Popular Woodworking 2007-12 № 166, страница 15

Popular Woodworking 2007-12 № 166, страница 15

finishes, were originally painted to look like mahogany. People liked dark furniture then, and paint was a good way to get the high-end look of mahogany or walnut from pine, tulip poplar or maple.

Period paints were overwhelmingly oil-based, not casein- or milk-based, but don't sue your Windsor chairmaker for fraud just yet. Period oil-based paints were made of coarse ground pigments, white lead, linseed oil and turpentine. Depending on the amount of linseed oil added, they could have a glossy or matte finish. Depending on the amount of white lead added, they could be somewhat translucent or as opaque as our paints.

In truth, they were unlike our paints in only two noticeable ways. According to Wil-liamsburg's Furniture Conservator Chris Swan, the surface finish could be described as "ropey," with long raised rope-like strands of oil. Second, the hand-ground pigment was much coarser than our modern pigments. Consequently, the paint's color could vary slightly from batch to batch or even within a single batch.

Though skilled conservators such as Swan would never agree, I find milk paint, with its

Fillister plane. I began the bolection by planing the fillet using my moving fillister plane. This moulding will wrap around three sides of my desk, so the stock is about 7' long. As you can see, I clamped a piece of scrap pine to my bench using these wimpy modern clamps. I lent my good beech handscrews to a friend doing a period demonstration.


Moulding selection. I chose a bolection for the base moulding. This moulding helps finish the bottom of the case, allowing the viewer to see the carcase as separate from the legs. It supports the "elevated mass" look that was popular in the early 18th century. I chose an astragal with fillets as the waist mould. This moulding binds the upper and lower cases.

relatively coarse-ground natural-earth pigments, an excellent substitute for the toxic paint of the 18th century. Like many modern Windsor chairmakers, I have my own ways of working with it to approximate period paint finishes.

Freehand. I began my bolection by free handing the shape on either end of the stock. You don't need a special template for this. This rough sketch is fine.

Oiling and Waxing

By rubbing out the milk paint, you can control its opacity to simulate period paint. I then apply linseed oil and paste wax to get the shine I'm looking for, again simulating whatever age and wear characteristics I'm going for. The last step is adding a few years to the finish.

Famed furniture dealer Israel Sack valued what he called "grunge" - dirt and soot on the surface of furniture that indicated an old finish was present. According to David DeMuzio, senior conservator of furniture and woodwork at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, grunge is

Fore plane. I flipped the moulding end for end Round plane. Using my fingers to guide the and quickly planed a flat where the cove will be plane, I cut the cove with a round plane. The using my fore plane. round plane does not make a quarter of a circle,

so this took several passes, each at a slightly different angle to create the quarter-round cove.

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