I have an old solid wood IKEA kitchen table and chairs that are pretty plain looking, so I decided to spruce it up a bit.
In this instructable you can use whatever pattern you like, the point of the tutorial is to show how I did simple relief carving to get the effect.
You will notice that the contrast in colour in the wood makes the pattern stand out. The reason it looks this way is because the table is stained already, and when I remove the wood the stain is also removed showing the original wood colour.
Carbon Paper or Graphite Paper
Wood Carving Knife or Exacto or Stanley Knife
Pencil or Pen
Steel Rule (I use this to get a straight edge on the top and bottom of the pattern)
Leather Strop (using a strop makes sure your tools are really sharp, makes carving easier)
Floor Cushion (I sat on the floor to do a lot of this, so a cushion is a great idea)
Step 1: Trace the Pattern on Wood
Once you have found a pattern and printed it out to the size you need, put some tape on the pattern and affix to the surface of what you are going to carve.
Then slide the carbon paper under the pattern, then use a pen or pencil to trace over the patterns lines so the carbon paper leaves an outline on the wood.
Step 2: Make Stop Cuts
After tracing the pattern onto the wood, use your knife and trace over the lines. These lines are incisions in the wood and they are called 'stop cuts'
They are called that because when you start carving, the chisel stops at the cuts when you are removing wood.
Step 3: Carve the Wood
Using your chisel, angle it slightly in the direction of the stop cut and gently press the chisel in the direction you want to go. Make sure you have total control of the tool to protect your hands and also the wood.
A tip is to make sure your hands are always behind the chisel edge, that way if you slip, you won't cut your hands.
Once you have removed the wood to form your pattern, you can then cut out chips of the over and unders of the Celtic knot cords - I have a video on this step that shows how I do that.
Step 4: Finished
Here are some photos of the table legs completed. I am not sure if I will continue with carving or not at this stage, but whatever I might decide to add, the technique of the relief carving is the same.
Step 5: Bonus Steps
I made 2 additonal videos after posting the instructable that I have now posted in this step.
These last 2 videos show how I use a V Gouge or V Tool chisel to engrave the wood.