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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
 

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Registered
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207 Posts
Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Well, now that you show me how I could do that, in my dreams. Those are nice and thats why I continue to practice, you do make it look easy.

Thanks Ron
 

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3,873 Posts
Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Great blog. Reminds me of one I saw in FWW a long time ago. I have 4 that I started after reading that article
but never finished them. I will get back to them one of these days.
 

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Registered
Joined
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380 Posts
Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Very nicely done. I'm sure the customer is well pleased.

always,
J.C.
 

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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Extraordinary!!! PLEASE KEEP US POSTED on your progress?
 

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Registered
Joined
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705 Posts
Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Thanks for the blog and pictures, that was very interesting. Great carving talent.
 

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Registered
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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
John,

Thanks for the tutorial. I have often wondered how these were done. And you have explained it in a clear concise manner with your commentary and pictures.

Thanks for the blog.
 

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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Excellent Presentation John.
Every time I see a Ball and Claw chair I cringe at it intricacy but then I think of Jake Cress and his 'Oops' and 'Self Portrait'. The Townsend Claw has been one of my favorites and although my carving leaves somewhat to be desired, with your tutorial I feel a little more confident in tackling this.
Thanks again,
Smitty
 

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205 Posts
Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Very nice, thanks for the post! Added to my favorites for when I get around to trying this. Or maybe I'll just give GaryK a hand with his! :)
 

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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Excellent post and tutorial. Thank You!
 

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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
My hat is off to you and the incredible skills you possess.
Great work!
 

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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Thanks for the post John. I have been wanting to try a Ball and Claw. This tutorial will surely help. Great work!
 

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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
John - thanks for the tutorial which is now in my favorites file - I like the undercut talon and the shape of the ball
 

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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
John, I am always amazed when I see your work. It must be great to have the foresight to come up with your design ideas.
But where is the rest of the chair??? LOL
Thanks for posting the blog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Thanks for the kind words everyone,

Dave,

The "rest of the chair" post is coming, maybe next week…..But I think you've already seen it. ;-)
 

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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
About how long does it take for you to carve an incredible piece like this. More precisely do you do this in one or two sessions or is it spread over several…many sessions? I would think detailed work like this must be fairly intense to do and was wondering how you paced yourself on the work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Mark,

I'm not sure how much time I actually have in the carving. These B&C feet were the front legs on a wing back chair. I carved both feet at the same time, meaning that I completed each phase on both feet before moving on to the next phase. Each "phase" of the carving was pretty much when I'd stop, take pix, and then take a break.

The problem I had was not the intensity of the carving detail, but the ache in my ol' back that would get to me from being bent over while carving, so I would quite for a while and go on to making other parts for the chair.

I will post pix of the entire chair project soon, and you will see there was a lot more carving done on the cabriole knees, chair aprons, arms, and stretchers as well.
 

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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Yeah, I wasn't looking for a XX minutes for this and yy minutes for that I was wondering what the limiting factors were. I can see how there would be logical 'breaks' in the action that would allow you/your back to recover and to record the activities. Many of my breaks don't derive from logical breaks in the task but the demands of the pesky outside world…my boss insists I show up every day :)

I look forward to pictures of the entire project. I am still amazed at the 'realness' of these B&C feet.
 

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Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
Very Nice!

Fiona :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
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521 Posts
Carving a Ball and Claw Foot

First I want to thank everyone who visited and responded to my last project blog;

A walnut sofa table with Jacobean influences

As always, your comments AND critiques are welcome!

I recently completed a commissioned wing back chair for a very petite lady. It has a lot of carving detail so I though I would post one of the carving elements as a tutorial because this was almost a "project" of its own.

This chair has ball and claw feet on the front legs, and the clients liked the undercut talons that John Townsend and John Goddard made famous. I didn't like the undercutting they would sometimes do at the top of the ball, as I felt it removed too much wood for a chair's forces. My clients allowed me to use my input and go with a webbed upper ball and I chose to do a tapered ball, rather than the stubby round balls. Creating something as aggressive as a ball and claw foot that looks somewhat feminine and petite is not easy.

Here is what I came up with.



I started by milling the cabriole leg blanks from 12/4 black walnut, and finished them to 2-3/4" square. The pattern was made out of 1/4 " ply and was drawn on two faces of the rift sawn blank.



The mortises were cut on the FMT, then both faces were cut on the band saw. I made one extra leg just in case I messed up and needed a "do-over".



The "cabriole" shape of the leg was sculpted and the block for the ball and claw remains. Note that there is extra "meat" on the knee for the upper leg, relief carvings later.



The first step is to lay out the guide lines on the base of the foot. These will be used at each step of the carving. I shaved off about 3/32" from each side of the block to make the ball and claw a little more petite.



I start by carving the front two faces and using the outer circle as a guide to form a cylinder. This outer circle is the widest circumference of the ball. By leaving the corners, you can see the claws start to form.



The leg on the right shows the front two faces, and the one on the left shows the back two faces which are done a little bit differently. I can't carve a vertical cylinder because the location of the "ankle" forces the creation of the top of the ball and the back webs.



Now I return to the front of the ball and start to shape the cylinder into the desired shape of a ball. This design is a "tapered" ball, so the apex is set high and the top is rounded in to form the front webs and the bottom is more of a straight taper down to the smaller circle on the bottom layout lines.



After the balls are shaped, the claws are rounded to match the shape of the ball. I used a compass to mark the height and location of the knuckles.



After a lot more work, the knuckles are sculpted, the cuticles are cut, the talons are carved down, and the tendons and webs are refined at the top of the ball.



Undercutting the talons. Now this is where things get scary! I made a popsicle stick template to draw the cut zone on both sides of each talon. Using a 3/8", #4 gouge and a ¼" bench chisel, I carefully carved a way the wood under each talon.



After some rifler filing and some sanding, I sprayed some mineral spirits on the foot and this is what it looks like.



And yes! I did carve two of them.

I have carved ball and claw feet before, but never any this intricate.

I refer to them as;

Townsend/Fry - Newport/Acton Style Ha Ha!

Hope you enjoy,
WOW, beautiful, love the space behind the talons, thanks for the process, haven't seen it done before. A good plan, sharp eye , sharp blades and a lot of patience, gotcha.
 
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