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Carved Decoration: 17th-Century English Style

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Course Overview

Peter Follansbee has specialized for 25 years in making reproductions of 17th-century style oak furniture, based on originals from both England and New England. Most of this furniture features extensive carved decoration. This 3-day class will explore the carved decoration in great detail. Using just a few carving gouges, compass, and mallet, students in this class will learn how to lay out and cut numerous forms, patterns, and combinations of carved decoration. We’ll see how the shapes of the tools help determine the patterns, and how varying techniques combine to complete different designs. Proportions, spacing, and the relationship between background and foreground in establishing the pattern/design are key components of this work. Typically, we begin with very simple elements using just one tool, a small gouge, and the mallet. From there, each exercise expands on this foundation and each succeeding design adds more and more complexity. Various shop-made punches highlight the carved designs. A range of designs will be covered, all drawn from surviving examples studied in museums and private collections. We’ll run through a series of patterns, culminating in a full-scale pattern typical of a box front or chest panel. We’ll include a session looking at slides of surviving carved works from both England and New England.

Session Information

This course is part of Wood Week! Plan to attend the Carvers Conference on March 6, a day of speakers, demonstrations, skill shares and community gatherings free for all enrolled students, including the rare mid-winter pizza bake. Come early or stay late! Full schedule available in early 2020.


Sat, Mar 7th, 2020  –  Mon, Mar 9th, 2020

Course Details

Length: 3 days
Skill Levels: Beginner to Advanced
Hours: 9am-5pm
Intergenerational age: N/A
Tuition: $300.00
Additional materials fee paid to instructor when class starts: Varies ($40 and up)


You will need the following tools for this class:

  • Compass
  • Awl
  • Marking gauge
  • Ruler
  • Carving mallet
  • Gouges: the following are designations from the Swiss-Made line of tools. You don’t need these exact sizes, just something close to them. Your designs will be determined by the tools you have.
    • Gouge #9 Sweep 7 mm          
    • Gouge #7 Sweep 18 mm          
    • Gouge #9 Sweep 15 mm          
    • Gouge #8 Sweep 18 mm         
    • Gouge #5 Sweep 12 mm          
    • V‐Tool #12 Sweep 8mm

Optional Tools

Feel free to bring your favorite tools and whatever materials you might feel appropriate for this course. If you have more tools, and can bring them, do so. The wider array of tools, the more versatile we can be with patterns.

More Information

Once registered, students will receive a confirmation email with further class information. Please call us if you haven't received it within 24 hours.

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Peter Follansbee
Peter Follansbee
Kingston, MA

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Carved Decoration: 17th Century English Style - 3/7/2020