Cherry Ball and Claw Foot Coffee Table

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Project by DustyMark posted 09-26-2012 03:29 AM 8577 views 4 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Completed March 2006. This cherry ball and claw foot coffee table with shell carvings on the knees and apron rails was the ultimate carving challenge for me. I started by carving a prototype leg from basswood. I was so intimidated about carving four matching legs from expensive 12/4 cherry, that I put off the project for about six months. Once I finally engaged on the project, I completely enjoyed my evenings spent in my then basement shop. I used Rockhard Tabletop varnish since I didn’t want to “baby” it. That perhaps made it a little too glossy…so many compromises. My late wife didn’t like the style since the legs were too life-like. After being widowed and remarried, my new wife didn’t like it either, so I gave it to a very good friend. It matches some high-end period pieces he already owned quite well. I enjoy carving this type of furniture, but lean towards using shaker style pieces in my home!

-- Mark, Minnesota

16 comments so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


4229 posts in 4060 days

#1 posted 09-26-2012 03:36 AM

Beautiful job on that carving. The ball and claw legs came out very nice.

And welcome to Lumberjocks.

View DustyMark's profile


380 posts in 2554 days

#2 posted 09-26-2012 04:00 AM

Thanks. Cherry held detail quite well, but it was a pretty hard wood to carve large areas such as these legs. An old Fine Woodworking video guided me through the legs. I found a good book on shell carving and a study cast that guided me through the shells on the knees and the apron rails.

-- Mark, Minnesota

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3376 posts in 4196 days

#3 posted 09-26-2012 04:16 AM


What a lovely table! We’d love to have a friend like you. ;-)

Welcome to LJs.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View mbs's profile


1657 posts in 3424 days

#4 posted 09-26-2012 04:45 AM

Very nice.

I wish I had your carving skills.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Spoontaneous's profile


1337 posts in 3814 days

#5 posted 09-26-2012 08:49 AM

Thank you so much for making this for me! <jk> Very nicely done. I wouldn’t know where to start on a project like this.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View Oldtool's profile


2786 posts in 2675 days

#6 posted 09-26-2012 11:11 AM

This is one magnificent piece of furniture. Great workmanship on the entire table, especially the carvings. You have great attention to details. Thanks for showing.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View HorizontalMike's profile


7796 posts in 3398 days

#7 posted 09-26-2012 11:25 AM

Well I would have “kept” the table and…

Great job! I am jealous of your talents.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Julian's profile


1484 posts in 3174 days

#8 posted 09-26-2012 02:53 PM

You did a great job carving those legs. I wouldn’t have been able to give away a project that required so much work.

-- Julian

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2776 days

#9 posted 09-26-2012 04:02 PM

Really like what you’ve done here and the B&Cs are very, very nice and are round, not egg shaped or squashed. I started playing with carving B&C last winter and really appreciate your work. Overall the piece is outstanding, but I understand that it just doesn’t fit with all decors and see the wisdom of you enjoying the construction and then giving it someone to enjoy on an everyday basis.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Craig Havran's profile

Craig Havran

346 posts in 3095 days

#10 posted 09-26-2012 06:57 PM

Great looking table. Those feet look GREAT!!

-- "There's plenty of time to read the instruction manual when you're laying in the hospital bed". - Dad

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2866 days

#11 posted 09-27-2012 03:25 AM

Just beautiful work. Great piece of furniture.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3293 days

#12 posted 09-27-2012 03:34 AM

Nice work. I like the way that chamfer transends to the volute which is uncommen with the ball and claw but looks like it worked !JB

View MolokMot's profile


122 posts in 2811 days

#13 posted 09-27-2012 02:53 PM

Incredible table! I really like the style and hope to some day be able to make furniture of that caliber!

-- MolokMot, Rocker, Woodworker, Geek

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3023 days

#14 posted 10-02-2012 05:59 PM

Amazing. Life-like is what it’s all about, that and scaring little children who have watched Beauty and the Beast…

-- I never finish anyth

View CodyM's profile


49 posts in 3304 days

#15 posted 10-06-2012 02:06 AM

Wow! Incredible work, and great detailed carvings.

-- Cody - Salt Lake City, UT

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