Plate Rail

With the placement of the legs, doors and drawers determined. I turned to the plate rail. The Greenes' sideboard has a low, solid plate rail. I wanted something that would lighten the sideboard and relate to the brackets, so I designed a low. open ptate rail by adapting the bracket shape, stretching it out horizontally. I also took the opportunity to make a visual link to the legs. By creating a little vertical center point in the plate rail, I carried through the line of the middle leg.

I used my bracket-making techniques to produce the parts of the plate rail. I doweled the parts together as before, but because the assembled rail was somewhat delicate. I screwed it to the sideboard's top from below rather than gluing it This way. I could transport it separately and then attach it on site.

I routed mortises for the splines with a slot-cutter fitted with a bearing wheel. After chiseling out the ends of the mortises. I cut 1 bon-X splin to length and rough-cut their back edges to the shallow S-shapc on the bandsan Like the square pegs, the false splines stand proud of the surface, so I put them in temporarily and scribed a line following the contour on the edge but spaced awav in. The n I removed the splines, and bandsawed to the line. I gently radiused the edges that would be exposed, sanded and burnished them and glued them in place.

compared to clothing on a person, then knobs and pulls would be like neckties, pins and earrings—finishing touches that are key to the overall impact ot a piece. I used the same type of pull on the table drawers as I made for tl ird. 1 tried .1 number of different si/, s belorc settling on the right one for each piece, as shown in the bottom photo. The pulls are a variation on the Asian "cloud lift, an abstract representation of clouds found throughout the Greenes' work, I bandsawed the pulls and filed and sanded to finished shape; then I radiused the edges with a muter. J had to scale them down considerably from the ones used on the sideboard. For the sideboard. I decorated them with square pegs, but on the smaller pulls for the writing desk. 1 found they looked cramped so I left them off.

A fitting finish I wanted the pieces I made to hau .n: imm< Jure presence. .1 feeling of having been around for a long time: In a sense, thev had been. To achieve it. 1 treated the wood v. 11! ■■ issuim dichrom it oxidizing agi nt borrowed from photographic processing. It comes in powder form and is mixed with water and sponged on. Before applying it, I wet-sanded every surface to raise the grain and knock it back down. W hile applying the potassium dichromau I kt pt an air hosi handv to disperse the puddles that formed in the inside corners. If they are left to stand and soak in. the color will be uneven, I then sprayed three coats of catalyzed lacquer, sanding between coats with 320-gnt paper.

BUILDING IN THE LANGUAGE OF GREENE AND GREENE a 27

RENOVATING AN OLD STYLE The tight and airy, updated Arts and Crafts furniture of M T Maxwell Furniture Co His well in a contemporary home

THROUGHLY MODERN MORRIS ■ 31

NEW FORMS. Artisans working today in the style have adapted the original forms to fit it th contemporary needs. New forms include queen-size beds such as this one by Seattle fur-ture maker Tom Stangeland.

the pieces being in good condition in 200 or 300 years." he savs.

In general, however, when rodav's woodworkers believe that traditional meihod>

eld superior results, thev use them, "With most of the Greene and Greene pieces, shaping out of solid material «.is done bj hand." says David Hellman of Watertcmm, Massachusetts. "There is no machine that can do that. 1 also stick with a hand-rubbed oil finish, as thev would have done."

In ad luion to i »me new tech nology, today's artisans are adapting the style's forms to todays needs—even those unknown at the beginning of the centurv— and that is one reason why the furniture is doing so well with consumers. Kevin Rodel adapted Mackintosh's tiled bedroom wash-stand now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York into a dining mom serving piece. Retaining the form and tile treatment, he added more side ■ uling and changithe [»-p slightly to

., ,, . .. | lighting. Furniture makers are using traditional Arts and Crafts details in producing coffee tables, entertainment centers and queen- and king-size beds—forms that didn't exist 90 wars ago. The) also arc building these new pieces with todays demanding consumer in mind. "Most of our customers like the old look, but thev want a sofa or a chair that feels comfortable to them." says Ciene Agress. a founder of Berkeley Mills furniture makers in Berkeley. California. "Arts and Crafts seating did not | : ide all thai much lower back support oi upport People sat on top of the chair, not in it as is preferred todav. We had to make the back pillow thicker and the arms on our sofas wider."

A NEW SLANT ON THE STYLE. In updating the Arts and Crafts style, Kevin Kopii Furniture Designs has tapered the legs of its dining table, "floated" the top and put the contrast ing ebony slats into groups of threes.

THROUGHLY MODERN MORRIS ■ 33

ow that vou've learned about the hall marks of the srvlc. we'll take a look at some creative projects. Whether vou want to build a Sticklev table. .1 Craftsman wall cabi net. or a Mission-stvic mantel, you'll find what vou're looking for in this section. At the end of the section, we'll address some techniques com mon to Craftsman furniture. You can apply these techniques to any of the projects here, or whatever vou design on your own.

■ PROJECTS & TECHNIQUES

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