Monday, March 14, 2016

A c.1650 Dutch cabinet on stand

Anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that I don't usually follow measured drawings. I prefer to investigate / measure a piece myself whenever possible. However, in this instance, I happened to see this piece in Lester Margon's World Furniture Treasures and sort of fell in love with it.


photo courtesy of The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
I emailed the very helpful Collections people at The Rijksmuseum (owner of the cabinet) and asked for any additional photos they have of this piece. They answered within 24 hours and set along two images of the cabinet with the doors open.


Photo courtesy of The Rijksmuseum

Photo Courtesy of The Rijksmuseum
Now, I enjoyed painting furniture but this stuff is several levels above my mediocre skill. I will likely veneer the drawer fronts or may play a little with marquetry instead of painting. Although there are a lot of crummy oils on canvas out there... perhaps I could buy a few and cut them up for the drawer fronts. Lots of decisions to be made, but luckily I have time.


On a piece like this, you always construct the case first and then build the stand to fit. I had a couple of free hours this weekend, so I planed some stock (oak for the sides, pine for the case top and bottom per the original), dovetailed them together, and cut the dadoes for the drawer runners.








The nice thing about dovetailing oak and pine is that you can leave the pine pieces (the pins in this case) quite fat and they will compress into the oak ensuring a tight fit. If you cut them on the line, the wood will compress too far and you'll end up with sloppy dovetails. In this circumstance, aiming for a good fit off the saw is important.. I achieved that here with the exception of correcting one pin that was slightly off-square due to the proximity of a knot. Five seconds with a chisel and all is well.


The case glued up square and true, and I planed it smooth (dovetails included) with my toothing plane to prepare for the veneer. I am using walnut veneer (I have a ton of it) and will be ebonizing with a chemical stain followed by Transtint black in shellac. I am aiming for a piano finish on this piece (several steps beyond where I usually end up). This piece deserves to be an absolute stunner!


Zach