Popular Woodworking 2007-12 № 166, страница 16
black. Don't tell DeMuzio, but so is my shoe polish. Now I would never recommend you do this to a real antique or even a fine reproduction. But this is a piece that will likely never leave my shop. So I get to have a little fun with it. I've rubbed shoe polish into nooks and crannies, and wiped it away to leave the dark wax in places where a dusting rag would miss. This won't fool anyone into thinking the desk is an antique, but it will remove the shocking newness of the piece.
Though it might seem like common sense, I've learned a few things about installing period hardware that may help you. Many of the pieces are irregular. Little knobs might have crooked screws that need straightening before use. Escutcheon plates might need to be filed to fit your keys. But authentic hardware is usually very soft brass and easy to work with.
When installing a bail pull, it's preferable that the bail initially be a bit too wide. This is one item you shouldn't fix before use. Start both posts in their holes in the drawer front and squeeze the bail pull between them. Using a soft mallet, tap each post in turn. As the posts get driven home, the bail will be squeezed into the right shape. The installed bails should not rattle.
The other trick to installing drawer pulls is positioning them. I've found that generally the pulls on period pieces are located in the center of the drawer, height-wise. To set the spacing side to side, I place the escutcheons .618 (golden section) x the drawer's width apart. I'm not sure this is always the case on early pieces but it never looks "wrong."
If you're going to install locks, be sure to plan ahead. I prefer to use a brace and center bit to excavate the half mortise for the lock. This is much easier to do before the drawer bottom is attached and even easier to do before the drawer sides are on. Cutting the keyholes is simple. You start with the hole. Traditionally, craftsmen used keyhole saws to saw out the bit beneath the hole. For me however, a coping saw works best.
In the beginning of this series, I promised you an unprecedented look at building furniture with hand tools. But I also wanted to show you how you can use traditional proportions, structures and tools to build authentic-looking pieces we've never actually seen.
Arts & Mysteries
Hollow plane. I've flipped the moulding again and now I'm working the astragal portion with a hollow plane. I'll do one side at a time then finish the top surface.
Uniformity is overrated. The finished moulding is not perfectly uniform from end to end. But it won't matter as long as I cut it into pieces and wrap them around the desk in order.
Just add water. Milk paint is available commercially as a powder. Just add water until it is the consistency of milk. Here I've mixed two parts of barn red with one part of Lexington green. The result will be a dark red. I mix single coats or less at a time, and don't measure my recipes too accurately. I'm looking for a little movement in the color.
For my daughter Genevieve, and the woodworkers of her generation, the state of the art of period woodworking will likely be very different than it is now. Future woodworkers won't be limited (as we have been) by museum collections and furniture dealers' coffee-table books. Armed with the tools, knowledge of basic shop practices (I suspect they will come to know specific shops' practices), and an understanding of finishes, and usage of pieces, they will have the ability to show us the 18th century that people knew back then. PW
Visit Adam's blog at artsandmysteries.com for more discussion of traditional woodworking techniques.
A family affair. My daughter Genevieve has been painting my furniture since she was 6 years old. She's an excellent painter. Notice her relaxed grip on the ferrule of the horse hair brush we made together. Some people think I'm crazy to cover authentically built furniture with inau-thentic paint. I think milk paint is close enough, and I'd rather work with Genevieve than put on a space suit to avoid poisoning myself.
26 ■ Popular Woodworking December 2007