How to Replicate Wooden Scroll work Reverse

Old 09-16-20, 05:51 PM
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How to Replicate Wooden Scroll work Reverse

Hello, I acquired an old secretary desk which I love, but is damaged. Since it didn't cost me anything, I decided to take on the project of trying to repair it. I need to replace a top edge which to me is the easy part. The harder part is replicate a piece of scroll work that's not longer there the goes along the edge. The other side has the same scroll work, but in the opposite direction. I've been reading on how to create molds and then using an epoxy or something to create a wood-like replica. The issue I am coming across is I need the piece in the oppose direction. It is a rather detailed piece (for me at least- having never done this) and I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction on how to best approach this. I am attaching a photo of the side that is not damage showing the scroll work. I only need to replicate the scroll that's included in the red box- as it only missing up to that point on the other side.
Thanks for any assistance!

Old 09-16-20, 06:25 PM
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I'd probably start by clamping a piece of 1x4 scrap level onto the back side... roughly where your red box is drawn... but at least 3/4" higher. (You will see why later) Then take a piece of tape and mask off a level line on the bottom of your red box, to denote where the bottom of the 1x4 is (on other side). This will be helpful when you go to hold the contour gauge. Because you need to hold the contour gauge level.

Place the top of the contour gauge along your level line (which will represent the bottom of your 1x4) and push the sliding pieces upward to copy the shape.

Then transfer the bottom shape onto a piece of oak that is maybe 3/8" thick x 3 1/2" wide... keep in mind the woodgrain on that piece is level. So that's why your contour gauge should be held level.

Then do the same thing for the top. Hold the gauge even with the top of the 1x4 (This is where you might need to add a filler onto the top edge of that 1x4... to extend it out over the piece sufficiently) So whatever thickness you need, you could glue or pin nail another piece of 1x onto one side of that 1x4. This will extend the 1x4 out far enough for you to align the gauge with it... just like you did with the tape line.

So hold the gauge flush with the top of the extended 1x4, then push the sliding pieces downward. And transfer that shape onto your oak. You will then have a template of the basic outline of the piece... it can either be a left or right depending on which side you chisel and shape.

You will likely need to make 4 or 5 of these templates because you surely wont get it right on the first try.

Then you will need some carving tools, here is an example. Most of the edge rounding can be done with sandpaper. Once the outline is cut out and rounded, it looks like you will need to belt sand one side so it is slightly tapered (thinner on the side that has the "leaves") Then when you have it the right thickness you can bevel those leaf edges. Draw with a pencil where the grooves need to be, then cut them in a shallow v shape with a sharp X-acto (art knife) or utility knife. Go easy as you can always make them wider or deeper. But you can't put material back once you have removed it.

This will take skill and patience, but it would be a fun diy project. You will get to learn how they used to make things before power tools and cnc machines.

I suppose you could use some Dremel attachments to help speed the work but that seems like cheating.

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