Scrollwork and a tombstone panel door add a stylish challenge.
By Mark Arnold
From the November 2010 issue # 186
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A 7′-tall corner cabinet is impressive, but can be a daunting project for someone with little shop time. Traditional corner cupboards require a commitment – not just of time and resources, but of space in one’s home.
Because the eye is drawn to the intersection of two planes (walls), however, the corner of a room is the perfect location to show off a prize piece of furniture. A small hanging cupboard is a logical compromise and has several advantages: It can be just as dramatic as its larger cousin and its dimensions are easily changed to fit in just about any corner.
While the project shown here is my own design, variations of this form were built during the 18th century, some having
one, two or three pendant shelves, a door with multiple panels and sometimes even a drawer below the door.
This is a good beginner project because it presents angles other than 90° and can be built in a relatively short period of time, and usually of scrap material at hand. It also provides experience in tombstone panel door construction, multiple-piece crown moulding fabrication, vector clamping and the cutting and fairing of scrolled edges. The scrollwork on the apron, back and shelves is easily altered for changes in dimensions and aesthetics.
Although this cabinet is an amalgam of details seen on other similar pieces, I borrowed some of the scroll elements
from the aprons of tables and case pieces. These elements consist of three basic parts – arcs, fillets and ogees (or cyma curves). Arcs give a feeling of lightness to a piece because they require the removal of material. They can also repeat curve shapes, such as a tombstone panel, used elsewhere on a piece. Ogees serve to keep the eye in motion as it traces the serpentine outline. Arranged back-to-back, ogees lend a sense of symmetry where there would otherwise
be none. Fillets provide beginning and ending points for the other two elements and are useful when a change in direction is needed. When used in concert, these elements can add visual excitement to an otherwise mundane piece. By scaling or stretching the various elements, virtually any two points can be bridged with decorative scrollwork.
Web site: Visit Mark’s web site to see more of his work.
Article: Build Glen D. Huey’s “American Corner Cabinet.”
Web site: Discover the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (SAPFM).
To read: “Making Furniture Masterpieces” by Franklin H. Gottshall
In our store: “Building 18th-Century American Furniture” by Glen D. Huey Read more