Cherry Ball and Claw Foot Coffee Table

  • Advertise with us
Project by DustyMark posted 09-26-2012 03:29 AM 4637 views 4 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Completed March 2006. This cherry ball and claw foot coffee table with shell carvings on the knees and apron rails was the ultimate carving challenge for me. I started by carving a prototype leg from basswood. I was so intimidated about carving four matching legs from expensive 12/4 cherry, that I put off the project for about six months. Once I finally engaged on the project, I completely enjoyed my evenings spent in my then basement shop. I used Rockhard Tabletop varnish since I didn’t want to “baby” it. That perhaps made it a little too glossy…so many compromises. My late wife didn’t like the style since the legs were too life-like. After being widowed and remarried, my new wife didn’t like it either, so I gave it to a very good friend. It matches some high-end period pieces he already owned quite well. I enjoy carving this type of furniture, but lean towards using shaker style pieces in my home!

-- Mark, Minnesota

15 comments so far

View Eric in Florida.'s profile

Eric in Florida.

3749 posts in 2609 days

#1 posted 09-26-2012 03:36 AM

Beautiful job on that carving. The ball and claw legs came out very nice.

And welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs ~ Henry Ford

View DustyMark's profile


331 posts in 1104 days

#2 posted 09-26-2012 04:00 AM

Thanks. Cherry held detail quite well, but it was a pretty hard wood to carve large areas such as these legs. An old Fine Woodworking video guided me through the legs. I found a good book on shell carving and a study cast that guided me through the shells on the knees and the apron rails.

-- Mark, Minnesota

View lightweightladylefty's profile


2954 posts in 2746 days

#3 posted 09-26-2012 04:16 AM


What a lovely table! We’d love to have a friend like you. ;-)

Welcome to LJs.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View mbs's profile


1560 posts in 1974 days

#4 posted 09-26-2012 04:45 AM

Very nice.

I wish I had your carving skills.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Spoontaneous's profile


1324 posts in 2363 days

#5 posted 09-26-2012 08:49 AM

Thank you so much for making this for me! <jk> Very nicely done. I wouldn’t know where to start on a project like this.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View Oldtool's profile


2147 posts in 1224 days

#6 posted 09-26-2012 11:11 AM

This is one magnificent piece of furniture. Great workmanship on the entire table, especially the carvings. You have great attention to details. Thanks for showing.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View HorizontalMike's profile


6975 posts in 1948 days

#7 posted 09-26-2012 11:25 AM

Well I would have “kept” the table and…

Great job! I am jealous of your talents.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Julian's profile


716 posts in 1724 days

#8 posted 09-26-2012 02:53 PM

You did a great job carving those legs. I wouldn’t have been able to give away a project that required so much work.

-- Julian

View HillbillyShooter's profile (online now)


5489 posts in 1326 days

#9 posted 09-26-2012 04:02 PM

Really like what you’ve done here and the B&Cs are very, very nice and are round, not egg shaped or squashed. I started playing with carving B&C last winter and really appreciate your work. Overall the piece is outstanding, but I understand that it just doesn’t fit with all decors and see the wisdom of you enjoying the construction and then giving it someone to enjoy on an everyday basis.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Craig Havran's profile

Craig Havran

345 posts in 1645 days

#10 posted 09-26-2012 06:57 PM

Great looking table. Those feet look GREAT!!

-- "There's plenty of time to read the instruction manual when you're laying in the hospital bed". - Dad

View dnick's profile


975 posts in 1416 days

#11 posted 09-27-2012 03:25 AM

Just beautiful work. Great piece of furniture.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View cabmaker's profile


1399 posts in 1842 days

#12 posted 09-27-2012 03:34 AM

Nice work. I like the way that chamfer transends to the volute which is uncommen with the ball and claw but looks like it worked !JB

View MolokMot's profile


122 posts in 1361 days

#13 posted 09-27-2012 02:53 PM

Incredible table! I really like the style and hope to some day be able to make furniture of that caliber!

-- MolokMot, Rocker, Woodworker, Geek

View Philip's profile


1208 posts in 1572 days

#14 posted 10-02-2012 05:59 PM

Amazing. Life-like is what it’s all about, that and scaring little children who have watched Beauty and the Beast…

-- I never finish anyth

View CodyM's profile


48 posts in 1854 days

#15 posted 10-06-2012 02:06 AM

Wow! Incredible work, and great detailed carvings.

-- Cody - Salt Lake City, UT

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics