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1 Introduction

THE classical ornamentation has got to be the acanthus leaf. But, having gone through so many stylistic changes, what we are familiar with looks very different from the original acanthus plant of Ancient Greece.

In this lesson, I'll look at how these leaves 'work' - despite their differences you'll find similarities: what makes it an 'acanthus' - and some tips on designing, and what technical terms like 'pipe' and 'eye' mean.

Members can download working drawings and pictures below.

Wood thickness for all the acanthuses is around 3/4in. (20mm). More and you'll have a higher relief in the turnover, for example; less and the leaves are a bit flatter. 

Subscriber download: Acanthus - Tools and Drawings


| 12 July 2016 11:22

Joe - What an eagle eye! Thanks very much. Not being perfect (or even close!) we do need every one not to hesitate letting us know if anything needs tweaking or tuning. I've updated the downloads. Thanks again.

| 11 July 2016 12:48

Hi Chris - in the tool list for the Baroque leaf - I think there is a mistake for the #6 gouge it's a 1/2" 14 but the 5/16 I think is mislabeled. Must be impossible to be perfect all the time but you come close!
joe clark

| 18 March 2013 01:25

Chris - Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I am sorry I bothered you because I hadn't fully investigated your site. I have joined "workshops" and purchased all three of the dvd's you and Rob Cosman have made. I don't mind doubling up with the dvd's because I can take them into my workshop and play them on my portable dvd player there. I build small 20 and 31 note street organs and want to decorate them with wood carvings; hence, my interest in your instruction. I find the dvd's without peer. Thanks for doing this.

| 17 March 2013 21:05

Tom - Head over to About > Downloads (members) > Surface Decoration : Corner Leaf DVD Notes PDF, wherein you'll find a full list of tools, with widths, and a step-by-step summary.

| 17 March 2013 18:29

Chris - In your video with Rob Crosman "3.Ornamental Carving" you used three fishtail gouges: I believe these were Sheffield No's. 3, 5 and 7. Unfortunately I didn't see (or note) the width. Would you please let me know the widths of these tools. Thanks, -Tom

| 20 August 2012 17:25

Thank's for the e/mail, this is realy interesting, I now have lots more to practise. I am finding the green man challenging but so interesting. Thanks for your answer about use of the mallet. I have allways used off cuts from my local timber merchant, usualy oak, walnut,or mahogany, having bought lime specialy for the green man I am amazed at how easy it carves, but dose not make the project any easier.

Keep up the good work, both of you.

Eric March.

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