Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Repairing one of the back legs.

The lefthand rear leg has an old repair. A piece is spliced into the style and was fastened with a lot of nails. This is now very wobbly.

This pictures clearly shows the utility of nails in furniture restauration. They usually cause splits and more damage then they managed to repair.

I have removed this and cleaned up the crumbling remains of the wood around. As you can see, the tenon of the rail mostly dissapeared. I really hope there is still enough for a solid connection. I will put an extra block of wood behind this for extra stability.

And this is with the new leg attached, hide glue used this time and some extra bits of wood spliced in for extra stability. Everything clamped up.

An interesting detail. The carved deccoration on the panels is not integral with the panel itself. It is a second layer, applied to the surface of the panel. The detail is, they both have their own groove in the rails and styles, so those are double grooved.

The more I see from this cabinet, the more I think it is a forgery. I think the panels are original. They are made from very nice and very wide wainscot panels. That is truelly quartersawn wood with a nice ray fleck pattern. The carvings also look genuine. But they probably used these panels to make a new cabinet somewhere late nineteenth or early twentieth century. Until now I have only found one square nail, the rest is all wire nails, which came on the market in the late 19th century. First I thought these wire nails were only in the repaired sections, but they are everywhere, So, I rest my case...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Look, what landed in my shop?

Not much space left anymore!

This is a 17th century cabinet. It's called an "Utrechtse poorters kast". Translated into English that would be something like: a portal cabinet from Utrecht. The cabinet is from my mother in law who moved into an elderly home and had to downsize of course. It took quite a bit of  strugle to get it overhere, because these old pieces were certainly not designed to be moved around a lot. Add to that the tear and wear from the centuries and it becomes a vulnerable, heavy and large obstacle!

Here is how it looked like in its previous home.

It is an oak cabinet with carvings and some ebony veneered decorations. Very typical for that period, They came in various levels of trim, adapted to the wealth of the owner. This one is rather mudane (which fits me perfectly well). Stuff like this was often copied in the nineteenth century when all the neo styles were en vogue. So I could have landed my self a copy, just as well as the real thing, I am not enough of an expert to know for sure.

It needs a few repairs to the legs, mostly redoing older repairs. I am not going to do a lot though, keeping it original as much as possible.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Planing stop in use.

Tonight I had a burst of energy and enlarged the last doghole from my bench for the planing stop.

Drilling a couple of holes with brace and bit, then chopping with my now favorite Nooitgedagt chisels. For this kind of work they are perfect, sturdy and long.

Checking often with a square, I made the fit for the block of oak very tight. Roubo wants the piece of oak to be 1 foot long, I wouldn't know why, mine happens to be a little shorter. After drilling the hole and enlargening it to a tapered fit, I smashed the stop into the top of the block. I added a bit of relief for the teeth in the workbench top so the teeth can sink below the surface when not in use.

And that's how it works. I will have to practice to find the best way to use it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A dovetail saw kit

Hurry up to Pedder's blog. He's got a dovetail saw kit with some international cooperation behind it. The screws are made by Andrea from Italy, the back and plate are mine (Holland) and the teeth are done by Pedder from Germany.

Monday, October 12, 2015

And a little bit of blacksmithing

On mondays I am usually at home, and because a lot of neighbours are at work, that is the perfect time for making noise and smoke. So I did a little blacksmithing again.

I tried to make a plane stop. This is an ancient design. In the workbench you make a large hole with a movable stop which can go up and down. In the top of that block you would have an iron hook with teeth, like I made today. (nr 5 and nr 6 in this drawing from Roubo)

This is the basic shape.

I didn't take pictures of the process, so I'll try to describe it. I take a length of 10 mm round, about 50 cm long. First I make the spike, that is a simple taper . Something that is still pretty hard for me. Making a regular taper ain't easy! Then with the taper sticking out beyond the far edge of the anvil I make half on/half off hamer strikes to define the head. The head becomes about half the thickness of the 10 mm rod. This is all with the steel still attached to the long bar, so I can hold it in my left hand, much easier then holding with tongs. I make the bend. I try to make the corner as square as possible, which also is difficult. After bending I cut it off with a hacksaw. The last step is spreading out the head with the fin of the hammer.

It is a simple object, but still took me three tries!

I finish the hook with files, and then it would look a bit like this in the workbench. I still have to make the wooden stop.

I also tried some forge welding. I was very proud about my first attempt, but on trying to pry it apart in the vise it proved to be not such a succes at all!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Antique furniture carvings

My own carvings didn't progress much. I had to work and we had a party, so now I am drained. Next weekend is equally impossible, but is going to be fun if the weather cooperates.

Anyay, I promissed some pictures of carved furniture I found while hunting around the Internet. Most of these I found on websites from antique dealers and were made in the 17th century English renaissance style. And again, it is the normal day to day stuff, nothing high brow and no intricate church art. Zoom in for more detail.

Some of it was very rough and ready. I love it!

Other stuff was way more intricate.

Or very neat, but a little dull.

Not carving but from the same time were decorative mouldings in patterns.

Or veneered. This is a Dutch example. I used the general outline of this chest as an example for my cabinet, but veneer is not (yet?) one of my skills. Especially not intricate stuff like this! I like it a lot though.

And here is the example I choose for my door. I don't have a very strict reason to choose this one It just speaks to me, and it has a rather square outline, which fitted very well with my cabinet. This is from a chest made in Devon. That's all I know about it.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

And back to wood

The playing with steel has to be postponed for a little while. I enlisted into a course which starts next month. I hope to learn a lot from a real blacksmith.

In the mean time this is a nice opportunity to continue with the medicine cabinet. I have finally found the courage to start on the carving for the door. And as usual, it isn't half as bad as I thought it would be. This is where I am right now.

The middle is still an open canvass. I want to put a flower shape in there, just like the pratice I did in the early summer.