|Project by Bob A in NJ||posted 11-11-2007 03:57 PM||4236 views||2 times favorited||27 comments|
Queen Anne Dressing Table
Here’s my latest project. I got the idea and inspiration while visiting a local cabinetmaker with club members from the “New Jersey Woodturners Association” earlier this year. I joined the club in April and how been wow’ed by them. The guys at the club are one extremely talented bunch of guys.
I’ve been concentrating on different types of boxes or cabinets most of my life. With the new addition of a Jet mini lathe this year, it started stretching my imagination. The Queen Anne table has features I’ve never tried but, after seeing the club’s work, I decided to do something more ambitious than my usual stuff. It’s been a journey!
After searching for a design, I found great plans on the “New Yankee’s Workshop” site. Thanks Norm! The video and plans are wonderful. In Norm’s version, he bought the legs since they take a lot of time and are much more elaborate than shown here. His version has “ball and claw feet” with ornate carvings on the knees. He bought them from a furniture leg company since they take a lot of talent and time to build yourself.
After seeing the prices for the legs, ($$!!), I decided to experiment and make them myself. I found plans for a simple design in Fine Woodworking and enlarged them on a copier and made a template. I found them very easy to make. Well, sort of,..... I’ll get to that in a minute. After gluing up ¾” x 3” wide stock, cutting them on a bandsaw is very fast and easy. Once the initial curves are cut, that’s when the fun begins. The blanks come off the bandsaw needing a lot of scraping, filing & sanding. Making “one” is easy, making “four” to be exact replicas is a challenge. These legs are close. The initial 4 blanks and smoothing took about 2 hours each but then I spent an entire Saturday trying to get them as close in size as possible.
This was also my first attempt at carving which is needed for the shell design on the drawer front. The one on the table is my 4th effort after trying out the various carving tools and techniques. For this work, I borrowed a friend’s “Flexcut” chisels. Nice tools! I found it’s like other types of woorkworking. Get a plan, be willing to experiment, be patient, practice and you’ll finally get something you can use. I’ve since bought my own set of Flexcuts and am now practicing on ball and claw feet. These will take LOTS of practice if my first attempt is any indication.
This brings us to the Lumberjocks picnic at Lee Jesbergers house a few months ago. Lee is simply fantastic and has queen anne style legs on a tilting candle stand. Check his web page on this topic. His work is really unbelievable and very ornate. At the picnic, I brought my “in process” legs for the “show and tell” part of the day. So, for the guys that were there, I’ve got this project completed. http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/LeeJ/blog/1536
The mini drops were made on my lathe. Again, it took 2-3 attempts to get the design right and making two the same takes some practice but relatively simple to do.
This project took about 80 hours over the last 4 months to make. I have no idea how Norm knocks out so many fine projects so quickly!
Construction is solid cherry with cut off pieces I bought as surplus “shorts” from a cabinet shop selling on ebay. Drawers and made of poplar. The legs are laminated together although the Fine Woorking plans by Lonnie Bird suggest making legs thick legs like this from solid stock to avoid differences in grain, color and different rates of wood shrinkage I found 3” thick cherry is about $14 bd ft which would have added $180 to the price of the project. I don’t think so Tim!
All in all, with the plans, wood, hardware and finishing supplies, the project cost about $300.
Norm’s video suggested using a Gel stain which helps smooth out the colors of the cherry. I used Minwax mahogany. Then I added 5 coats of “rub on poly” and finally a coat of Johnsons paste wax.
So, in summary, the challenging parts of the projects are the legs, drops and carving, the rest is just a big box with 4 smaller boxes (the drawers) but I’m glad I tackled it.
After seeing the work from my fellow NJ Wood Turners club members and the work of fellow Lumberjocks, it pushed me from my comfort zone.
So what’s next? I thinking about making a matching queen anne style chair complete with ball and claw feet but I’ll wait till my Xmas presents are done.
-- Bob A in NJ