Carving in Threes

When my wife was a teen, her parents got her an antique hope chest. It’s beautiful – dark stained oak that has aged to a lovely patina, with some well-carved acanthus leaf scroll work on it. I have admired the craftsmanship for years, and said I’d one day like to have more pieces like it in our house.

A few years after I started carving, I clued in that maybe I could make some pieces to match. So my wood-working father and I designed a serving tray and made it out of 3/4″ oak. I took a crayon-rubbing of the original hope chest carving and, after reducing its size, transferred it to the tray. That tray has been in our house for about 7 years now. Then I had the idea of carving a mirror frame to match. Out came the crayon again. Then came the carving tools. The results are below – first the hope chest, then the tray and finally the mirror frame.

Antique Hope Chest
Carved Tray
Carved Mirror Frame

About the carvings:

I’m not sure what the stain is for the hope chest, but the wood is oak. The serving tray is oak, stained with medium walnut gel stain and sprayed with lacquer. The mirror frame is birch, stained with numerous coats of medium walnut danish oil and hand-rubbed till it glows.

Till next week,


3 thoughts on “Carving in Threes

  1. Lovely work as always, and a beautiful job of reproducing the carving. Rubbings are a great technique. I remember when I was a child, my mother would lay a piece of cotton over an embroidery and rub with the back of a silver spoon. The tarnish from the spoon would create a pattern to follow — matching pillowcases and towels resulted.

  2. I’ve seen these in person and they are even more beautiful than they look in these photos. Stunning workmanship and finishing.

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