Author Topic: repro of 1680s carved drawer front  (Read 4261 times)

Follansbee

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repro of 1680s carved drawer front
« on: November 10, 2009, 11:08:36 PM »
John Davis asked me about a chest of drawers I posted in the thread about dovetails....

"Peter, ...How did you define the pattern and recess the field in the drawer fronts...set the pattern and punch the field around it or hand route it?

Also,  is the japanning a black lacquer, enamel, or a  traditional mixture. What are the constituents? Was terpentine and asphaltum used? "


There is no template or tracing. The layout consists of a horizontal & vertical centerline and margins. The carved drawer fronts, of oak, are simply outlined with a V-tool and various gouges, then the background carved out with a very shallow gouge & mallet.  The background is then textured with a punch, about 12 or 15 teeth to it.
The finish is lampblack pigment mixed in linseed oil, turpentine and japan dryer. a little varnish over it after it's dry.


The chest of drawers is based on several examples I studied for an article in American Furniture 2001. Gavin Ashworth photographed a slew of stuff for us in that article...many details. See Robert F. Trent, Peter Follansbee and Alan Miller, “First Flowers in the
Wilderness: Mannerist Furniture from a Northern Es County, Massachusetts,
Shop” in American Furniture, edited by Luke Beckerdite, (Hanover, N.H.:
University Press of New England for the Chipstone Foundation, 2001), pp.
1-64. You can see some of the pictures on Chipstone's website; but to see them all you have to buy the issue.

I don't have good photos of that chest of drawers right here. But my blog has a ton of photos of the carving I do. The patterns change, but the techniques are pretty much the same throughout.

I see that the filters won't let us use the name of the northermost county on the Massachusetts coast. funny...
P Follansbee

 
 
 
 

albreed

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Re: repro of 1680s carved drawer front
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2009, 02:28:46 AM »
Hi Peter- In your reply to John you said that no pattern was used. I understand that the gouges themselves are used as layout tools, but do you think they used some sort of template to locate the compass points when repeating the same pattern? I've made a bunch of Pope chests and I have a board with holes in it that gives me the compass points for the circles and then I just go at it with the gouges. If they did use a guide it certainly would be long gone and not the type of thing to be recognized as a tool.
Oh, and I think the county in Mass. you're referring to is Neitherleftnorrightgender County.-Al
Allan Breed

Follansbee

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Re: repro of 1680s carved drawer front
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2009, 06:58:18 AM »
Hi Peter- In your reply to John you said that no pattern was used. I understand that the gouges themselves are used as layout tools, but do you think they used some sort of template to locate the compass points when repeating the same pattern? I've made a bunch of Pope chests and I have a board with holes in it that gives me the compass points for the circles and then I just go at it with the gouges. If they did use a guide it certainly would be long gone and not the type of thing to be recognized as a tool.
Oh, and I think the county in Mass. you're referring to is Neitherleftnorrightgender County.-Al

Al

Your scenario is feasible of course…but I so commonly see centerlines scribed on the surface that I have adopted that technique – i.e. laying each version of a given carving out from scratch.

The Pope cabinet you mention only shows the pricked center points for the compass work, but each side of that cabinet that has the carvings is a different width. I don’t have my notes in front of me, but I wonder if the margins are adjusted & the carvings the same size, or are the carvings fitted to the spaces…I forget what I did when I was making them. I bet I fit the carvings to the spaces, out of habit.

Ahh, I’d pay money to know what these dead guys were thinking…

PF

albreed

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Re: repro of 1680s carved drawer front
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2009, 09:01:54 PM »
Peter- They changed the margins on the sides and kept the carving pattern the same. It seems that they went out of their way to simplify the work process whenever possible, that's why I'm thinking they located the center points in some  way that could be repeated easily. It would be a heck of a revelation to stand in one of those shops for a day...I think we'd all be surprised at how fast they worked-Al
Allan Breed

Follansbee

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Re: repro of 1680s carved drawer front
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2009, 06:44:33 AM »
Peter- They changed the margins on the sides and kept the carving pattern the same. It seems that they went out of their way to simplify the work process whenever possible, that's why I'm thinking they located the center points in some  way that could be repeated easily. It would be a heck of a revelation to stand in one of those shops for a day...I think we'd all be surprised at how fast they worked-Al

Al: that rings a bell, re: the layout of the carvings & margins. The real test would be to measure the carvings on the cabinet at the MET and the one at Winterthur that uses the same pattern. Then we could see if you're right on the money...I never took these measurements of the other cabinets, just the one we were copying. Ah, once again, the things we miss when we're taking notes...

albreed

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Re: repro of 1680s carved drawer front
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2009, 09:04:30 PM »
Peter- That's a good idea. I have tracings from the Pope cabinet if you want to compare notes-Al
Allan Breed