Week 6, 8 February 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
During my second lesson of the woodcarving short course at Bucks New University, we embarked on our first substantial project. Having been shown a variety of examples prior to the lesson, we were given the opportunity to choose a design to try out for ourselves – I chose the Tudor Rose, and the wood for this was 100-year-old oak, formerly of The Wallace Collection doors.
In preparation for the carving we had to draw out the design accurately on paper with all the necessary measurements recorded for referencing later on. The design could then be transferred onto the wood using carbon paper, which was a quick and efficient technique.
Before carving the actual design, the waste material had to be removed. For this a large V-shaped chisel was needed to carve an outline just outside the design, to create a barrier between that and the excess wood. I then used a large gouge to scoop out the surrounding wood down 20mm, which was the height of the highest point in the Tudor Rose. It was important to keep the base wood as flat as possible; this was achieved by chiseling it away in shallow layers, although this did cause it to be a lengthy process that took most of the day to complete.
The next lesson will see us finally carving away at the actual design!
Back on the BA (Hons) Furniture: Conservation, Restoration & Decorative Arts course, we have just begun our upholstery lessons, and are starting with re-upholstering a drop-in seat.
The University workshop has a set of six chairs dotted about the place, in desperate need of recovering, so this is a perfect beginners’ project. The day started with removing the existing upholstery right back to the basic frame, which then had to have its condition checked to see if it was fit for purpose.
New webbing had to be tacked across the base of the chair in a weaved formation. This gave us the opportunity to try out webbing stretchers for the first time, having previously made our own during lessons in the machine shop. Hessian was the next layer to be tacked into place, and then twine was threaded through as a means of securing the horse and hog hair stuffing. Fabric was then stretched and smoothed over the frame to create a neat and professional shape to the seat, ready for the final covering.
And with any luck, when we put them back into the chairs they should fit!
Images, from top to bottom:
1. The Tudor Rose mould and my drawn copy (PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BAILEY)
2. The Tudor Rose design traced onto oak using carbon paper (PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BAILEY)
3. Creating a carved outline with a V-shaped chisel (PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BAILEY)
4. Finally finished carving the wood to the correct height! (PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BAILEY)
5. The drop-in seat, post fabric removal (PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BAILEY)
6. Replacing the seat webbing (PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BAILEY)
7. Replacing the seat hessian (PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BAILEY)
8. Securing the horse and hog hair under the twine threading (PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BAILEY)
9. Refitting an under fabric to create the seat shape (PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BAILEY)
10. Finally finished! Ready for being put back in the chair! (PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BAILEY)