Panels for Wine Cabinet

Phew, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything! Recently my time has been swallowed up with Statue restorations, cabinetry work as well as the restoration/refinishing of many pieces of furniture. It’s all in a days work.

This project has been in the works for some time now and it finally hit the shop.  These 12 panels are for a custom wine cabinet headed for a new beach house in Bermuda. The designer and home owner liked the motif of a screen panel and decided to use the images they found on it as a base for the panels for the cabinet.  There are two doors on the cabinet and each will have 6 relief panels carved to fit into them. The only part of the job I have is to duplicate the images they decided on by carving them into the 9 inch square panels.

The cabinet maker who is building the wine cabinet supplied me with the ready made panels which were fitted into the doors prior to him shipping them to me. They are rabbited to fit into the rails and styles of the doors and he gave me 1/4 inch to carve into.

Fairly straight forward stuff, but no mistakes allowed as there are no extra panels. Well, if I had to it wouldn’t be a big deal to duplicate a panel or two should I make a mistake.

Here you can see the large print out of all the panels with decent contrast. They also provided a second set of prints of lesser contrast that I used to simply trace the design on to the panels. I routed the panels to remove as much waste wood as possible before carving them.

Since the panels were rabbeted I made a jig for my swivel carving stand to hold them securely. I used a piece of ply , made cleats that would allow the panels to slide into on three sides and just use a small clamp to keep them located in the jig. Now I can easily slide them in and out, rotate them, angle them to any position I require.

I’m a big believer in having your work secure as it makes carving so much easier. I’m also a believer in proper lighting as the play of shadows is what makes a carving live. Where speed and ease of carving is concerned the method I prefer is to lay out my chisels within easy grasp and ranging from the flattest up to the deeper gouges and V’s.  No need to worry about numbers or any of that other nonsense as if the tool you happen to be using is too flat,,replace it and just grab the tool next to it and keep on carving.  I switch back and forth so often and so quickly that trying to put them into racks ,, or keep them in numerical sequence just isn’t worth it and only makes carving go slower.

Here is the full size print out of the proposed panels. I hung them behind my bench for quick reference as well as mounting an individual copy directly behind the carving I’m working on.

Here are the panels right after the routing process. I just want to get the waste wood out of the way as quickly as possible to be able to get to the carving.

Two of the panels with the carving essentially done but not sanded. Very simple reliefs that fall within 1/4 inch. Not much to work with on a 9 inch panel.

This is the jig I made to attach to my swivel carving stand. It’s simple and does the job of holding the panel securely and yet allows me to easily remove and install carvings as I finish them. This is the lower edge cleat. There are long cleats on the sides with the top left open allowing me to slide panels in and out. A small clamp keeps them in place. Here the panel isn’t slid all the way into the cleat.

And the overall view of my work area. Two lights from opposite directions for proper lighting and shadows, tools laid out for easy and quick selection, prints hung for quick reference and direction all makes for easy and efficient carving.

acanthus leaf

acanthus leaves are always fun to carve, and this one was no exception. the design i used is a classical one, and i saw one version carved as pierced relief from mark. i liked his leaf, and so i made mine, only much smaller. this is only 18 x 12 cm and 1 cm deep. and, as it is so small, i did cut out everything just with a fretsaw. it looks like a lot of work, afterall there are more than 20 little openings to cut, but is was rather quick in fact.


so, here is an image how the journey began,,, glueing the drawing onto the wood, and then sawing away the background :