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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Chapin High Chest of Drawers - Ball & Claw - Step 5

It is time to consider how to carve the Chapin Ball & Claw foot.  I don't have a sample of a previously carved Chapin foot but I do have pictures that I took when I was at the Yale Furniture Study.

The Chapin foot is similar to a Philadelphia foot but with a higher ball and somewhat squished on the bottom. The toenail is different as well since it is a wedge.

The picture at the right is a picture of Will Neptune conducting a class on carving a Chapin foot. All useful information.


Since I have never carved a Chapin foot before,  I decided to carve a practice one that I can use as a model for the four that I need for the chest.

This is an overview of carving this foot. I will get into more detail a little later in this post, but if you want a detailed video on carving a ball and claw foot I have one I did years ago in two parts.  This is the link to the first part https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUscuFeJcQI

Below I have carved the back two ball shapes where I have made the top of the ball larger than on a normal Philadelphia foot.


Here I am carving the front ball by curving over the lower part of the ball first.


Here I have roughed out the ball and am working on the front toe.


This is the completed foot. I am fairly happy with the shape but now I have to blend it in to the leg.


I use a Nickelson #50 rasp to round over the sharp corners and to shape the leg.

Then I use a spoke shave to smooth the surface and finish the shaping.


Here it is, the completed model foot and leg. I have tweaked it a little bit but I think it is a good representation of the Chapin leg and foot.
So now I need to make four more like this one.


The first step in preparation for carving is to smooth out the leg from all of the bumps that were left from the bandsaw.  I use the spokeshave for the most part and files where I can not reach.


The first step in carving is to layout the ball and claw on the bottom of the foot.  You have to have a plan so that you can be consistent.  I find the center and use a compass to draw 2 concentric circles the size of these depend on the size of the foot you are carving.  Toes are usually 1/2 inch wide.

To begin carving you first make a cylinder to the first line all the way around.

I use a small square to check that the sides of the cylinder are parallel straight back.


Next step is to curve over the lower portion of the ball to the second line.  I made a mark at 7/8 inch and curved down from that point on the ball.


Having carved a model I am able to duplicate the curves and size by using a molding or contour gauge.  I use this repeatedly to check my progress.


Now I am checking on the curve of the front ball. As you can see it is too large, so I need to curve it over to fit the gauge.

Now I have a good fit.


After completing the ball, I need to carve the webbing.  I draw a line from the ball up the leg to create a "V" and then carve it out.


After I carve the four sides of the ball, I turn my attention to rounding over and shaping the talons. Again I use my model to measure and shape them as I have done before.


Lastly, I carve the toenail. Which in this case is a wedge shape.  You can see 2 of them are complete while I am carving the 3rd.


That completes an overview of the process. The model is on the left and the first good foot is on the right. Now I have to shape the leg and clean up everything.


All cleaned up, it takes me about 8 hours for the whole process. I am happy with the first leg, now all I have to do is carve 3 more.


Here is today's video: