This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
(For Design of Gothic Tea tray, see pages 28 & 29.)
We have here a preliminary glimpse of the Gothic style, which will be considered more fully later on. The design is in the flat Gothic, and may be mad in wood to suit the sideboard on which it will be placed when not in use; for example, if the sideboard be of oak, the tray May also be so. It can be made with straight sides, but it will look more artistic if they are slanted, as in the present design, with mitred corners and with a tongue. The bottom is screwed on to the frame before carving; it is then taken off and carved, and all that is necessary afterward is to replace the screws. If this order is not followed the carving is apt to gel injured by the screwing on.
After placing the design on the wood panel that is to form the bottom of the tray - the tracing being done by means of blue paper and a dull point - take a veining tool and follow the outline, keeping on the outer edge of the line next to the background, so that there will be no chipping. Cut down the background a quarter or an eighth of an inch, according to taste.
The design may also be used for a frame, 111 which case the relief would be a quarter of an inch deep, as shown in the drawing; but for a tray it is more practical to have it only an eighth of an inch deep. Follow the outline carefully, and skip the places where the leaves overlap. Remove the background and have it smooth and level. We must use chisels that lit the curves; hold them slanting for the undercutting. Take the mallet to remove the wood, but do not pound too hard, for fear of splitting it off. Take a straight chisel and follow both sides of the fillet that runs through the design. Employ the same tool to undercut the leaves where they pass under the fillet to give proper relief. Have these fillets very distinctly settled before going on, or confusion will arise. Finish the fillets before modelling the leaves. Where the leaves pass over the fillet they are to be higher, of course. After the fillet is clear and distinct all round, cut out the inside of the leaves that roll over. Where stems pass over leaves cut out the portions of the leaves, so as to have con-siderable shadow from undercutting. Take a gouge and model the leaves smoothly where they roll over. After the twisted leaves are well formed have them carefully undercut. Do not allow the design to be deeper cut anywhere than the background; this is a fixed principle.
Now take a fluter and first cut out the eyes of each leaf. Use the same fluter for grooves in the centre of each leaf. Take a gouge,, concave side clown; start from near points of leaf and hollow them. Most of the points are higher than the rest of the leaf; but this will be a matter of taste with the carver. There is no objection to having tool marks show, but they must show to advantage and make clear sweeps. The use of sand-paper is out of the question. Where one leaf laps over another, be careful not to have the under leaf too thin, or the fillet will be pushed too low into the background. The leaves are to be undercut; then take gouges that fit the curves and shave off a little of the edges - only enough to do away with any raggedness. Be careful to get the corners clear. Karl von Rydingsvard.
IN designing hanging shelves, cabinets, or brackets, it is well to bear in mind that any weight put upon the shelves tends to pull the nail by which the whole concern is held out of the wall. If the shelf is deep it may be loaded to the edge, and thus exert a great leverage. It is well, therefore, to make the shelves as narrow as they can be and yet be serviceable. Again, the nearer the point ofsuspension is to the shelf the greater the leverage exerted by the latter upon the nail or hook which supports it. It is best, then, to make a hanging cabinet tall and shallow; or, if another shape is required, at least to hang it from near the ceiling by long cords.
A box is all the stronger for having sides and bottom-piece projecting, because that plan affords a better purchase for the nails, and the projecting ends offer excellent opportunities for first practice in carving. The corners may be chamfered or may be notched into something like the Norman "tooth" or "saw pattern," and the lozenges thus formed on the face are easily cut into rosettes. The simplest form of hinge is a leather strap nailed to back and cover. It may be made very ornamental by stamping the leather, and by using brass or copper-headed nails. A small box may also be protected at the cornels by leather, and may be made a very sightly object.