Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

 

Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.

Search

The Furniture Record

Subscribe to The Furniture Record feed The Furniture Record
Capturing Furniture in the Wild
Updated: 8 min 32 sec ago

Antoni Gaudí – Day One of Many: The Furniture

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 10:37pm

It is impossible to spend any significant time in Barcelona without feeling the influence of Antoni Gaudí. Being easily influence, I couldn’t get enough of his work and am truly fascinated by him and his works.

For those not so influenced (or aware), I offer the following paragraph copied and pasted from a Wikipedia article:

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet; (25 June 1852 – 10 June 1926) was a Spanish Catalan architect from Reus and the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s works reflect an individualized and distinctive style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família.

Between 1984 and 2005, seven of his works were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

As an introduction to Mr. Gaudí, we will explore some of his furniture then. In time, several of his buildingswill be explored.

Much of this furniture was designed for specific buildings. It is firmly in the Art Nouveau style with its organic fluid lines with direct references to nature.

DSC_3814

The Casa Calvet Flower Bench – 1901

DSC_4166

The Casa Calvet Corner Stool – 1901

DSC_3809

The Casa Calvet Flower Chair – 1901

DSC_3812

The Casa Calvet Arm Chair-1901

DSC_3808

The Casa Batlló Chair – 1907

DSC_3806

The Casa Batlló Double Bench – 1907

Reproductions of these and other Gaudi pieces are still available.

I am not sure if the following furniture is designed by Gaudi but it does exist within Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera. This was the last civil work designed by Antoni Gaudí and was built from 1906 to 1912.

The furniture may not be Gaudi but it is era and style appropriate and in Barcelona.

DSC_3836

The dining room.

DSC_3828

The dining table.

DSC_4178

And the dining chair.

DSC_3827

The bar.

DSC_3826

The server.

DSC_3822

The office.

DSC_3823

More from the office. Boat not included.

DSC_3829

The bedroom.

DSC_3831

The headboard.

DSC_3830

The footboard.

DSC_3831

The headboard.

Shortly, we will examine some  of Gaudi’s s iconic buildings.


Mistakes Were Made…

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 10:44pm

There is a fairly common type furniture, many variations with the word setback almost always being in the name. Usually made in two pieces, stacked with the upper section being shallower than the lower. They often look as if they could exist as two pieces of furniture. The base of the upper section is the same as or reflects the base of the lower section as in the following examples:

IMG_8307

China on server?

IMG_2164

Just a setback cupboard.

IMG_7343

The same only primitive.

I ran across this piece in a Raleigh antique/consignment shop. I believe mistakes were made in stacking:

IMG_5028

Just don’t look right…

(Although this style is fairly common, I still had to go through 8,000 picture to come up with these the three exemplars. I really need to get an intern.)


Auction of Exploration, Auction of Discovery.

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 10:36pm

I go to all these auctions so you don’t have to. As our fearless leader says, “Believe me”. It’s not always enjoyable but it is necessary. I do what must be done.

Take an auction from the fourth quarter of 2016. The weather was miserable and I didn’t want to go. But I knew I must. And how was I rewarded? I walked in and this is the first thing I saw:

IMG_3767

I thought things like this were always converted into lamps.

An end view provides you with important construction details should you want to make one of your own:

IMG_3768

It looks just as good from this perspective.

I did see one of the nicest gout stools I’ve seen in a while:

IMG_3770

Enough to make you want to go out and eat high purine meats and drink excessive amounts of alcohol

I will be saving the examination of this book for a time in the future whenI will compare it to the original 1917 volume as to form and content:

IMG_3781

There just isn’t enough written on the romance of cookery and housekeeping.

 


Table Games

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 10:51pm

The genesis of this blog was a visit to Atlanta in February of 2012. I attended the Cathedral Antiques Show, which I think is the finest antiques show I have ever attended. Nothing but the best with prices and hors d’oeuvres to match.

A dealer there had a game table I had read about but never seen. It has a mechanism for table support that is unique. It was a gorgeous table with a high level of appropriate decoration. The dealer was anxious to show me the table and explain in great detail the history and construction of the table. It was amazing.

Only problem was that the show had a rather strict “no photography” policy. The dealer was sympathetic but was more concerned about his status as a dealer than my blog. That I wasn’t writing yet.

I finally found another table of this design at an auction a few weeks back. I can finally share this different table with you, my loyal reader.

But first, a prime on game table technology. The game table or card table for the purposes of this blog refers to a relatively small table with a folded top that opens to reveal a flat surface that is meant for playing cards or other games. There are many forms and variations of this table including:

The one-legged table:

IMG_4154

The tabletop is mounted with a pivot off-center. To open the table, one rotates the top 90° and unfolds the top. There is usually a storage compartment beneath the top.

I have not seen a two-legged table. It could be that there is a trestle table with a folding top, but I’ve not seen it.

A three-legged table might be possible but, again, I’ve not seen one.

What comes close is actually a four-legged table:

IMG_1233

There is a fourth leg but not where you expect.

In this implementation, the fourth leg pulls straight out of the rear apron to support the top.

IMG_1231

A straight pull back, no hinges required.

A variation of this table:

IMG_1512

has a drawer to support the fourth leg and the tabletop.

Then we advance to the four-legged table. This variation has a hinged or gate leg that swings out to support the top:

IMG_5468 - Version 2

One leg swings back to make magic.

This table needs two legs to make it happen:

IMG_4159

All legs in.

IMG_4157

Both legs are hinged and swing out to support the top.

(I was looking for through my library for a picture of this type table without luck. Then I went over to an auction Wednesday to preview on online auction and found this one being readied for the next auction.)

Let’s not forget the five-legged table:

IMG_5485

Really a four-legged table with a plus one. I assume the fifth is hinged and swings back and catches the top. The museum wouldn’t let me play.

This is an example of the table for which I have been searching for these five long years:

English Queen Anne Card Table

DSC_5977

This lot has sold for $400.

Description:   Mid 18th century, mahogany, mahogany veneer, shaped top with molded edge, opening to reveal felt lined interior, skirt with herringbone line inlay, cabriole legs featuring acanthus carved knee, raised on pad feet.

The side view led me to believe that I had found it:

DSC_5953

An odd little gap at the back was a clue.

Using my spiffy camera with live view and rotating/swinging back I was able to shoot up and see what lay beneath:

DSC_5954

There be folded parts.

There was a mechanism that unfolds and allows the back apron to fall back well over 18″ to support the top:

DSC_5972

The apron unfolds to support the unfolded top.

DSC_5970

(Almost) Fully deployed.

DSC_5975

The view from below shows some structural details.

This view shows the board that slides in the groove to lock the back legs into place.

DSC_5976

The horizontal board is pulled through the groove to lock the legs in place.

This blog has been five years in the making. Was it worth it? We’ll know when awards season arrives.


Holier Than Thou (or Me)

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:24pm

The two better local auction houses each had an 18th century Bible box in the same week’s auctions. As best I can recollect, neither has had a Bible box before. Both of them having one in the same week is really unusual.

The first one up is this:

Eighteenth Century English Bible Box Desk

DSC_5958

This lot has sold for $230.

Description: Mid 18th Century; 10.75 inches height, 23.5 inches width, 16 inches depth; made of old English oak, has fully carved front panel of interlocking scrolls, interior has two upper fitted drawers, has original hand forged butterfly hinges, and locking clasp, constructed with hand forged rose head nails, overall condition is outstanding and original.

This one could be used as a writing desk. The lid is plain and it has a pencil ledge.

And the other auction house had:

English Relief Carved Bible Box

DSC_5963

This lot has sold for $550.

Description:   Mid-18th century, oak, top and hinged lid with chip carved edge, wrought iron hinges, the lid is relief carved and dated 1740, open interior with three upper horizontal divisions, front with relief carved stylized dragons.

This one has a carved lid:

DSC_5983

Must have been made in 1740 unless it’s a stock number.

Not useful as a writing desk unless you just plan on writing Post-Its.

The first one has two drawers in the gallery:

DSC_5730

Two drawers but no tills.

Oddly, the drawers are not dovetailed:

DSC_5729

You don’t need dovetails when you have nails.

 

The second box has a divided gallery:

DSC_5965

Shallower but is it too shallow for drawers?

 

The first one has a single board back with some interesting bead details:

DSC_5960

No fancy joinery, just nailed.

The second has a single board back without decoration:

DSC_5966

Nothing to see here but a crack. Also nailed.

 

Front edge has decoration on the first:

DSC_5961

Tastefully scalloped.

Plain edges on the second:

DSC_5967

Here, the lid is scalloped. Base molding is a nice touch…

One of them followed me home.

Actually, I had to go back and get it.


Morris? Morris Who? (Take 2)

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 10:07pm

From Wikipedia:

A Morris chair is an early type of reclining chair. The design was adapted by William Morris’s firm, Morris & Company, from a prototype owned by Ephraim Colman in rural Sussex, England. It was first marketed around 1866.

Morris chairs feature a seat with a reclining back and moderately high armrests, which give the chair an old-style appearance. The characteristic feature of a Morris chair is a hinged back, set between two un-upholstered arms.

Morris chair is a fairly flexible term. If you add the word Style, it becomes positively elastic.

Below are two from a recent auction. The first is considered a traditional Morris chair:

Morris Style Reclining Arm Chair

DSC_5577

This lot has sold for $160.

Description:  Circa 1900, mahogany and pine, transitional mission style frame, later paisley upholstered cushions.

For some reason the auctioneer listed this under Furniture – English and Continental.

It has a robust back adjust mechanism:

DSC_5578

Cut by hand of machine?

 

The other is more of the “Mission” or the “Craftsman” Morris chair. This one is listed under Furniture – American:

Morris Style Reclining Arm Chair

DSC_5579

This lot has sold for $80.

Description:  Circa 1900, later blue upholstery, oak frame, adjustable back with iron support bar, raised on shaped feet.

This back adjustment seems a bit less robust:

DSC_5580

Reminds me of a café curtain rod.

 

The content of this blog feels a bit light. I am obligated to add a few more chairs from the same auction. Third up is this chair just ready for you and your designer to make your own:

Queen Anne Wing Back Chair Frame

DSC_5549

This lot has sold for $310.

Description:   18th century frame, oak and other hardwoods, with later front cabriole legs.

One way to get rid of all the vermin in your horsehair stuffing.

DSC_5556

This is not a new frame…

DSC_5557

They haven’t quite found the right look yet,

DSC_5559

but as long as there is wood left, they’ll keep trying.

DSC_5558

This patch/support is actually a wood insert. It would be hard to nail into metal.

 

And one last chair to round things out. Or, in this case, a pair of chairs:

Pair of Transitional Carved Arm Chairs

DSC_5660

This lot has sold for $400.

Description:  Early 20th century, mahogany, floral needlepoint over upholstery, bowed arms terminating in eagle head, legs with acanthus carved knee and ball and claw foot.

One of a pair, the other looks just like it.

What really amused me about these chairs are the carved arms:

DSC_5661

The auctioneer claims they are eagles.

DSC_5662

Who am I to argue?


Speechless

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 9:28pm

img_4072

When he sees this, Roy’s heart breaks just a little…


George, Anne and an Impostor.

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 10:33pm

Yet more interesting(?) things from a recent auction.

There were three very different low boys at the auction a few weeks back. It is unusual to have that many low boys at one auction. They are as follows:

George II Inlaid Low Boy

dsc_5522

This lot has sold for $260.

Description:  18th century, oak, pine secondary, top with banded veneer bordered edge, single long drawer above three side by side short drawers, shaped skirt, on cabriole legs with ball and claw feet.

Size:  29 x 31.5 x 18.5 in.

English Queen Anne Low Boy

dsc_5539

This lot has sold for $280.

Description:   18th century, oak and elm, pine secondary, upper long drawer above three side by side short drawers, boldly scrolled skirt, cabriole legs with pad feet.

Size:  28.75 x 30 x 19.5 in.

Henry Ford Museum Reproduction Low Boy
The Impostor

dsc_5634

This lot has sold for $260.

Description:   Colonial Manufacturing Co., with label and tag to interior of drawer, “Number 326 Mahogany Savery Low Boy”, upper long drawer above three side by side drawers, central with shell carving, fluted canted quarter columns, on cabriole legs with shell carved knee on ball and claw feet.

Size:  30 x 36 x 20.5 in.

I will mostly ignore the impostor for this blog. It has machine cut dovetails, believe it or not. The only interesting thing about it is the carved shell on the center drawer:

dsc_5635

Not necessarily entirely hand-carved.

We will now compare parts of the two remaining low boys starting with the aprons and some drawer area details:

dsc_5547

George II

dsc_5548

Queen Anne

Some carcass detail:

dsc_5525

More George with his banding.

dsc_5542

More Queen Anne with beaded drawers.

All low boys have legs:

dsc_5544

Queen Anne has a cabriole leg with a pad foot.

dsc_5654

The leg terminates with a tenon into the carcass.

dsc_5636

George favors the ball and claw foot.

The cabriole leg continues up:

dsc_5655

and becomes an integral part of the frame and panel construction.

dsc_5520

George II has proper dovetailed drawers. Nails optional.

dsc_5540

The Queen has only nails and no tails.

And edge treatments:

dsc_5656

George has a profiled top with banding.

dsc_5658

The Queen has a two tiered top with applied molding.

There was actually a fourth low boy at the auction:

Edwardian Inlaid Low Boy

dsc_5445

This lot has sold for $500

Description:  In the Queen Anne taste, circa 1900, mahogany, mahogany veneer, rectangular top with herringbone and sawtooth inlays, upper long drawer above a central hinged cabinet door flanked by two small drawers, shaped skirt, tall tapered legs with pad feet.

Size:  33 x 36 x 23 in.

And a fifth one at this weeks auction:

dsc_5778

This item to be sold on 3/4/2017.

Description:  Circa 1760, white pine secondary, top with molded edge, upper long lipped drawer above three side by side lipped drawers, shaped skirt with drop finials, raised on tall cabriole legs with pad feet.

Size:  32 x 35 x 21.5 in.

I will cover these later.


Split Personality

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 9:02am

It just doesn’t really matter.

At the recent auction I saw and was mildly amused by this:

Primitive New England Hanging Cupboard

dsc_5623

This lot has sold for $260.

Description: Late 19th century, white pine, distressed green painted surface, hinged paneled doors with shelved interior, over two drawers.

Not really that interesting a piece. Out of force of habit, I looked at the drawer construction and it became more interesting. But only slightly:

dsc_5627

A drawer with a split personality.

The front dovetails are the then trendy thin pins. Looks to be around 1:6 or 9°. Or so. Fairly consistent leading me to think they were highly skilled or used some form of gauge.

The rear dovetails are fewer and coarser with the fairly extreme 1:2.4 or 30°. Darn near vulture tails in miniature.

Makes one wonder. Front dovetails as a means to show the skill of the maker and the rear pins more utilitarian? Putting the effort where it can be seen by prospective customers. Front pins made by the more skilled and rear pins by the lesser skilled, a division of labor?

It is fairly common for the drawer bottom to extend out the back of the drawer to become the back drawer stop.

I liked the turned knob and molding:

dsc_5628

Nice touches on a simple cabinet.

Dovetail angles. It doesn’t really matter, does it? Still, one can cogitate…

 

 

 


They Should Have Know Better…

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 5:45am

Today’s parable of the movement of wood concerns this George III Linen Press:

dsc_5509

This lot has sold for $380. Furniture is soft right now.

Description:  Circa 1800, two-part form, high-grade burlwood mahogany veneers, mahogany, pine secondary, applied arched cornice with ebonized line inlay above a vertically veneered frieze, upper cabinet with two hinged doors, center with an applied reeded brass mount, each door featuring a rectangular panel with an inset square to each corner, interior with four pull-out linen drawers, base with two over two graduated cockbeaded drawers, raised on French bracket feet with a shaped skirt. (Thus sayeth the auction house.)

The maker of this press made an interesting choice when they made the doors. A large, wide board would have been a bad idea. The wide board would move and be highly unlikely to stay flat. A four-panel board would have been a common construction for a press in that era. Or any era. What is unusual is that they veneered over a four-panel door. A bad idea:

dsc_5506

Just asking for trouble. And they got it.

dsc_5507

They veneered the inside as well. Also a bad idea.

If you have ever read about, seen a video about or (God forbid) actually made a panelled door, you know that if you are using real wood for the panel, you don’t glue the panel to the frame. With our 20th/21st century sensibilities we know that the panels will move, expand across the width of the board. If glued, the frame may crack or glue joints may fail.

I have to believe that a 19th century cabinetmaker would have known about wood movement and the perils therein. Yet they choose to glue veneer to a panel that is guaranteed to (and did) move. With the expected results. To their credit, they did a really good job gluing the veneer down. No glue failures here. And the doors still exist in one plane, no warps. Impossible to say how long the veneer held it together.

Now, on to the drawers. I do like the pulls. They seem to be original:

dsc_5511

An original pull? How unique.

The dovetails again are unique:

dsc_5510

The nails don’t look original.

They seem to have left a pin off. Then again, symmetry is so overrated.

 


Curves I Have Known.

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 8:38pm

I know I said I would be finishing with the Barcelona Design Museum but there is just so much to process that I need to take a break from it until I figure out how to properly report on it. That and I am in week three of a cold I brought back from the Philippines. Oh, yeah, I was in the Philippines for about a week. I got per diem so it must have been for work. That’s the difference between a business trip and a vacation. If you get per diem, it’s a business trip. If you choose where you’re going, it’s a vacation. Something to be said for both.

Fortunately, the local better auction house has provided me with topics so plentiful that I should be able to enlighten and amuse you for quite a while. Eh?

First up is this American Hepplewhite Sideboard:

dsc_5613

This lot has sold for $420

Description:  Early 19th century, probably Mid Atlantic, mahogany, mahogany veneers, white pine and poplar secondary, concave central section with single drawer above two small cabinet doors, flanked by rounded corners, with cabinet doors, raised on square tapered legs. Size   38.5 x 64 x 23.5 in. (From the auction house.)

The curves were what caught my attention. There are many ways to bend or curve wood. We learned from a recent plantation visit that you can bend certain species by soaking them in a river for one year per inch of thickness to make the wood pliable. If you don’t have a convenient river, you can use steam for a more practical one hour per inch.

Then there is bent lamination in which thin layers of wood are glued and placed in a form of the desired shape. (Think freeform plywood.)

If you want to know about kerf bending, you can look it up.

If you can’t bend, you can always make it look bent or curved. There is the brute force method requiring a block of wood that is large enough to contain the curved part and cutting away the parts that fall outside the curves. This method leaves a lot of wood on the shop floor assuming, you can locate a block of wood that is large enough to contain the part. Then you need a saw (hand or powered) that is large enough to accommodate the blank.

A common variation is stacked lamination in which you do as above but one inch in height at a time. Start with a one-inch block of wood: work it to the desired contour. Glue another block atop it and contour to match. If you are into power tools, typically it’s a pattern router bit with bearing or a flush trim bit with bearing. And a router.

Repeat until you reach the desired height.

dsc_5615

That’s what they did here, a stacked lamination.

The downside of this technique is that, unless you like the striped look, you need to veneer it. Not a problem if veneering is where you are going. I can see some modern studio furniture using this technique unadorned.

dsc_5614

A wider view giving you more construction details.

dsc_5618

How to curve the carcass.

Breadboard ends on the curved door provide stability and hide the end grain:

dsc_5621

Breadboard ends and a thick veneer.

 The center doors are also stacked laminations, just in the opposite direction. The interesting feature is how the gap between the doors is handled. Typically when doors meet, there is some device to minimize the gap between the doors, a rabbet, a molding or one door overlapping the other. On this server they used beveled edge. The doors do not meet with a 90° butt joint, they are angled:

dsc_5611

Beveled edged minimize the appearance of the door gap caused by seasonal movement or other causes.

I’ve seen this in other case pieces but this is the first time I’ve seen it used on curved doors.

No blog of mine can be considered complete without an examination of drawer construction. The veneer hides the truth but I believe the drawer front was cut from a thick block of wood:

dsc_5608

The top veneer hides the construction of the drawer front.

The thickness of the drawer front does provide for some really interesting through dovetails:

dsc_5607

My favorite dovetails of 2017. So far…

As we saw in recent blog, the thick veneer allows the maker to use through dovetails instead of the fussy, annoying half-blind dovetails.


Llits d’Olot (Beds of Olot)

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 10:11pm

Olot is the capital city of the comarca of Garrotxa, in the Province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain on the European continent of the third planet of a star located at Sector 001. Approximately.

This blog is about the beds of Olot or more accurately, the headboards of the beds of Olot created in the late 18th century. Reading badly translated articles, by 1787, there were six workshops specializing in making headboards, making 300 to 500 per year. There was no master bedmaker but rather a collaboration between carpenters, carvers and painter/gilders.  The articles also claim that some of these headboards were even shipped to the Americas in spite of their bulk and delicate nature.

From the wall in the exhibit:

dsc_3952

I couldn’t have said it better myself. And it saved me a bunch of copying and typing.

The beds/headboards speak for themselves so I offer them without comment.

dsc_3951

dsc_3950

dsc_3949

This headboard seems to be a variation of the one below.

dsc_3948

Or this one is a variation of the one above.

dsc_3947

dsc_3946


Pages