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Wall hanging scotch cabinet - Introduction and design critique request

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Forum topic by JeremyMorgan posted 02-23-2013 10:37 AM 1815 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JeremyMorgan

58 posts in 667 days


02-23-2013 10:37 AM

Topic tags/keywords: design greene greene mahogany

Good evening. After lurking for quite some time I am finally posting. I am engineer by trade with a background in design and have always enjoyed building things. After moving to CO a few years back and buying a turn of the century (1901) victorian I have been building my skills and shop up to the point that I ave begun to tackle some more furniture oriented projects. If anyone is interested I have been posting pictures of the various projects about the house on a blogspot page (link is in my signature).

After recently completing a built in window seat project I have been thinking about what to do next and decided that a small wall hanging cabinet for a few bottles of my finest scotch would be a great excuse to delve into the world of Greene and Greene design which I have become rather fascinated with.

Attached (hopefully) is an image from a quick model I threw together over lunch today of a design concept that I have in mind. I would appreciate any feedback on the design as well as any suggestions on completing the project (joinery in particular).

Here is some basic info on the design.
-Mahogany Case and and door frames (I just scored some very nice genuine mahogany for 6$ lbf)
-The door panels and back will be spalted maple (either veneered panels left over from the window seat of solid wood, The board I have is just a bit too narrow though)
-The interior dimensions are 20 in x 16in wide with one shelf near the bottom. Glasses will sit under the shelf, bottles on it.

Thanks in advance for your feedback and comments.

-- Jeremy Morgan, CO Front Range, http://lifeonwallst.blogspot.com/


38 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1700 days


#1 posted 02-23-2013 12:36 PM

Jeremy, that looks like it would turn out to be a fine cabinet. I like the idea of the spalted maple panels, I think it would be a good match for the mahogany. If your board for them is a bit too narrow, would you have the capability to book match them? Each side could be book matched which could add a nice touch.

Good Luck and be sure to post pics when you’re done.

-- Mike

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JeremyMorgan

58 posts in 667 days


#2 posted 02-23-2013 09:53 PM

That’s a good idea. The two sides of the board are very different but the two faces from the cut should match pretty well. I might have to try that out. I’ll post a picture if I am successful in resawing it, always an adventure without a bandsaw.

-- Jeremy Morgan, CO Front Range, http://lifeonwallst.blogspot.com/

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1598 days


#3 posted 02-23-2013 10:24 PM

Seems well and good for function and use of materials.

I find the curves in the door frames inconsistent with the through box joints at the corners and the through tenons for the fixed shelf. The latter are craftsman-era and the curves seem to be Early American.

I don’t recall ever seeing through tenons from something one can’t see. Example: through tenons on a trestle table stretcher. The protruding end of the tenon lets the mind fill in some information about the stretcher.

The tenons sticking out the side of this cabinet are confusing to me.

These comments are meant to be helpful and constructive and are kindly offered.

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5449 posts in 1346 days


#4 posted 02-23-2013 11:02 PM

Well, it is G&G influenced for sure. I may be w/Lee on the through tenons. I like the rail and styles of the top two pics more than the last picture, but I would keep the pegs on doors. I really like the pegs in the G&G styled items.

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JeremyMorgan

58 posts in 667 days


#5 posted 02-24-2013 01:05 AM

Thanks for the responses.

The thru tenon for the shelf is something that I think isn’t going to make the final cut. I liked the idea of it but the comment about visible joinery for parts you can’t see makes sense. Would you guys suggest just going with a stopped dado for the shelf?

My main problem with the first door design is that I feel that the outer stiles are too thick. I am also concerned that unless I use very small pulls the two narrow center stiles might looked discontinuous. I may need to just make the cabinet a bit wider so that the proportions for the stiles work better. I like like the way the doors came out, but see your point about them not really working with the case.

What would you guys think about going with straight outer stiles and having the center stiles expansed in the center with more of a tsuba like design? I think I might try making the cloud lift pattern on the rails a bit more abrupt, smaller radius transitions to keep it from looking so much like a large curve.

I might not be explaining that very well, I don’t have a seat of the program used for this model here at home but I might use sketchup for a few quick door ideas, that seems to be what needs the most work.

Thanks again for the critiques and suggestions. Lee, I really appreciate someone who is able to explain what they don’t think works with a design.

Cheers,

-- Jeremy Morgan, CO Front Range, http://lifeonwallst.blogspot.com/

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ShaneA

5449 posts in 1346 days


#6 posted 02-24-2013 01:15 AM

I usually make the stiles the same width, not that there is any reason than that is just what I have done. One thing may be to think about the cloud lift getting larger in the middle, rather than smaller, if that makes sense? That way the cloud raises into the panel vs recedes from it. If you were to have the cloud lift getting larger on the rails, and equal sized stiles, maybe your panel dimensions would then fit. Seems like you are well on your way to a nice design.

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JeremyMorgan

58 posts in 667 days


#7 posted 02-24-2013 01:39 AM

Here is another version of the doors. I thickened the top rail so that the thinner part matched the width of the stiles. I think only having the cloud lift at the top, instead of mirrored top and bottom works a bit better.

-- Jeremy Morgan, CO Front Range, http://lifeonwallst.blogspot.com/

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

650 posts in 1279 days


#8 posted 02-24-2013 04:32 AM

Jeremy,

Are you attempting to make a piece that is, for lack of a better term, “correct”? I.e. follows the details closely enough to perhaps mimic a piece that might have come out of the Hall bros. shop? Or design something that just takes influence from G&G designs?

My comments are geared toward the first interpretation rather than the second, so I apologize in advance if that’s not your intention.

I would suggest that your cloud lifts are somewhat out proportion – they lift too much. The double lift seems too much for the scale of the door – both the inner stiles and top rails. The proportion of the lift on the inner stiles of the third pic of your original post seems about right.

You can find the cloud lift going both ways on G&G furniture, although I’d hazard a guess that the lift opens up more often than down at the top of an element.

Do you have David Mathias’ book? If so, there is a picture of a small curio cabinet on page 23 that might be a good reference for you.

The cabinet has proportionally thinner stiles and top rail, with a thicker bottom rail. This rail is sized to cover a set of drawers in the cabinet. The cloud lift opens up on the top rail, and there is a double lift on the bottom rail that also opens up.

For the finger joints, you could go protruding, as you’ve drawn them, or you could go flush. In either case, the ends of the fingers are rounded over.

This curio cabinet uses protruding fingers on the top, but a flat bottom that extends a bit past the edge of the carcase, like something you’d see in a Krenov piece.

Also, through tenons are something that isn’t common in G&G furniture. Tenons were pinned, though, and the pins capped with square pillowed plugs. Mathias’ book shows only one example of a through tenon, and that was on a lower stretcher of a table. Shelves in carcases were just dadoed in.

A couple things to consider:
- Maybe use brackets rather than cloud lifts on the inside of the door frame. Top of the frame only. Given the scale of the doors, probably just a single bracket, rather than a double (Blacker-style) bracket.
- If you remove the through tenons for the interior shelf, maybe add some decorative raised inlay to the sides of the cabinet.
- Consider what you want to do for glass. G&G used a lot of art glass for the visual effect, and while it was by no means ubiquitous in glass-doored cabinets, it might be a nice touch to your piece. Though not cheap :-)

Darrell Peart’s book is also quite useful as both a reference on styles and variations, but also construction details.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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JeremyMorgan

58 posts in 667 days


#9 posted 02-24-2013 05:39 AM

Mark, thanks. I have Darrell Peart’s book on order as well as one from Lang. I’m not sure I quite follow your suggestions on the bracket? Could you point me to a picture that would show a similar detail?

My intentions are more to explore some of the design elements from G&G pieces rather to try and make something that might be seen as correct. I do appreciate feedback that is more in line with what would be appropriate on a true G&G style piece as the style intrigues me.

Here are a few more quick concepts, right now I think the first one is my leading contender. The wide portion of the center stiles would have the handles mounted, as this will be mounted on a wall I think it will make sense to have the handles biased toward the bottom.

Also took a break from working on a storm window project to re-saw the board I am thinking about using for the panels. Here are the two pieces in the orientation that I think I will use them.

-- Jeremy Morgan, CO Front Range, http://lifeonwallst.blogspot.com/

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1598 days


#10 posted 02-24-2013 02:21 PM

Well that last picture points my eyes toward no details on the stiles and rails. That’s just to beautiful, in an exquisitely simple way, to introduce movement in the frame. Those panels look Krenovian.

Let the panels be the detail, that’s my thought.

Do another cabinet with the cloud lifts! I like both refinements above the above photograph.

Excellent discussion, and thank you, Jeremy, for being open to other ideas and opinions and interpretations.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

650 posts in 1279 days


#11 posted 02-24-2013 11:03 PM

I’m with Lee on that – that piece of wood looks like it wants to be the feature, and an attempt to add adornment via styling would detract. Maybe even use it without rails/stiles.

I like pic #1 – the proportions look “right” to me. But depending on the style of the pull, pic #2 might work better.

As far as brackets – Chapter 9 in Peart’s book is all about the style of double brackets found in the Blacker house. He shows how to construct a double bracket, but given the scale of the each door, I’d think a single bracket would look better. Peart gives templates for brackets, but the curves and proportions look a bit odd to me – refer to the picture of the chair on page 43 or the xray pic on page 51 and compare that to his templates to see what I’m talking about…

G&G used a couple of different styles of single brackets. Check out the Tichenor chair on p. 17 and compare that to the Robinson chair on p. 66.

Oh – the curio cabinet I mentioned is also pictured in Peart’s book on page 61.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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JeremyMorgan

58 posts in 667 days


#12 posted 02-25-2013 04:38 AM

I think you guys are right about those panels. They are not large enough to use as slab doors but I think they will look great in a simple frame door. I do plan to keep the plugs on the corners. Now I am struggling with the orientation of the those panels. My initial thought is to keep the larger blue streak to the outside, but they might look a bit better inverted from the way they are shown in that photo.

Mark, thanks for the references. I can’t wait until that book comes in.

-- Jeremy Morgan, CO Front Range, http://lifeonwallst.blogspot.com/

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JeremyMorgan

58 posts in 667 days


#13 posted 02-25-2013 04:03 PM

Here is an image of the new, simplified, design showing the spalted maple panels.

I like it, and I won’t have to fool around with any templates for this project. Now I just need to sort out the joinery design and finish off the couple projects that are ahead of this in the que.. I am getting sick of building storm windows but I just can’t bring myself to buy the damn things.

I am thinking a pegged bridle joint for the door frames. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

-- Jeremy Morgan, CO Front Range, http://lifeonwallst.blogspot.com/

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2178 posts in 1233 days


#14 posted 02-25-2013 04:13 PM

I like that last iteration best. With such nice stock to work with, I like letting the wood do the talking.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

View Loren's profile

Loren

7822 posts in 2396 days


#15 posted 02-25-2013 04:41 PM

Bridle joints are nice, though inset they won’t be seen
easily. A cool variant is the dovetail slip joint.

I think it can be easy to overdo it on details and I
agree with the other posters who prefer the last
iteration.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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