CB Kearney

CB Kearney

Architectural Wood Carvings

Sterling Library

Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library

Yale University recently remodeled their iconic Tudor Gothic cathedral to higher learning, the Sterling Memorial Library. As part of the remodel, Yale wanted to recreate the library’s Nave and in the process reconfigure the desk that currently stands as impedance to students accessing the library’s extensive collections.


Entrance to the Nave


Original Desk With Panels

Original desk with panels

Their architect’s, Halpern Architects, planned on restoring, repairing, reusing and, in some cases, recreating some of the Nave’s gorgeous woodcarvings for the remodel.

Architect's Planjpg

Architect’s Plan



Entrance to the Nave

It was for this last part, recreating, that I was contacted by CW Keller. They wanted me to recreate carved panels and finials that would be added to an expanded reception desk.

Panel After Duplicator

Panel after duplicator

So I sharpened up my carving tools and set to work carving seven identical panels and multiple copies of three different finials. Here are some photos of the nearly completed panels right before the final clean up of the carvings

Close Up Of Left

Close-up left

Close Up Middle

Close-up Middle

Close Up Right

Close-up Right

As usual these types of jobs are on a tight timetable, so the work started with a duplicator to get the majority of the waste material out of the way. These panels are quarter-sawn white oak, which is an extremely hard and brittle material and can be challenging to carve.


The trouble with most commercial duplicators is they cannot reproduce the fine details of period carvings. So after the duplicator removed much of the waste, I set to the painstaking work of creating identical copies of the panels and finials.

Close Up Of Panel Progress

Close up of panels in progress

Three Completed Panels

Three Completed Panels

Look for picture of the completed work soon.