Carving A Chain and Ball

Carving a Chain and Ball


By L.S. Irish

Although we will be exploring chain work in reference to Welsh Love Spoons, chains appear in many styles of wood carving. Chains are one of the fun and simple tricks a carver or whittler can create in their woodworking.

The sample, right, is worked from one piece of wood and included the shackle, a four foot long chain, and a 4″ round ball (not shown).

Chains are created from a grid pattern that is established on the blank block. The size of units used within this grid determines the total measurement of each link. The number of units used in the grid determines the shape of each link.

In the sample photo the grid has been established at 3 units wide x 3 units deep x 6 units long for each link.

If each unit was equal to 1/4″ then each link in this chain would become a 3/4″ wide by 1 1/2″ long.


There are four main areas to your chain grid pattern. The links are broken down into two groups, one horizontal grouping of links and one vertical grouping of links. The open area inside the link is shown as the Tunnel area. The line between each link will be referred to as the Joint area.

Open Linked Chain Page 1: Measuring the Block
Open Linked Chain Page 2: Establishing the Central Cross
Open Linked Chain Page 3: Creating the Links

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