This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
Our design does not show the best way to place an animal or any other object that is to be seen from all sides; but as this is the only Romanesque example to be given in the present series, it was thought best to introduce the animal as a characteristic feature of the style. This design can be used for a cabinet panel or, enlarged, for a chest. As a foot-stool, it is easy to make up; there are only four pieces, and the construction is very simple. It can be made of any kind of wood; but mahogany is preferable, if the grain be tine and the pieces well matched. It should be seven-eighths of an inch thick. The design is shown full size. The moulding may be carved with an egg and dart pattern, or left plain. The legs should be cut out, squared and smoothed up before the carving is begun. The legs, of seven-eighth inch wood, slant inward toward the top, and they must be squared to lit the top and to stand firmly on the floor. The grain of wood should run from top to bottom of the legs and lengthwise on the top of the stool. The fourth piece, called the "stretcher," runs from leg to leg under the top. It can be screwed from underneath to the top with two screws, and also screwed slantwise to the legs. It, also, is of seven-eighths inch wood. The leg should rest on the floor in a plumb line under the moulding of the top piece.
Trace on the design by placing blue transfer paper on the wood and the design over it. When this is done, cut out the background one-half inch deep, as bolder effects are called for here. Take out ail the background first; do not skip anything, otherwise confusion will arise. Commence on the stems, and hollow them with a one-half inch fluter. The leaves are not to be touched until this is done. No finishing must be attempted at first. Afterward take a Hat gouge - Number 3 - and curve the leaf into the stem. Take a smaller gouge and make the lobes convex on one side and hollow them on the other. As a rule, it is the side nearest the stem that is rounded.
Take a flat gouge and hollow the middle lobe a trifle, which causes a slight ridge between the lobes. Then take a large veining tool or small fluter and give a distinctness to the midrib. These leaves do not fade into the background as much as those in Byzantine style, but stand out. Coming to the end of a scroll, you find it bulby, scalloped and sunk a little at the edges. Be sure to represent the twist of the scroll on to the main stem.
In the case of a background as deep as that in the design before us, and when there is so much of it, a bent chisel is necessary, in order to get into the deep corners. The background, instead of being wavy, is to be left Hat.
Now we come to the animal. As it is cut down one-half inch and is for a foot-stool, it must not be glued on, and it must be of even relief. The head must be well modelled and twist on to the body as the scrolls twist on to the stems. First get the outline of the body and legs cut. Remove the wood from the leaf-like wings, so that one of them has the appearance of coming from behind the body. Then round the body convexly, but hollow it on to the neck, as indicated by the shading in the drawing. Leave it heavy over the eyes; have the eyes deeply sunk, the ear well hollowed, the jaw carefully modelled, the nostril represented, and teeth in the lower jaw. The legs should be well rounded, and have claws large enough not to split off in carving. Be sure to represent the further leg as such - sunk nearer the background.
Next, we come to the leg of the stool. Trace the design on, as for the top. Outline the ornament very deeply, one-half inch close to the leaves, but less toward the grotesque head, so that the eyes and features will be in higher relief. The nose must be prominent, and the ridge from the nose to the lip well defined. Carve deep curves over the nose to represent the scowl, and have it deep between the nose and eyes. No polish would be put on a foot-stool, of course. Finish with beeswax and turpentine, or simple oiling will do. Pick out well-matched pieces of wood for this work. Remember that it is rather an advantage than otherwise to have the tool-marks showing; they indicate the individuality put into your handiwork.
Karl yon Rydingsvard.
A very successful wood-carver, asked by a correspondent to tell him what kind of filling he uses in the finishing of his work, writes:- "We avoid the use of any kind of rilling. We only darken the wood with more or less stain to give greater accentuation, thus preserving the crispness of the carved embellishment. After the stain is thoroughly soaked in and dry we use raw linseed-oil, giving one or more coats as needed."
Wood for pyrogkaphy must be thoroughly seasoned. If any sap remain in it, it is obvious that the uneven and sudden heat applied will cause unequal drying, and cause serious trouble through warping. The material for burnt wood etching, like paper for water-colours, improves by keeping; the older the stock the more valuable it becomes. For all kinds of small fancy work, and for practice with beginners, white wood is preferred. It is less useful for large surface work because of its inequality of colour, the grain being very variable. For some designs this is of little consequence, while for others it would be fatal. The wood of which some tea-chests are constructed is an excellent ground for burning.
Arrangement Modelling, Carv Suitable For The Decoration Designed and Drawn
Lackberries, or Pyrography,
Ndrels, Arch, Or Brackets.
Rles M. Jenckes.