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Sunday, 29 December 2013

Wood carving Custom Made | Wood carving on Barley Twist furniture legs | Classic BARLEY TWIST legs decorated with woodcarving and ornaments

The application of wood carving on Barley Twist furniture legs


Patrick Damiaens
Ornamental Woodcarver

Classic Barley Twist legs
decorated with Ornaments
















Application of a flower and leaf motif on Barley Twist turned legs.


The twisted shape of table or chair legs are characteristic of the French Louis XIII style.
In this context the word “twisted” or “torsion” refers to the spiral shaped twists that are applied to wood, which make it seem as if the timber is distorted, slightly resembling a thick rope. It is possible to apply intricate wood carving on the larger examples of twisted furniture legs, usually in the hollow part of the twist.
The French Louis XIII style is a relatively unknown furniture trend, and one rarely runs into furniture from this era (1610-1650) at the local antique dealer. Instead these type of antiques are often found in French museums. In general, the Louis XIII type furniture may be considered as a transition style between the late Renaissance and Baroque.
Nevertheless, in a relatively short period of only 4 decades (1610-1650), this early 17th century furniture style underwent several significant changes.
The cabinet was introduced. At the time this type of furniture was specifically designed to flaunt the wealth and importance of its owners. The many drawers and secret storage spaces in the interior of the cabinet were meant to display, store or sometimes hide exotic objects from various remote parts of the world, entirely for the purpose of social positioning.



Precious woods, like for instance ebony, were sawn in thin slices of approximately 4 mm in thickness, and were subsequently glued to the massive wooden frame of the furniture piece. The plate material we know today was not developed until several centuries later. Interestingly, at the guild of master carpenters a new specialty was introduced, namely the “Menuisiers en ébéne”, or ebony carpenters, who later on were simply referred to as ébénistes. This is a name we use until this day (an ébénist is a joiner or cabinet-maker).

The most recognizable feature of the Louis XIII style is undoubtedly the twisted shape of the furniture legs. In this particular period the demand for qualified wood turners was high, as the use of twisted furniture legs was extremely fashionable; a “fad” which probably originated in Spain or Portugal.
This “twisted pattern” was also adopted in architecture, for instance on stone columns. Today it is still possible to admire the exquisite craftsmanship of these stone cutters.
Presented below are the various stages of carving a decorative ornament on twisted wood turning.

The application of wood carving on Barley Twist turned legs


Twisted furniture legs

The application of the drawing on the twisted legs

shaping the ornaments


a more detailed drawing is created

the proper cutting of the flower and leaf motive



Patrick Damiaens, Classic BARLEY TWIST legs decorated with woodcarving and ornaments

finishing the leaf and flower motif




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