Medallion and Acanthus leaves

Well I wrapped this up as it is being picked up tomorrow, well , considering it’s 2 AM ,, today!

The medallion was interesting to do. I was able to do quite a bit of the roughing out with a router. This though required several steps in a succession of depths and cuts. Since this is basically  one bowl inside another I needed to be able to keep the references from one to another as well as keeping the curved shape in the center. What I did was establish the center first. Doing this allowed me to determine the depth of the outside edge of the center as well as the height of the center since this area is essentially a convex shape. I was able to set the height of the “bulge” of the center as well as set the depth while at the same time define the outside edge of this area. Since I wanted this area to be the deepest level I was then able to establish the outside line of the inner “bowl” which was a bit higher than the inner convex shape. Once I had this I was then able to determine the depth of the outer “bowl” and determine it’s depth. You’ll notice I didn’t cut out the entire shape but I did use the band saw to cut in the outside perimeter of the entire shape but I didn’t cut it free. I wanted to keep the additional material to provide a base for the router to work from. Had I cut out the shape first I wouldn’t have been able to use the router to do much of the roughing out work.

I not only used a small router bit to define the outside lines of the bowls but I also used a bullnose type bit to clearance out much of the curves of the bowls themselves. Once all the router work was done I completed the cuts to have the final shapes.

One thing I did do was not to cut out the top and bottom profiles. I knew I need to add wood to these areas to provide material to carve the flowers and the lower acanthus leaves. To solve this I first made up a section of wood that I would add and drew the flower and lower design on to them. I then cut them out in preparation to glue them to the surface. But I first used the cutouts to transfer the profile to the main body of the carving. Doing it this way instead of cutting out the main body and trying to add the cutouts eliminated the mis-match between the two  pieces. This way, the additional pieces provided the exact profile to transfer the profile to the main carving perfectly.

Once the outer profiles were established it was a simple matter of using a compass to transfer the width of the bowls to the design accurately by using the previously defined outer edges to use as a gauge to allow me to use the compass.

May seem complicated but it’s really very easy but requires frequent bit changes on the router as you switch from core box bits to clearancing bits and back again. The steps I used though eliminated much guess work, maintained accuracy as redrawing on the piece would have bee difficult and eliminated much hogging out of waste wood that would have been necessary had I not done it this way.

The cabinet company ,where this piece is now heading, gave me the panel that the carving is attached to. The designer asked if I could texture the background with chisel marks. Easy enough. Once I had the carvings completed I placed them on the panel and outlined them. Then I was able to use a shallow chisel to add the texture he asked for before gluing the carvings into place.


After drawing the basic design on a board I was able to use my router to start to establish the outside lines as well as the inner convex shape of the Medallion. I used a 1/4 inch bit to define the lines and a curved bit to clearance much of the waste wood.



As I worked the router I also used my chisels to keep defining the shapes I didn’t want to loose. This also gave me a good visual as to where I was heading.



Once the outer lines  and depth were established with the router I was able to use a compass to define the thickness of the “bowls” of the Medallion. You can also see the outside band saw line that I need to establish the outside perimeter of the Medallion.



Here I made the extra piece to be added to the original block and used it as the profile to transfer to the main panel prior to cutting it out thus ensuring a more accurate cutout.



Here you can see the lower section with the extra piece. Doing this also allowed me to have better access to the carvings needed on the main panel which wouldn’t have been accessible had I tried doing it out of one big piece. Also, there would have been quite a bit of wood that would have to be removed had I decided not to add wood but try doing it all out of one piece.



The upper section has only been roughed in but the lower section has had enough carving to be able to see what the design will be.




The bottom section is pretty much done at this point



Starting to rough in the upper flower design.



Moving along to the Daffodil. All just being roughed in at this point.



The three flowers, one for each of the birth months of the father , mother and their child.



The medallion at the point of needing some sanding.




Here I finished the carvings and attached the pieces to the board that will fit into the custom cabinets.











8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Doug
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 16:41:13


    Beautiful job! The flow of the entire project is quite unbelievable, very natural – almost alive. Thanks for the side shots, gives great perspective of the carving. When I previously said that I wanted to look into the edges of the carving, I meant that the photos make a person want to see all the angles of the carving. It just asks to be held and viewed from all sides!

    Thanks for the sequenced photos – especially since you done this at 2 AM!


  2. markyundt
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 21:24:12

    Thanks Doug. I kinda’ figured you wanted an idea of the depth or how the sides ( band sawed areas ) were finished. It’s interesting that no undercutting ( except for where the leaves really rolled over another and you could see this area) was done on this piece. I thought this too might be of interest to you. I’ve got many more shots of the sequence that I didn’t want to clutter up the story with. But what I have here gives you a good idea of the areas in question.
    Now I’m interested to see the video they shot. I’ll link it when it’s done.


  3. dorisfiebig
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 22:33:59

    hi mark, a wonderful medallion, a beautiful carving, and a great story. it is always a pleasure following your thought patterns, and see the result. i particularly enjoyed the part where you describe how you use the cutout as a profile. i also like that you explained why you did the lower piece as an extra wood and glued on. i frequently ran into problems just like the one you avoided with this strategy… thanks for sharing such beautiful carving. it is indeed exciting to see a line drawing, that tickles the imagination, has become a real carving, with harmony, accuracy, and flow and it looks as if it were done effortlessly,, and thanks that we could see some steps toward this. i am looking forward to that movie !


  4. markyundt
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 03:39:27

    Thank you Doris, such a nice compliment. Well I’m sure I bore many with the “thought patterns” that go into my work, but I feel carving is more than just being able to push a chisel through wood. That’s the mechanics of carving and not the true source of where carvings originate. I personally feel these things must be addressed where few other sites offer this important behind the scenes input and thought.
    The idea of adding wood is quite similar ( humble as it may be ) to what Gibbons did with many of his carvings. They aren’t one piece of wood but rather a stacking of layers that offer more openings , depth and ease of carving that a single piece can’t offer. Also , it would have been necessary to remove a lot of wood just to have the bottom leaves and the top flowers stand out from the rest of the piece. Adding wood is the easy solution. It’s almost like working clay. You add more to complete a piece whereas carving is always removing. So,, why not just add more wood where you want it ?
    Being able to see a line drawing, and know in your imagination just what it will look like is a wonderful sensation. And being able to make it happen is another.
    I’m not sure just how much that video will be able to offer but I too am anxious to see it. My luck is it will be 10 seconds of ” Oh yeah,, we had a guy do some carvings too ” and that will be the end of it. Who knows ,, time will tell.


  5. George
    Oct 29, 2011 @ 15:06:05


    Great site of two great artist. I am specially impressed of Marks’s incredible carvings. Above acanthus is so great.
    I am more of woodturner then a carver for now, but I really like carving. Hopefuly some day my hands will create such a masterpieces then Mark’s.
    Thanks for effort that you are putting in this site – it is very helpfull and encouring .
    I will for sure visit it many more times.
    Regards from Europe, George


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