Welcome to my blog which follows my furniture restoration business. Please feel free to comment at the bottom of the post, and if you would like a response please leave your email address. you can also contact me directly at info@johnmarkpower.com. And by all means, if you like something please feel free to share it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Signed Irish Regency One Drawer Stand (ca. 1825) part 2

The first post on this piece detailed the history of the server and the initial repairs made to the piece. Here is a link to the first post:


The photos below show the server once it was fully restored. But first, one last repair photo which shows material being added to the drawer bottom where the runners has worn down.
Here is a photo of the server once the restoration of the finish was completed.
The last three photos show the server outside after paste wax was applied to the finish. I love the color of the drawer in this first photo where the sun is hitting the piece directly!

Building a Locust and Walnut Entry Table (2010) Part 3

This week I completed the Locust and Walnut table I have been building. Below I have included several photos of the table in the shop and outside. I also thought it would be fun to match some photos I took of the table with some shots from Google's Sketchup program. This was the first time I designed a piece of furniture using this program and I was very satisfied with the results!

The first three photos are of the table in the shop with after the final coat of French Polish was applied.

I went ahead and created a label for the table which I signed and dated for posterity!
This first shot taken outside is at a weird angle, but I thought it showed off the grain of the locust well.
Here is a shot of the completed table after it has had paste wax applied.
These last four pictures are taken from approximately the same angle first in Sketchup and then in reality.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Building a Locust and Walnut Entry Table (2010) Part 2

As you may already know, I have been building an entry table for a customer out of Locust and Walnut, Both indigenous woods to the area. I wrote a previous entry on building the top which can be accessed through the following link:


I left off at the end of the last post with the rounding off of the corners of the table. To ensure each corner was shaped the same way, I created a template from some scrap wood. Below is a photo of the template.

The template was then clamped to a corner and traced. the edge was then rough cut using a jig saw.Below is a photo of the template laid over the corner.
Once the corner was rough cut, I attached the template again and trimmed the excess using a pattern bit on a hand held router. This gave me the exact profile of the template. The two photos below show this:

This photo shows the top completed and ready for sanding, I set it aside and turned my attention to the base.
The first step in creating the base was to mill the parts. I then did the detail work on the parts to create the joinery. I have started out with the apron. here is the apron milled:
The next step was to create tenons on the ends of the apron. Here are the short and long sections with the tenons cut.
Now onto the legs! the legs were first milled. The legs were all taken from the same board to ensure matching grain.
The next step was to cut the mortises in the legs to accommodate the tenons on the apron.
The last step was to cut the taper on the legs. The taper runs on the inner sides from just below the mortise to the bottom of the leg.
This photo shows the base being glued up.
One detail on the base is an applied bull nose molding around the bottom of the apron. The molding was shaped with a router and finished by hand. I created two sections of molding on either edge of a board and once the molding was made I ripped it into two using the table saw. This saves on material but more importantly gives me more material to work with keeping my fingers away from the rotating router bit! below is the two boards used to create the molding before they were ripped.
This photo shows the base with the molding attached.
The last step in the construction of the base was the addition of bracing. The bracing has two purposes. One is it keeps the top center board in place. It also keeps the apron straight by being dovetailed into the apron. The photo below shows the base with the braces and the photo below that shows a detail of the dovetail joinery.

Here are two photos of the table with the top attached. Sanding followed!

Here are two photos of the table after sanding. The table also has one coat of finish on it.

This last photo shows the table after the first day of coating. I will post some photos of the completed table once I have finished it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Building a Locust and Walnut Entry Table (2010) Part 1

A customer contacted me about designing and constructing a table for the entry way in their house. Looking over my website and various furniture I completed in the past, they said that they liked the design of the dining table I built for my own house as well as the woods used and wondered if the design could be modified to match the dimensions of the table they had in mind. Below is a photo of the dining room table I built using Locust and Walnut:
The dimensions for the original table were 48" Wide by 96" Long by 30" Tall. The table the customers were looking for would have the dimensions of 16" Wide by 60" Long by 33" Tall.

To design the table that they had in mind, I used a 3D modeling program created by Google called Sketch Up. After learning the program, I was able to come up with a 3 dimensional image of the table with the specified dimensions and I even colored it to mach the tones of the wood I would use. Not only that, but I produced some images to email to the customer of the design for the table. It is a fantastic program and sure beats drawing these designs out by hand! The program allows you to view the model from any angle so included several shots below of the table.

The first is from the corner of the table.
This shot shows the table from the end.

This shot is from the side.
The final shot shows the table from the top. We decided to change this slightly so that the center two boards are one board.
The way that this table works is that the outer boards form a frame around the center board of the top. The outer boards are joined with a spline at each corner and the top is held captive by the outer boards. This allows the top to expand and contract freely without cracking. The base is a mortise and tenon design with pegs and tapered legs and a continuous bull nose molding around the base of the apron.

Below is a photo of the wood used for the table fresh from the lumber yard.
The first step was to surface plane the boards so that I could see what was going on with the grain and determine where the flaws were and how to work with them. This photo shows the boards after they were planed.
I decided to build the top first and the rest of this post concerns it's manufacture. The first step was to laminate strips of Walnut onto Locust boards. Once they were joined they would become the outer edges of the table top. Here is a photo of the Walnut being glued to the Locust.
After this was complete, I cut a Rabbit joint along the edge of the center board as well as a corresponding joint on the edge boards. The Rabbit joint is a joint which looks like a step if viewed from the edge. The edge boards will over lap the center board to hold it in place. below is a photo of the two long edge boards being fit to the center board. At the closest edge of the center board you can see the rabbit joint.
The next step is to cut a slot along the miters of the edge board to accommodate a spline. This spline attaches the miters together.
The last two photos are of the top being glued up. No glue holds the center board in place it is locked in by the outer edge boards. The last step which I will show in the next post is to round the corners of the table surface.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Signed Irish Regency One Drawer Stand (Ca. 1825)

A piece I am currently working on is a Regency one drawer stand or server made in Ireland by Gillington's of Dublin. Gillington's was a firm owned by George and Samuel Gillington and operated in several locations, mostly on Abbey Street in Dublin from 1815 to 1838. They produced tables, cabinets, and chairs in the Regency style and stamped their pieces with a Gillington's stamp followed by four numbers. The four numbers probably indicated a model number, rather than a production number. This stand is made of Honduran Mahogany with oak and pine used as a secondary wood. What is interesting about this is that it is very hard to differentiate an Irish or Scottish piece of furniture from an English piece. The joinery practices and the woods used are identical. This is a great instance of how a signature can give you solid details on the provenance of a piece. Below is a photo of the piece as it came to me.
Here is a photo where the stamped signature can be seen. The stamp is located on the top of the drawer front on the left side. The model number appears to be #5479.
One of the issues this table had was that the top had shrunk over time as all wood tends to do. At some point in it's life, possibly when it was first made, a patch was added to the back right hand corner of the top. It was nailed in place later in its life, and then as the top contracted the patch got separated from the top, but was still held on by the nail which connected it to the leg below. I will show the repair to the top below.
Also due to the contraction of the top, the underside was missing several glue blocks, and the blocks that attached the top to the back had moved about 1/8th of an inch away from the back. Perhaps this top shrunk when it came across the Atlantic and moved to a different climate! Anyway, the result of all of these loose and missing blocks was a loose top. Some prior repairman had "solved" the problem by nailing the top on. this can lead to separation and cracking so the proper repair is to replace the missing glue blocks and add material to the ones that had moved. The photo below shows a glue block separated from the back.
This photo shows all of the blocks and the missing ones on the right side of the photo. There was also a missing block on the left side as well.
For the blocks that connected the back to the top, I cut shims to fill the gap as seen in the photo below. The shims were trimmed to size and glued in place using a hide glue, the glue originally used on the piece.
Here is a photo showing the new glue blocks being glued in place.
This photo shows the top being glued down as well as the the patch mentioned above being glued in place. the patch was only attached to the top so that it can move freely with the top as it expands and contracts.
This photo is a close up of the patch being glued back on.
With the clamps and blocks removed the patch is attached to the top. the hole left by the nail will be filled later on.
Another problem was that the drawer runners and interior runners were extremely worn, making it hard to open and close the drawer. In an effort to keep as much as possible original on this piece, I decided to remove the interior runners and flip them so that the flat surface is in contact with the drawer bottom. below is a close up photo of how the interior runners were dished out.
These last two photos show the interior runners being glued in place. The next post will detail the restoration of the finish.