Tuesday, 30 September 2014

French furniture part 2 - La commode

 Otherwise translated as a chest of drawers.

A side view in situ
This piece was quite large, not sure of the age (again more knowledgable readers could suggest a originating period) and worn in several places. It had veneer in several places and really was in need of sympathetic expert restoration. Essentially it comprised a base unit with 4 wide drawers, and upper unit with a mirror and two integral small drawers.
The top was damaged probably by water and the veneer was missing in several places.
The bottom has some turned features with interesting square details ending in turned feet.

Nicely proportioned chest
of drawers with ornate
mirror unit on the top
One thing that shows the integrity of a dovetail joint was that most of the drawer fronts no longer had any glue but still the handcut dovetails were as strong as the day they were made.

French furniture part 1 - La table de chevet

I start a series of some interesting furniture I have found in my travels around France in the September of 2014.

La table de chevet

Here is a good example of a bedside table that shows the importance of trying to keep woodworm in check.

The piece is an antique of unknown age, (maybe a knowledgeable reader could supply the period of manufacture), it has wonderful pierced cabriole legs, a shaped top and a single lockable drawer in the front apron. The dovetails in the drawer were all handcut and the base was made from 3 boards of oak glued together and roughly cut to fit in grooves cut into the drawer sides and front.

On the face of it the table looks fabulous

Garden Gate Project - Part 9 - Carving letters and numerals

There is a New Yankee Workshop episode (Season 17 episode 12) where Norm Abram showed how to make carved wooden signs.

This was a really interesting show where Norm was showing how to cut letters and numerals in several ways:

  • By hand using carving tools
  • By CNC machine
  • By hand using a router.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Garden Gate Project - Part 8 - Shaping the stiles

As the top of the stiles had been left cut longer it was a simple job to mark out and cut the tops.
I was going to make a template to do this but found an ideal one in my drafting equipment. It is an acrylic protractor. It is the exact size I wanted.

First of all I marked out some base lines 40mm (just over 1.1/2") up from the top of the upper mortise. Then I marked out another line 60mm (just under 2.3/8") further on from this line. Then I simply joined the dots. I projected this around to the other face and marked that too. This is just as a visual reminder when cutting. You don't want to cut the wrong piece out at this stage!

A protractor used to mark out the curve

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Garden Gate Project - Part 7 - Tongue and Groove boards

The tongue and groove boards were made next. To do this some 6/4 oak was roughly cut to width. Then each of these boards had one face cleaned up and an adjacent face jointed at the jointer. Then, using a wider blade on the bandsaw, each board was carefully resawn. This produced two boards of roughly 18mm thick (just under 3/4"). Then each board was run through the thickness planer to finish at a hair over 15mm (just less than 5/8") thick.
Resawing some 6/4 oak

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Garden Gate Project - Part 6 - cross bracing

Cross bracing for the lower section of the gate is essentially to aid long time stability. The bracing needs to be less than 45 degrees to each stile otherwise the braces are not actually doing anything. The timbers were milled and cut to length. I chose an angle of 40 degrees and marked out each cut. Then using the tablesaw and mitre gauge the cuts were done.
Mitre gauge is set at 40 degrees

The braces are left long at the moment.

As this exposes a lot of endgrain, engrain glue joints not being very strong, each end will have a #20 biscuit slot cut into them. A corresponding set of biscuit slots will be cut into the top of the bottom rail and the underside of the mid rail. Then the lower rail could have its top face bevelled to aid rain water run-off. A straight portion was left at each position where the bevel mates to the lower rail.

After initial glue up the braces will be trimmed to their final length and glued into place with the biscuits.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Garden Gate Project - Part 5 - Mullions, lower rail and dry fit

The mortises for the mullions were cut in a previous process so fitting the mullions was a simple process. First of all the stock was milled to a hair over 18mm (around 3/4")  thick and one face jointed. Each component was cut to length and then cut to final width.
Fitting the mullions was just using the smoothing plane on all faces which removed all milling marks and produced a sliding fit.
A pile of mullions