Queen Ann Fan

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Forum topic by woodydixon posted 08-21-2019 05:15 PM 268 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 31 days

08-21-2019 05:15 PM

I’m about to start my 2nd queen ann fan and wanted to know if anyone knows of any useful videos or articles that could help. The first one was a simple one which Phil Lowe used on his lowbooy project in FW. He also had a short video on the process on FW’s website. Mary May has a lesson on this but I am not a member yet so don’t have access to that. I also watched a video of Matt Cremona doing one for his highboy. Finally i have a American Woodworker article on a highboy build which has some brief information on using a router to carve out the shell iinstead of using a gouge but is light on using gouges to shape the fan. One thing I had some trouble with was rounding the rays over. I used a flat chisel in much the same way as Frank Klause. I’ve found other info suggesting this can be done with a skew gouge, back bent gouge, or a fishtail gouge. Anyone have experience with this and might suggest easiest way for inexperienced carver to do this, including sweep and width of gouge? Many thanks.

5 replies so far

View tywalt's profile


83 posts in 644 days

#1 posted 08-21-2019 08:41 PM

It doesn’t directly answer your question, but when I got into wood carving, I was hesitant to spend money on the Mary May lessons and I did learn a lot from free tutorials and YT videos… I have to say that when I finally climbed off my cheapskate horse and shelled out for Mary’s site, I seriously regretted not starting there. I haven’t watched her Queen Ann Fan but I can say that I learned more about carving from any one of her courses than I learned elsewhere combined.

-- Tyler - Central TX

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John Smith

1971 posts in 642 days

#2 posted 08-21-2019 10:48 PM

Woody – you said you have carved one fan already. (how did it turn out ?)
what kind of practicing have you done since then ?
when carving fans and sea shells, it takes a bit of concentration
and focus on how the grain runs in the project.
I have carved dozens of sea shells but only two fans.
practice upon practice in different mediums will get you to the
level you want to be. and it only takes a few gouges, not a 50pc set.
you mentioned several well known carvers and videos . . . . .
they are very useful in getting you started in design and layout, but, you really
need to practice and develop your own technique.
find some basswood or poplar and just practice on 3 rays at a time. not the whole fan.
even soft white pine without defects will work. make the rays about 12-18” long so you can
develop your own style of carving them. and slowly decrease the size down to what
you will be carving into your projects.
and – super sharp tools will help minimize frustrations..
best of luck !! you’ll get there.



-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View Rayne's profile


1216 posts in 2019 days

#3 posted 08-22-2019 02:15 AM

If you want some insanely detailed videos and instructions on the highboy in its entirety, Matt Cremona built one for the Wood Whisperer Guild a while back. If you’re willing to invest in the project, I’m sure you’ll get your money’s worth and direct consultation with Matt if he’s available.

View woodydixon's profile


4 posts in 31 days

#4 posted 08-22-2019 02:39 AM

Thanks guys. My first fan was certainly acceptable but I was not entirely satisfied. One thing I had trouble with was rounding over the fans. I have Matt’s video, it is superb and although his fan looks great, he admits he is not a carver. He used a 25/6 backbent gouge to round them over, whicH i believe Glen Huey also used. Mary May suggests a fishtail gouge for the same work. There cetainly is no substitute for actually carving over and over but I also may sign up for a month or two with Mary May online. Thank you all for your help and kind suggestions.


View Robert's profile


3516 posts in 1960 days

#5 posted 08-22-2019 10:09 AM

Remember the people in videos probably aren’t doing their first one. I haven’t carved in a while, but one of the hardest things for me to learn is paying attention to grain direction. You can ruin something real quick.

I watched a lot of Mary Mays videos IMO it is well worth the subscription. One thing I like is she specifies what gouges she is using for every project.

You might also check Chris Pye for no other reason than his sharpening tutorials are excellent.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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