My mother, Elizabeth F. (“Penny”) Jones, is an architectural historian and collector of all things historic…and not. When I was a kid, she was one of the driving forces behind the preservation of countless old buildings in Louisville, where I grew up. After moving to the Washington, D.C., area when I was in high school, she joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation as director of Preservation Programs, and was later executive director at the American Institute for Conservation (usually known as “AIC”). While she’s now retired, she remains incredibly active in preservation efforts. All this is to say that though she comes by the tendency honestly, my mother is altogether unable to throw anything away; It might be important someday…so it’s worth saving.
The picture above is of a piece of moulding from a mid-19th-century historic house in Louisville, one the few she was unable to save. So she saved a part of it – in, I believe, 1974. So, by my calculation (which might be off by a move or two), this moulding scrap traveled from Louisville to Alexandria, Va., in 1985, and has since moved to at least four different homes.
Now, she’s asked me to make it into something useful…but what? The easy solution is to make a picture frame…but that’s a pretty short run of stock for such a wide moulding; the frame would wholly overwhelm whatever is inside it.
I could also make a simple narrow display shelf, with a flat attached to the moulding edge at the top. But that’s kinda boring and predictable (though still an option).
So your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with the winning idea, as determined by my mother and me (which is to say I get veto power…I’m not making a stepback just to stick that on top of it; she doesn’t have room for a large furniture piece…and I’m a bad daughter…so think “small”). The person who submits the winning idea gets a 6-month subscription (or extension) to our video streaming site, ShopClass on Demand (with more than 400 woodworking instructional videos, including the first 20 seasons of “The Woodwright’s Shop”). And then I shall build the winning idea. Eventually (always good to CYA…).
The deadline is June 20 (the same deadline as the 2014 PWM Excellence Awards – have you entered?).
The piece is 5’4″ long, 7-1/2″ wide and projects 2-3/4″ from the backing board. My mom didn’t tell me how thick it is, but I’m guessing in the 3/4″ to 7/8″ range. I also don’t know what kind of wood it is…but I would guess a local domestic hardwood, such as walnut or cherry (this was a fancy house – not like my plebian Victorian-era “manse,” which has yellow pine trim throughout).
Submit your idea in words below – and if you wish to include a link to a sketch (though it’s not necessary), use an “a href=” html tag in your comments…and if you don’t know what that means, send it to me and I’ll add it for you.
And now I must get back to the mouldings in my own house…I’m in the midst of installing new baseboards in the kitchen (yes mom, they match the originals).