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18th Century Dressing Table
18th Century Dressing Table - page
After finishing up with the carving of the feet, the next step was building the carcass. We
used wide boards in spite of the fact that it is a common belief that it is looking for trouble. A trick I
learned in the book by Jeffrey P. Greene, American Furniture of the 18th Century, was clamping the boards across
the grain enough to compress the wood. The idea behind the is to allow for expansion and contraction. The sides
and back were mortised into the legs, with three mortises on the ends of each piece. The two outer mortises were
glued, while the center mortise was left unglued. This allowed for seasonal movement. The mortises were cut to
maintain the compression. Any drying out of the piece would just relax the tension on the side boards.
In the second photo a frame has been dry fit at the top. The frame has a Mahogany front piece and a
poplar frame where it won't be seen. The pieces have been mortised together. Notice the Mahogany piece is
dovetailed onto the top of the leg posts. In the third photo, the particans have been fitted and temporarily
installed. While they are screwed in at the top, they aren't glued.
The center particans have a breadboard edge on the front so the particans have the grain going the
same way as the cabinet sides, but the front edge grain direction will match that of the leg posts. Photo four
shows the bracket shapes cut into the bottom of the side pieces. They were laid out after fastening the blocks
onto the legs. After carving the knees and brackets on all four legs, we glued up the sides and back to the leg
posts. The center particans weren't glued until the drawer glide frames were made and tested for fit. Since all
was okay, they too were glued up.
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to be continued...
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