Lately, I’ve been carving a lot of strapwork patterns. I do believe of all the decorations available, strapwork is the most versatile. The variations are virtually endless.
My last effort turned out well if I say so myself. I did seem to take quite a few liberties with the original design, though. But hey, I just used it for inspiration anyway!
Wanting to carve something a bit more historically accurate, I took to the Internet for some research. I came across an article by Anthony Wells-Cole, published in Furniture History, vol. 17, 1981, an annual publication of The Furniture History Society, entitled: An Oak Bed at Montacute: a Study in Mannerist Decoration. The article is a study of a particular strapwork design found on seventeenth-century furniture in Devon, England, and Ipswich, Massachusetts. For me, the article drove home the notion that countless variations of a particular pattern are indeed possible.
The following drawing helps to illustrate this fact.
All of the historical combinations are simply too numerous to list. I will, however, share the dimensions I chose: A = 3-1/2″ ; B = 2″ ; C = 2″ ; D = 3/4″ ; E = 1-14″ ; F = n/a
These dimensions are reportedly from the strapwork pattern found on the Joined Great Chair in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. However, upon further examination, this too is subject to interpretation!
At any rate, armed with this knowledge, and a clear poplar 1×4, I began.
Using a 1/4″ and 1/2″ chisel, a 10mm and 20mm #7 straight gouge, a 10mm #11 straight gouge, a nail set, try square, a 6mm #3 straight gouge for background removal, and a shop-made stippling tool, I made it half-way through the pattern.
Flipping the board around, I started again!
I am really pleased with how this turned out. It is going to make a great looking box.
I intend to carve something similar, yet a bit different on the sides …
Wish me luck!