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  • Oliver Clark

How Oliver Carves Acanthus Leaves

I am currently using my studio time to learn to carve acanthus leaves. This comes from a desire to develop the end pieces I attach to my steam-bent curves.


I began by researching carvers on Youtube and Instagram. My first hands-on approach was to complete a study by replicating an acanthus leaf carved by instagram.com/vladimirwoodcarver


Below is a picture of my first study leaf I carved using only bevel chisels.

I do not currently have carving tools because I am still unsure of what direction my carvings will take. So far my research says Schaaf chisels are a great set of chisels for value, compared to the higher prices of Pfeil, Two Cherries, and Lie Nielsen.


After completing the study, I wanted to develop my ability to draw unique acanthus leaves. Below is a page from my sketchbook.


From these thumbnails, I draw full-size sketches measuring about 3 to 4 inches wide by 8 to 10 inches long. The drawings are now a series of templates to start practicing carving.


Below is an acanthus leaf I carved from a walnut and cherry blank using Saburrtooth carving bits in a Dremel tool. The chisels allow more detail, but using the carving bits are much faster. I think a good compromise is carving with power tools first and then refining with chisels.


Below is a acanthus leaf I carved from a walnut and cherry blank.

I look to the future with excitement to carve a variety of organic flourishes that will blossom from my sculptures.