There are almost as many variations
of the carved fan as there are shells. This one is
very simple but elegant and easy to carve - a
beginning carver should be able to carve this fan.
These fans were used on early American furniture,
often on the center drawer of a lowboy. A drawer
pull (almost certainly a round knob) was placed in
the lower center of the fan. So when you look at the
fan we're carving, try to imagine a drawer pull as
part of the fan. Note that I use the Swiss system to
describe carving tools in all of my tutorials.
If you find this tutorial useful,
I'd really appreciate if you would send me an e-mail
with the subject line of "Simple Fan" so I can get
some indication of how many people are reading it.
Here's the fan that you will carve in this tutorial.
I'm using a piece of 3/4" Honduras mahogany about 6 1/2"
wide. This piece is longer, but a piece about 10" in length
will work well.
The first thing we'll do is the layout. I draw a vertical
line 5" from the end (if the piece was 10" long, I'd split
it in half), and a horizontal line about 1 1/2" from the
bottom. Using the intersection of those two lines as the
center point, I draw a half circle with radius 4", and
another with radius 3 3/4". Finally, I draw a small circle
with a 3/4" radius.
If you were doing this on a real piece of furniture, you'd
have to scale these measurements to fit your drawer.
We begin our carving by making a downward cut with a #7/25
gouge to outline the lower half circle. Note that I didn't
cut exactly to the line - I cut just a bit away from the
line. As I do the rest of the carving, I'll "damage" the
side of that half circle. As the final carving, I'll trim
back to the line and remove that damage.