|Project by Mark Kornell||posted 11-11-2014 04:55 AM||3603 views||33 times favorited||43 comments|
I have this table as my avatar, and a member asked me for more details. Since I can’t send pics via PM, I decided to post it here.
I intended this table to be faithful to the G&G style, and more specifically, to the Blacker house details. It is not a reproduction – as far as I know, there isn’t such a piece in the Blacker collection. But I did want it to fit right in if it somehow ended up in the Blacker house.
Consciously, I made a handful of small deviations from the “correct” construction. These would preclude it from being recognized as a strictly period piece. I’m OK with that.
Also, I hadn’t seen a real G&G piece in person prior to making this. Subsequently, I’ve visited the Gamble house and the display at the Huntington. I realized I missed on a couple of details that are very hard to figure out from pictures. Those are visible in my pics, see if you can spot the mistakes!
The project was a real learning experience in terms of shaping details. The unadorned form of the table is quite straightforward. The details are what define the style. And with G&G furniture, there are a lot of details. Leg indents. Cloud lift brackets. Protruding finger joints. Reveals. Breadboard ends. Ebony plugs. And more ebony plugs – 72 in all on this piece.
The piece was made from sapele and ebony. Honduran or Cuban mahogany being hard to come by, sapele makes a decent substitute. The drawer bottom was the exception, being a quartersaw cherry board. (This is one of the conscious deviations from style – it is likely that oak would have been used for a drawer bottom.)
The drawer bottom literally glows. It was hard to get a picture that wasn’t totally overexposed.
The construction was pretty straightforward. Aprons are mortised into the legs. Frame and panel dust panels above and below the drawer make for an airtight drawer compartment. Naturally, the drawer is piston-fit :-) The top is held on by screws from below – the screw holes are slotted to allow for movement.
Typical of G&G construction, the brackets and the drawer handle were glued and screwed in place, with ebony plugs covering the screw heads. And a lot of the ebony plugs are decorative in nature. Important aesthetically but not necessary to cover structural elements.
Making the drawer handle was a lot of fun. I excavated a tsuba-shaped indent into the drawer front, and shaped the lifted and arched pull mostly with hand tools.
The finish was to treat the sapele with potassium dichromate, and then two coats of Waterlox. Contrary to what the instructions say, I wiped on/wiped off the Waterlox so the resulting layer of varnish is quite thin.
Before starting the project, I had done my research and created a detailed SketchUp model. Using LayOut, I then developed a full set of plans. Although it took a lot of time, this was quite beneficial in terms of staying on track with the vision. When I was done, I had the idea that I could create a graphic showing the transition from plan to finished piece. That is the graphic I use as my avatar.
-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design