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18th Century Dressing Table

18th Century Dressing Table

 Building A 18th Century Dressing Table

 One of my personal favorite styles of furniture is that done in the period of the 18th century. The beauty and grace of it is the very reason it is still a popular style even today. It is one of the most challenging styles in woodworking.

I believe the combination of the incredible understanding of proportion, and the realization of the conditions these men were working under, just adds to my amazement of it. I am quite certain if I had to work under those conditions, I would have done something else. It just sounds like hard work.


Since I had a client that appreciated this style of furniture, and also wanted a dressing table, I figured the opportunity had arrived. None of my previous clients ordered anything from that time period. Her only request was that it had ball and claw feet. (or as she put it, those kind of feet).

I drew a quick sketch and faxed it over to her. Within minutes she called me, and gave me the okay.

A major concern to me was I had never attempted to carve "those kind of feet" before. I really didn't have any carving experience to draw from. As it turns, if done in a methodical order, out it really wasn't that difficult, and I rather enjoyed it. Making eight legs that matched was a little intimidating, but that too was a matter of carving them all in stages, as opposed to finishing one and starting another. This way, each leg is getting the same procedure, in the same order.

Another challenge in this project was breaking the rules about using wide boards. This too, has a solution, which I learned from Jeffrey P. Greene's book, "American Furniture of the 18th Century". For anyone interested in this style, I highly recommend this book. The entire time I was working on the dressing table, the book was by my side for reference.

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