need design transfer advice...

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Forum topic by David Coburn posted 10-08-2013 11:21 PM 2103 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Coburn

19 posts in 2716 days

10-08-2013 11:21 PM


I’m about to do an oval library table from African Mahogany and it has some carving involved. There is a turned newell center post and 4 wing shaped carved pedestals. The pedestals are 25” tall, 3” wide, and 10” deep. How would you guys generate a drawing of this size that you could get reproduced and then use carbon paper underneath (or something similar) to get the image onto the wood?

If you would approach this in a completely different manner please describe what you would do instead. I posted this question on another website but got no response so I’m hoping I have a little better luck here.


I’m including a concept pic of the table. Total size is 42” width (top), 24” depth (top), & 30” tall.

-- david

17 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3075 posts in 2283 days

#1 posted 10-09-2013 01:17 AM

Make the drawings to scale, then take them to Kinko’s or similar and have them blow up the images to full size. Please post pix of the finished product; it looks like it will be outstanding.

Another option that may not appeal to you is to find someone with a CNC that will do the carving for you. FWIW

-- Art

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David Coburn

19 posts in 2716 days

#2 posted 10-09-2013 10:11 AM

Thanks Art…

I did not know that Kinko’s had this ability… Sounds like a really great idea. I’ll keep you posted as I make a progress.

thanks again,

-- david

View SteviePete's profile


226 posts in 3329 days

#3 posted 10-14-2013 12:36 AM

I’d do a full size mock up. Check the proportions for the uses intended. Finally, adjust the proportions—five supports sized as you say seems to fill up where by plump legs should go. When you do start work – try using a band saw to take scrap from the wings. Good Luck. On Wisconsin!

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#4 posted 10-14-2013 01:34 AM

You could make copies and tape them to the work. Then poke holes
along all the lines with an ice pick or a serated tracing wheel. You
can use dressmaker’s tracing paper too with the wheel too.
Sometimes a magic marker will go through thin paper enough
to mark the material underneath.

You could make one pattern and glue it to a piece of hardboard
cut to shape and drill holes every 1/2” or whatever on the
lines you then stick your ice pick through to mark the

View David Coburn's profile

David Coburn

19 posts in 2716 days

#5 posted 10-18-2013 10:22 AM

Lots of great ideas… thank you all..

-- david

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2274 days

#6 posted 10-18-2013 01:05 PM

Pattern transfer tool.

If you have the image printed full size on a laser printer (has to be a laser printer) you can transfer the pattern with one of these.


View helluvawreck's profile


31393 posts in 2892 days

#7 posted 10-18-2013 03:28 PM

Staples can also make the prints any size you want. I have used the pattern transfer tool and they work real good but on drawings this size they wood take some time.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View rum's profile


148 posts in 2611 days

#8 posted 10-18-2013 04:56 PM

+1 to full size

You can use a low tack spray adhesive to just stick the pattern on and carve through the paper (I’ve used 3M general purpose 45 spray adhesive for this pretty happily (light mist on both pieces, dry to touch and apply like you were using contact cement). In this case I also keep a copy of the pattern on the side.

I’ve also used a leather pattern transfer tool (which is similar to that used for fabric) and is basically a rotary wheel with poky bits that you run along the lines and it makes small dibbles in the wood. This works ok for softer woods and allows re-use of the pattern :D

Haven’t tried the heat transfer idea, looks interesting to try. I see there are some tools that are both a burn tool and a transfer tool in one.. a woodburning tool has been on my list for a while.

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3421 days

#9 posted 12-07-2013 01:26 PM

Laser prints are formed by adhesion of a wax based colorant to the paper. if the print is flopped, mirror image, the image can then be transferred to the wood with an ordinary clothes iron. The heat melts the wax and it is taken up by the wood.
Even color laser images can be thus transferred and used as a maker’s mark, covered with a clear finish.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View Todd210's profile


1 post in 1657 days

#10 posted 12-07-2013 01:59 PM

The image transfer tool works well, especially if you are able to adjust the fuser temperature to a lower setting. Lower temperature allows for a better transfer since it’s not as “melted” to the paper.

For re-sizing, rasterbator is a free online app that works excellent.

View Planeman40's profile


1179 posts in 2786 days

#11 posted 12-08-2013 04:40 PM

Image scaling and transfer to wood is a common problem for us model builders. We have found that you can make the drawing any size then enlarge/reduce by scanning it in to your computer and using a drawing program to scale it. then put the computer file on to a disc or memory stick and take it to an output source below.

Kinkos and Staples, etc. can often enlarge or reduce and do a paper output, but their skills are limited, their prices high, and the office supply places like Staples and Office Depot have poorly trained operators and often can’t do these kind of things properly. I have found blueprint supply services to be the best in ability, equipment, and price. Also be aware that the standard large format printer size is 36” wide by any length. There are larger printers available, but they are rare. These are usually found at a few blueprint services so you will have to call around.

Once you have your paper output, we modellers usually use an office supply “glue stick” to glue down the smaller paper patterns to the wood. On larger patterns we use a removable spray adhesive (Lowe’s, Home Depot) to glue the pattern to the wood. Alcohol usually works to un-glue the pattern.

Once the pattern is glued to the wood, just cut through the paper pattern and the wood with your bandsaw of scroll saw. Remove the pattern afterwards with alcohol as noted above.

If you want to transfer the pattern lines to the wood and not glue the pattern down, use some carbon paper (a little hard to find these days, but try the office supply places or craft stores) taped to the back of your pattern to trace the lines onto your wood.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View David Coburn's profile

David Coburn

19 posts in 2716 days

#12 posted 12-08-2013 05:10 PM

Well…. Thanks for all the replies. I just went ahead and did it the hard way. I drew a 1” square grid on my schematic and printed it out. I also drew a 1” grid onto all the wood pieces that would eventually be carved. I then just did it by eye… Here’s a picture of the legs with the grids prior to any carving… I also have the newell turned but it isn’t in the picture. I’m also including two pictures of the leg I’ve been working on so far.

You can see the grids in this picture… also, you can see how everything will ultimately go together..

Here are my first efforts at carving one of the legs…



-- david

View NDGraham's profile


23 posts in 2674 days

#13 posted 12-10-2013 02:42 PM

First, let me congratulate you on the concept and on your progress. This table is truly unique and inspiring. What respect I have for the woodcarving furniture makers of old who set the standards for us with far less equipment than we have today.
For any bas relief carving I’ve done in the past, I made the desired sized drawing on the wood using the grid method you used.
But now that I’ve got an Epson R1900 printer for my photography, I can print up to 13” x 48” banners and tape them together to make up to a 52×48 “square” to tape to the wood to be traced onto the surface. I did this once while waiting for my basswood planks to dry after clamping them together to get my overall surface.
I would be very interested in seeing your finished table.
Best wishes for the holidays.

-- Neill

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David Coburn

19 posts in 2716 days

#14 posted 12-10-2013 05:33 PM


Thank you for the kind words, I like your carving as well. Mine is pretty simple in comparison. I’ll be sure to post some pictures as I continue to bring it together. I’m still trying to decide what to do in regard to “how much sanding should I do?”...

thanks again,

-- david

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David Coburn

19 posts in 2716 days

#15 posted 05-14-2014 05:18 PM

Delivered the table this past Saturday and it was well received.

My design, I turned the center post, first attempt at carving, finish is General Gel Stain (Java) with Satin Urethane topcoat. It’s smaller than the pictures make it seem… 42” long x 24” across the top x 30” tall. I think it turned out reasonably well.


-- david

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