Carving 1


A Bit of Carving History

From the earliest days of furniture making, craftspeople have added dimension and beauty to hand-carved wood furniture. Some of the first carvings were incised cuts and were often geometric in shape. As tools improved, carvings became more artistic and often captured the lines of simple elements seen in the natural environment like flowers, leaves and vines.

Carving 2

Molding and hand-carving tools

Carvings on furniture became more sophisticated as the role of some furniture pieces changed from strictly utilitarian to more of an art form. Splendid carvings adorned many kinds of furniture, either as a singular decorative element or as a repeated shape found framing a drawer or a bed.

Carving 3

Shell carving

Common Carving Motifs

Traditional furniture and 18th century furniture pieces tend to exhibit more carving than transitional and contemporary furniture. One of the most recognized carving elements, the ball and claw foot, can be found at the base of a chair or dining table leg. An animal foot, spoon, slipper, or even a serpent’s head can form legs and feet for tables, chairs, beds, chests or dressers. Scallop shells, vines, acanthus leaves, laurel leaves, flowers of all varieties and rice plants are present on furniture seen in museums and modern-day furniture stores.

Carving 4

Hand-carved vines

Transitional and contemporary furniture designs will have simple curves or geometric shapes.

Attributes of Beautifully Crafted Carvings

Well-crafted carvings are crisp and precise and are attractive additions to a piece of furniture, rather than an overpowering element. The carving should be sized in proportion to the piece and serve as an integral part of the design. Moldings are strips of shaped or carved woods that frame sections of furniture. Where moldings move around a corner, a finely finished piece will carry the design across the joint, without an obvious stopping and starting point.

Carving 5

Carved moldings ready for mitering

Types of Carving – Features to Look For

Carving is the finest work found in furniture. This artistry allows the carving to accentuate the grain of the wood and to transition around corners while preserving the pattern. It is done one piece at a time by those who are wood carving masters.

Carving 6

Applied carving

Applied Carvings

Carved overlays are hand shaped and are applied as a design element to wood furniture.

Carving 7

Hand carver at work

Carvings Found in Fine Furniture Design® Collections

The traditional collections such as The RayLen Vineyards Collection, feature leaves, vines, shells and flowers, as are found in antiques.

All carvings found in theFine Furniture Design® collections utilize considerable hand work!