This is a little acanthus scroll trailboard for a Victorian launch restoration, currently at the tweak and finish stage. The turn at the bow end is a little too oval, but otherwise it’s coming together nicely. The thing that really makes a deep relief like this ‘pop’ is to undercut it.  Undercutting is done to take the sides of the design out of sight. It is important that this is not overdone or the edges will be weakened. It is also important the back of the carving keeps in contact with the hull; if it is raised it will be susceptible to  breaking off when the carving gets knocked. The thing to bear in mind is to avoid pockets for water to collect in.


The first picture shows a vertical view but even here some of the sides of the carving are visible.


Whereas this image is only slightly off-vertical and the sides are clear to see.


wedding spoon

This was my most recent commission, a wedding gift for the groom from his bride. The photo doesn’t do it justice at all. The biggest challenge was the water-lily as I’d never carved one before but it all turned out very nicely.  The mahogany threw up a few challenges as it can be prone to splitting. The ship’s wheel is fore-shortened in the photo as it is carved on an angle. The top half of the spoon is actually the same length as the heart/stem/bowl. The underside of the flower is fully carved also, with the tendrils forming a never-ending knot and holding onto the horse-shoe that forms the top of the heart-lock


how to draw a celtic knot

Most Celtic knots that you see are of the plaited variety, but on the lovespoon in the last article I carved a seemingly very complex circular knot.  This knot is actually fairly straightforward but it does have a number of steps to follow.

Please note the diagrams are to show the process, not my skills as a draftsman, this is deliberately a  ‘warts-n-all’ approach as I want to encourage you to have a go not intimidate.

imageAnyhow, I used a small round thing to draw the construction circles and fiddled around till I managed to draw a reasonable hexagon, BUT this works with any number  of circles.






imageNext find the centre of each circle  – use a strip of paper, lay it across the circle, mark where the circle touches it, fold in half and you have a centre-finder.






imageNow put a mark between and above each circle.






imageDraw a lazy ‘s’ from the turning mark above the circle to go imagebelow the turning mark at the centre of the circle behind and then out to meet the edge of the next circle.

Already made a mistake, but it does not matter as it will be covered over later






draw the line from the turning mark above the circle towards the centre of the circle in front.





Draw a letter e make sure the straight line is pointing from just below the centre point of the circle toward the centre-point of the next circle.  This straight line is drawn from the centre to about half way across the circle. the arm of the ‘e’ unwinds outwards until it hits the wall of the circle. It is important that each of the ‘e’s are drawn the same way so that the pattern is uniform.


Now it is a matter of refining the lines and broadening them, correcting any errors as we go:


The pattern is complete, with the unders-overs of the celtic inter-weaving shown. The rule for the weaving is to follow one strand of the rope and alternate the crossings, so the rope goes over the first junction and under the second; over the third, under the fourth, repeat until you get all the way around the pattern and arrive back at the start.


Hope you like it, why not have a go? This pattern was drawn on a4 paper to suit the camera but the carved roundel was 3 inches across, so anything is possible!