Mondrian Glass Case

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Project by vipond33 posted 07-15-2013 01:42 AM 10364 views 50 times favorited 51 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A display case, in glass and traditional lead, made in qtrd makore with a Honduras mahogany stand.

I had no plan, just an idea. The problem with that was this – I wouldn’t know till the very end how it would look.

For the record, the joinery is bridle joints on the doors and sidelights with 28 dowels holding the carcase and 30 the base. A few screws and Brusso hinges.

This was six months in the making, a magnum opus of sorts, but a very difficult build (if only in demanding a constant design sense that I felt quite incapable of as I progressed). This work pushed my design efforts to the limit.

I needed a cabinet with flair to hold and contain the glass, a stand to hold its very own (aided by the power and echoes of Art Deco), and on top of that an interpretation of Mondrian to suit the case’s living purpose without losing sight of what he envisioned.

I am very much indebted to LJ Terry Ferguson for the “dart” detail on the front legs. It does a marvelous job of allowing a lighter looking and yet much more complex view possible even while adding mass and interest at the floor. Both woods are pictured.

In a eureka moment it also solved the problem of my door handle design


(always a tough one for me) and so carried it into a powerful motif for the front rail


as well as into the layout for the sliding trays.

I felt the base did need its presence as the upper case promised to be so commanding.

The upper case was made simple because of the glass, though I patterned matched throughout (as if any one would see) and gave it a Easter going to church hat top. The solid top is waterfall-ed on three sides with a repetition underneath.


Mondrian sought to create a “pure plastic art” reducing forms and colours to the absolute basics to evoke universal truth. I don’t know about that, I don’t, but I’ve been fascinated by these colours and his ideas for years. I have always loved the look and wanted to pay homage to him some day by wrapping that aesthetic mastery inside a beautiful cabinet.

So I made it, even though I had nothing to put in it, and now that it is gone it doesn’t matter anyway.
You see, shortly after these photos were taken the unit fell face first off a dolly onto the concrete floor. The damage was extreme; it is un-repairable.
I had planned to post an accompanying web log detailing the build but am unable to do so at this time.

Case 30” x 30”
Stand 34” x 11”
About 195 hrs.
Build on LJ’s.





-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

51 comments so far

View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3272 days

#1 posted 07-15-2013 01:47 AM

Sooo beautiful.
Such is the tenuous nature of all things made by man.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View ShaneA's profile


7044 posts in 2772 days

#2 posted 07-15-2013 01:50 AM

I have come to expect great things from you, and you don’t disappoint.

View a1Jim's profile


117273 posts in 3750 days

#3 posted 07-15-2013 01:55 AM

Amazing and so well done I really love this piece.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View SquintyPolock's profile


99 posts in 2070 days

#4 posted 07-15-2013 02:00 AM

Well, it was quite lovely. You are an excellent craftsman!

-- It's all in a day's work...

View Tag84's profile


573 posts in 2830 days

#5 posted 07-15-2013 02:02 AM

Wow thats ready to go into a museum.. stunning work!

-- -Thomas -

View DocSavage45's profile


8706 posts in 3016 days

#6 posted 07-15-2013 02:03 AM


This is a masterpiece! Did you commission the leaded glass? There is such great attention to detail. For me this would have been major anger! The soul is obvious! Wow.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View wunderaa's profile


248 posts in 2376 days

#7 posted 07-15-2013 02:06 AM

Wow. That’s simply spectacular.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2362 days

#8 posted 07-15-2013 02:08 AM

Gene, You have made a jaw dropping treasure. Simply beautiful. You are a Master!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Terry Ferguson's profile

Terry Ferguson

203 posts in 2841 days

#9 posted 07-15-2013 03:02 AM

Beautifully designed and executed – more of your meticulous detail and quality. This piece commands our attention
with bright colors that stand out against a background of clear glass which leads the eye into more subtle details on the base, powerful in their own right. Unique sliding trays,handsome wood color – Extremely well done.

-- Terry Ferguson, Bend Oregon

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1997 days

#10 posted 07-15-2013 03:11 AM

Wow! that is amazing, excellent work and craftsmanship….the cabinet and stand are really good and the glass work just ads to the over all awesome look…well done.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Jeremiah's profile


82 posts in 2497 days

#11 posted 07-15-2013 04:25 AM

wow, great work. the detail work is not only flawless, its inventive.

Good on you.

View mnpete's profile


226 posts in 2831 days

#12 posted 07-15-2013 07:04 AM

Just fantastic…all around! I would buy a piece like that!

-- Follow my woodworking adventures in The Second Wind Workshop,

View mbfunke's profile


76 posts in 2832 days

#13 posted 07-15-2013 07:04 AM

Like a monk painting in sand. Truly beautiful.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Mike Funke

View albachippie's profile


773 posts in 3208 days

#14 posted 07-15-2013 08:50 AM

WOW! That is a most beautiful piece Gene. Every detail is a masterpiece in it’s own right. I know it’s already been asked, but, did you do the lead work yourself or comission it?

Great work, you have surpassed even yourself,


-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14178 posts in 4156 days

#15 posted 07-15-2013 10:12 AM

whoa ho ho … nice, really nice. One of my favorites !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

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