internet) it might take some 'splaining to do,,but if you could see it in person,, you'd catch on in a hurry I'm sure.I know looking at the stencil and the drawn pattern it looks sort of goofy,,and where do I start,,but once in the groove it goes quick. Just have to put your mind on auto pilot and act like a typewriter (remember those?) Start at one end,,get one chisel and go across 2 ft making one cut. get another chisel go across 2 ft,,keep repeating ,( like I said ,, it's mindless carving) You just have to keep making the same exact cuts time after time to make them all end up looking all the same,, they can't be individual carvings.This is more of the Samauri ethos,,one cut, one kill,,, not the Chinese torture of death by a thousand cuts. To make $ at it you have to be quick, accurate ,duplicate,and precise..though it's really mindless,, it teaches you alot of dicipline and accuracy and cleanliness of each and every cut.Plus , when done correctly it looks cool.Almost "machine made".When I'm on auto,, I can crank out 8-10 ft /day.

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