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Tips from Old Millrat - James D. Thompson


Carving a Table Top


I just finished carving a table top.  Here is how it was done. 

I glued up a panel and cut it roughly to my desired size.  I did not cut it to finish size because I will be working on it for quite a while, and it would be very easy to damage the outside edges.

Notice the color of the freshly cut wood and compare it to the finished piece.  No color was added.  This wood darkens by itself.


I located the center and then used a router to cut a pair of grooves around the outer edges.  I want a rope molding there.  You can see that the rope molding is started.

Next I glued on a pattern.

I found the pattern in a book, and it was too small for this job, so I took the pattern to Kinko’s and had it enlarged.  I located it where I wanted it and glued it down. 

I cut away the background with a router.  Then I started carving.

Here the carving is nearing completion.


This is the carving after all the work has been done.  This wood darkens in a few days so the final sanding that looks so light now around the outside will match the rest of the piece.

There are about 200 man hours invested in this piece.  Texturing the background took about 6 hours.  It was not a small undertaking.  But it was not really very difficult to do. It was a lot of fun.

July 2007


Swan Chisels

L. & I. J. White

Buck Bros


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