Linenfold Panels archive

Thursday 17 February 2011

Paul Bignell shows you how to carve a simple linenfold design on oak panels


This design, known as linenfold, goes back, I believe, to the 16th century when frame & panel chests were the storage choice for top homes; I presume that the chests with the linenfold embellishment were used for the storage of linen and blankets etc.

For this project I have chosen measurements that allow me to carve the lower half of a panel on some reject oak panel that I usually purchase on our class trips to Yandles; they are cheap and particularly useful for lettering lessons. You can, of course, scale the drawing to suit your own size and material requirements.

Getting started

Once you have chosen your workpiece and dimensions, mark out the design with the lines, and with centrefolds and drapes (see photo 2).

The first stage of this project is to chisel away all the surplus wood from the outside lines and cut out the two flat-bottomed channels (see b>photo 3). For this part of the exercise, I used a 3/8in and a 5/8in flat chisel, and a 3/8in No.7 gouge.

Next, gouge out both deep channels of the centrefold. I used a No.7 and No.8 gouge for this part of the job (see b>photo 4). With the two centrefolds gouged out, I carved in the open ends of the centrefolds to create the impression of the open tube type ends.

With a 1/4in No.11 gouge, take out the two end folds. For this demonstration I have only carved the left-hand end fold and the left-hand open end of the centrefold. With both the left-hand and right-hand folds carved out, the basic layout is now complete.


It is now time to round off the upper edges of the folds and undercut the lower folds (see b>photo 5). As a visual guide, the 'end-on' profile of the panel is illustrated and will show the extent of rounding off and undercut needed to achieve the finished article (see drawing). I used a palm skew chisel and detail knife to tidy up the undercuts prior to the final finishing.

The final finish on the panel shown is achieved with Flexcut detail scrapers and two applications of Ronseal natural oak furniture oil.

Woodworkers Institute

Tagged In:

Paul Bignell , linenfold

Helpful Hint

Mark your design on acetate! When carving, you will naturally carve away your drawn lines on your panel but if you have the design drawn on a simple sheet of acetate, then you will easily be able to transfer the lines once again onto your carving!