17th Century Carving

with Peter Follansbee

Please call to register: 800-327-2520. For more information email us

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17th Century Carving

with Peter Follansbee

July 19-20, 2014 (9am-4pm)


In this two-day class, the focus will be on learning to handle carving tools, and executing a number of patterns used on 17th-century New England furniture. Starting with a single gouge and mallet, we will cut a few different runs of chopped decoration, then move onto the V-tool and compass.

Gradually we will add other gouges, defining patterns with the both compass and carving tools themselves. Background removal, detail punches and other effects will be treated significantly. The final carving will be a larger piece in red oak that could be used as either a chest panel, box front, or a wall hanging.

About the Instructor

Peter Follansbee is a joiner at the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he has worked as a researcher and furniture-maker since 1994. He specializes in carving, relief, joinery and other techniques from the 17th century.

Tool List

These are the tools we'll learn about in the class. You are not required to bring all of them; we will provide demonstration tools for you to use. However, it is helpful for you to practice with your own tools, so bring as many of these as you'd like. You may also make purchases in our showroom on site. Please do not bring tools in need of repair or major fettling – there will not be time to fully tune them for use during the workshop.

Note: The hyperlinks below are for LN tools, though you are welcome to bring tools of other brands.


  • Carving Chisel Set Carving chisels are a bit difficult to standardize, since different manufacturers have different designations for the curvature or “sweep” of the cutting edge. The photo below shows the main types and sizes that Peter will use in the class. We offer a 7-piece set of fine carving chisels, hand-forged by Auriou in France under the guidance of renowned woodcarver, Chris Pye. Although this set doesn't exactly match Peter's suggestions, it gives you the means to carve a wide range of subjects.
  1. V-tool, 6mm (Peter uses a Pfeil #15)
  2. Shallow gouge, 12mm (Pfeil #5)
  3. Larger gouge, 18mm (Pfeil #7)
  4. Medium gouge, 5/8” (Peter uses a 5/8” Buck Bros with more curve than his Pfeil #7)
  5. Medium gouge, 3/4” (like the one above, just a tad wider)
  6. Deep gouge, about 7/16” (Peter uses a Henry Taylor)
  7. One-inch wide shallow gouge (Peter's is an Ashley Iies with the same curve as his Pfeil #7)
  8. Narrow deep gouge, 8mm or 5/16” (Peter uses a Pfeil #8)

Registration Information

Cost is $250, lunch included. Limited to 15 people.

Located at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks: Route 1, Warren, Maine 04864.

Please call to register: 800-327-2520, $100 nonrefundable deposit required at registration, full payment required 30 days before the workshop. For more information email us.