This is a very simple project which would be appropriate for the centre of a small box lid or, used as a repetitive motif, as a decorative border. It provides a good practice piece, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the chisel techniques, and it is easily made smaller or larger depending on your requirements. I suggest starting with a piece of suitable timber (see: Basic Techniques and Timber Selection section) at least 100 x 80 x 12mm (4 x 3 1/8 x 1/2in).
Plane the surface flat and secure it to the work surface (see: Holding your Work section).
1. Using chisel No.3 held vertically in the pinch position, gently set in a cut in the centre of the board. Adjust the position of the chisel and set in further cuts with the cutting edge to form a complete circle. Pencil in a cross through the centre of the circle, one line running with the grain and the other against it. With a pair of dividers, mark two points on each line 10mm (3/8in) from the outside edge of of the circle. With chisel No. 3 in the fist position, place the centre of the cutting edge on to either of the marks on the line running with the grain and gently slide it towards the circle to remove scoop of wood. Set the circle in deeper and repeat until you reach a depth of approximately 5mm (3/16in) where the petal meets the circle.
2. Using your other hand, repeat this process on the same line, working from the opposite mark. Form the third and fourth petals working from the marks on the line pencilled across the grain. Next, round over the circle in the centre by holding chisel No. 3 in the fist position and inverting it so that the convex side is uppermost. Place the cutting edge on the widest part of the circle. Working with the grain, tap the chisel from the centre of the circle to the outside edge. As you reach the outside edge, raise the angle of the chisel.
3. Having completed the other side of the button using the opposite hand, you can then work on rounding it over smoothly.
Next select chisel No. 2 to forrn the smaller petals located between the larger ones. You may need to spend a little more time perfecting the shape of each petal, so that they are more clearly defined by the appearance of small ridge lines. Try to ensure that the flower is symmetrical, with each of the petals exactly opposite its counterpart.
4 Finally, clean up any remaining pencil marks by giving the panel a light sand. Once you have finished the flower you may wish to wax or stain it (see Finishing and Ageing Methods Section) to give the wood added richness and depth.
Having mastered the techniques for carving this simple decoration, you can now create a whole range of other traditional designs.
“Fluting ‘ for example is done just by elongating the petal shapes shown here. Why not experiment to develop other forms of decoration that can be achieved using these basic cuts?