Duplicating A Gadroon Molding

More complex than egg and dart (because of the asymettrical tadpole detail), a gadroon pattern is probably best carved by hand. March 12, 2006

This is a mahogany import. I need to build a piece of furniture with a similar crust to match others. Has anyone ever carved anything like this? I would prefer the router approach. Any ideas would be appreciated.

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Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor F:
I see mouldings like that on websites all the time. My take is you must either buy it or hand carve it. You might be able to jig up a router to rough some of it out before you finish the job by hand. I don't think anyone can tell you how to jig it up on a forum thread. If you have any carving books, you may find a procedure with photos on how to carve by hand a similar moulding.

From contributor L:
If this is a straight molding it would be easy to do with my router duplicator. If it is curved, it might be a bit harder to set up, but I think it would still be doable. Making the duplicator cost me $900.00.

From contributor R:
I donít believe you can do any better than to hand carve this pattern. You may be able to make a pattern jig to help carve a nice aligned sequence, but as far as hand routing it, I donít think so, or if so, it would be as tedious as just going by hand. If you can find a CNC owner who specializes in wood signage, he may help you. They have some pretty nifty software that may be able to draw this type of thing. Even a small, specialty woodworking CNC shop may give you a hand - even a ShopBot can do this. My opinion - hand carve it or get a reputable wood carver to do it for you.

From contributor E:
That's called Egg and Dart. You are going to have to hand carve it.

From contributor P:
A carving duplicator will work if you have one or can carve a master pattern. I would opt to carve it by hand. It's lots of work. The detail you show is not egg and dart. It is actually called "gardooning," due to the asymmetrical tadpole detail. They are usually carved out from the center of the moulding, one pattern to the left, and the opposite to the right with a small center carved detail.

From contributor E:
The word is "gadroon." Although this is not what one would consider a traditional egg and dart (probably because of the complexity needed), I don't believe it's gadroon. We will just have to agree to disagree.

From contributor T:
That's gadrooning if I ever saw it. And yes, it does start in the middle and goes left and right. Carve it by hand. If you have a lot to do, have a good carver do a section and run it on a duplicator.

From contributor P:
My spelling is most likely in error. But if my lagging memory serves me, I believe I recall several spellings. But, to the task at hand; we agree that it is not egg and dart. I have carved this detail once and did not enjoy it. It takes many more tools and cuts to pull off than a typical egg and dart. I imagine there is someone out there willing to carve this, or has it in stock.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for your responses. On which website can I buy this as a molding? Most of the furniture pieces I had seen are carved around one piece top, but I'm willing to go for a molding, if there are any.

From contributor P:
You can buy pre-carved molding from Hafele. Their egg and dart is quite crisp and clean - it is part no. 194.79.134 (maple). You can also get moldings from Klise Manufacturing. For what it's worth, it looks more like gadrooning than egg and dart to me. Don't overestimate the time required to do these by hand, particularly in mahogany. Most of the traditional patterns can be done with a series of basic cuts. After all, they had to do miles of them without power tools. I don't think that setting up your own router would be any faster. Good luck!

From contributor J:
You could also check Enkebol or Pearl Works. Enkebol makes these from several species and also a flexible version. Pearl is resin style. Enkebol is very high quality.

From contributor M:
I had a 19th century table come in a few years ago to be restored and have extra leafs made for it. I carved them by hand. Now that was a son-of-a-gun to do. (Never did that style before.) Anyway, there was a total of 12 LF to be done and it took me from layout to carving to sanding, 3 days. Slow and steady won this race. Just make sure your tools are sharp all the time. (I hit the wheel twice, sometimes three times for 2 1/2 days.)

From contributor D:
Try making a mold of it from the original. Just be careful not to pull up the finish. Abatron wood epoxy and mold making products are one of the best to use. It works great, too.

From contributor S:
Just try practicing with a good V tool and the right size gouge. Once you get the system down it will go fast!