Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Curious Cabinet

      My order of walnut veneer arrived in today's post, and I thought I might finally finish off the fire-surround. Until I cut and glued the first sheet which, as soon as I put the glue on, curled and warped. Obviously, this veneer is from a different tree, so I should maybe have expected it to behave differently, but I've never seen it as bad as this. There is only one answer to a problem like this - the material that holds the entire universe together. Yes, that's right. Duck tape. Never, ever, be without this stuff. Put a roll in the boot of your car. Have another roll at home. You will not regret it. Duck tape is second only to a Swiss Army knife as the thing to have close to hand. (I say Duck Tape - some say Duct Tape. The original name is Duck Tape, so called because it was made using duck canvas tape, with adhesive applied, in 1942, and because liquids flow off it like water off a duck's back. There is a saying that if it's not stuck, and it should be, use Duck Tape ; if it's stuck and it shouldn't be, use WD40). Anyway, I've checked and the veneer is slowly straightening, so I'll leave it overnight and see what tomorrow brings.

Here are the last items of wooden furniture. Number one is a glass fronted display cabinet. It's an odd one. I think it has been made by a very good amateur carpenter. As I was applying wax polish to it today, I gave it a very close look, and there are little things about it that look slightly off - the joints, the way the mitres have been cut, how it has been finished, and so on. It has a nice vine leaves and grapes frieze running round the top, with rope-work banding along the top and sides. The doors are glazed, and open to three shelves, again with rope-work trim. The top has been veneered, with what looks like oak, quarter cut (as old style veneers often are), but badly split and worn. The veneer is also held down with veneer pins - not something you often find with professional cabinetwork. It came from a man in Clayton-le-Moors, who told me it had been left in the house by the previous occupant and it didn't fit in with his planned decor. I got it through eBay for ten pounds. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it - there is just something about it that appeals to me.

The second piece is a what-not stand. Early what-nots date from about 1800, and were often rectangular in shape, sometimes incorporating one or two drawers. As time passed, the term came to be applied to any free-standing shelf unit, with usually three shelves. They are sometimes referred to as etageres, from the French for 'stand'. This is a modernish piece, made from who-knows-what-wood - could be mahogany - and is circular, with turned legs and three shelves. Another eBay win, from the same seller as the bureau, for £5.50.

Lastly, a simple oak stool, with woven sea-grass top. It's a country piece, possibly home-made. No frills, no fuss. It is what it is - a stool. From the same seller as the magazine rack, it cost a staggering £2. My Sunday newspaper costs more than that!

And that, boys and girls, concludes the wooden furniture in the study. Tomorrow I'll show you the chairs.

Today's costs : -

Cabinet                                                 £10

What-not                                              £5.50

Stool                                                    £2

Today's total : -                                   £17.50

Running Total : - £631.31

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