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Designing Art Deco Waterfall Furniture

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Forum topic by agianni posted 01-11-2011 09:51 PM 6658 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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agianni

13 posts in 2454 days


01-11-2011 09:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mahogany walnut veneering art deco waterfall

My sister-in-law has asked me to build a new piece for their living room that will match a couple of art deco waterfall pieces in their dining room. I’m having a hard time finding good resources on how to make this happen. If there’s anything anyone can point me to that would help I would much appreciate it. Here are a few questions I’m trying to answer?

1. It appears that most of this furniture relies on veneers. How to I recreate those symmetrical, angular designs? I’m assuming I need some really straight-grained veneers? Do these need to be book-matched? Or do they just look that way? How do I do those angular cuts without wasting lots of material?

2. These seem to be made with both walnut and mahogany wood and veneers, but it’s unclear to me which is which which in the designs.

3. The piece I’m building will have doors. It appears that this style usually has slab doors. I was thinking of actually building them out of MDF for stability and then applying the veneers. Thoughts on this?

4. My understanding is that this furniture was usually made from plywood and the waterfall edges were created by bending the plywood. I’ve never done this before, although I’ve found some good examples of how to create bent plywood by creating a form and bonding multiple layers of thinner plywood. But the bend on the front of waterfall furniture seems awfully sharp to build that way. I was thinking I would probably just build the top out of ply and profile a piece of solid hardwood for the front, join them and then apply the veneer. Does that sound sensible?

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. I still haven’t actually committed to doing this and I’m not certain I’m up to it, but I’m certainly intrigued by the challenge.

-- Andrew


8 replies so far

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2512 days


#1 posted 01-12-2011 05:04 PM

Do you have any pictures of the piece/pieces you’re trying to mimic?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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agianni

13 posts in 2454 days


#2 posted 01-12-2011 05:13 PM

I don’t have any good pictures of the actual pieces they have, but they’re in this style:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_g8BQFSPckxk/SwX--n7UmmI/AAAAAAAABI0/T8GhOASD59M/s1600/Waterfall_dresser_002.jpg

http://www.hawkeantique.com/IMG_1218.JPG

http://img1.classistatic.com/cps/po/101217/468r6/209278d_27.jpeg

http://media.photobucket.com/image/art%20deco%20waterfall/KaBoomStock/WaterfallBuffet08.jpg

I’m expecting that I’ll lose some of the most ornate aspects of them, but I want to capture the waterfall edge, the geometric veneer patterns and probably the fluting.

-- Andrew

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2512 days


#3 posted 01-12-2011 05:22 PM

There does appear to be a lot of bookmatched veneer in those photos. You can buy veneer this way from the suppliers. MDF is a good choice for veneering, from what I understand, but I have not yet veneered anything. Just make sure that you veneer both sides!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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HerbC

1592 posts in 2321 days


#4 posted 01-12-2011 06:43 PM

Jonathan,

You’ll find that using solid wood for the waterfall curves and MDF for the flat panels will not be a great design because the solid wood will move more with moisture changes and will probably cause the joints to the MDF panel to fail.

Why not build up the corner thickness with layers of MDF and then create the profile in the MDF which then gets covered by the veneer?

Good luck with the project and don’t forget…

Be Careful!

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

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agianni

13 posts in 2454 days


#5 posted 01-12-2011 07:00 PM

Herb, is MDF definitely my best option for stability? I was suggesting it for the door panels because it’s my understanding that that’s the least likely thing to warp. I’m not excited about doing a lot of work with MDF from a health perspective, but I’m planing on having an air filtration unit in place (built or bought, still working on that) before I start on this project, so between that and the dust collection, I should be in pretty good shape.

Any recommendations in working with MDF would also be appreciated, as I haven’t worked with it before (i.e. what tools and blades are most appropriate.

-- Andrew

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2512 days


#6 posted 01-12-2011 08:02 PM

HerbC,

I guess I just assumed that’s what he was going to do, the way you detailed it as that’s what I have seen done. I did not recommend using hardwood, but just said that MDF was a good substrate for veneering (maybe I implied something though?). Sorry if there was miscommunication there.

Andrew, if you’ve got good ventilation and a good dust mask (at a minimum), or a respirator, you should be fine with the MDF. They do make MDF with no added formaldahyde.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2512 days


#7 posted 01-12-2011 08:24 PM

Not to stray too far off your question, but I was just looking at Van Dyke’s and saw these pulls that might be of interest to you, and they’re on clearance for only $0.65/each:
http://www.vandykes.com/product/art-deco-pull1

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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agianni

13 posts in 2454 days


#8 posted 01-12-2011 09:26 PM

Thanks Jonathan, I’ve been trying not to get too far ahead of myself, but I’ve been eyeballing repro art deco hardware already too :)

-- Andrew

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