One of the two areas of woodworking I feel is necessary for every woodworker who wants to break out of the flat, square mold is carving. While you may not be ready, or willing, to jump into vine work and acanthus leaf carvings on your pieces, you can certainly spice them up with a simple-to-carve molding that gives a project punch – gadroon.
If you’ve tried your hand at carving a Scallop Shell (from Issue 2), then you already have the basic skills necessary for gadrooning your project. This simple carved element looks like a twist or rope molding. It is usually applied to (or carved from the solid) edges of a case or chair, but can also be found on columns of tilt-top tables. And while it primarily shows up in high-style Chippendale pieces, there isn’t any reason you couldn’t add this decorative element to a far simpler piece, such as a small drop leaf table.
Carving a gadroon molding is fairly easy and offers a fun exercise to develop or improve your carving skills. And you don’t need to break the bank buying lots of carving tools. In fact, a fair amount of the carving can be done with a standard bench chisel, a couple of gouges and possibly a V-parting tool, depending on which type of gadroon you want to carve. (Fig. 1)