A few years ago in a weak moment I agreed to build a small chest for a friend who is an avid antique collector. It’s a copy of a piece in his collection, a small tiger maple dresser circa 1830 in the empire style. What’s unique about it is that it’s sort of a miniature. I say sort of because it’s not miniature as in doll furniture, more like a salesman’s sample. I’ve seen several similar examples; some speculate that it could have been a dowry chest made as a gift. I tend to think the dowry theory is right as its well equipped with bells and whistles for such a small piece. It sports cock beading on the drawers, Quaker locks, full frame and panel back, and a dust panel in the bottom of the case. All that aside, I plunged into it but somehow lost interest along the way. Other projects (like making design videos) pushed in front and pressing professional matters shouted for my time. My friend has been as patient as Job but finally began asking if I might get it done before he died. Have you ever been there?
Pressed forward by guilt I can see light at the end of the tunnel. All that’s left to do is run some cock beading around the drawers, fit drawer bottoms and make a split turning that will flank the front corners. Right now I’m fitting the beading on the drawer fronts. It’s fussy as the miters have to be perfect. I can see why period artisans often scratched the beading into drawer fronts rather than apply them. However, installing the beading separately allows the bead to stand proud and create a shadow line. Visually it’s more effective than a scratched bead. Amazing how a small detail really makes the drawer fronts pop. In this case the beading forms a border that allows your eye to easily distinguish each opening. The bead is acting in a separating function. I’m not really crazy about this form and often wonder why designers at that time opted for the large drawer at the top. It is convenient as it places a nice full drawer up where it’s easiest to access. Part of me thinks they had something in mind aesthetically but I’m at a loss to know why. I’ll post a photo when it’s done and I can get this self imposed guilt monkey off my back. Note – If you don’t see a photo in a couple of weeks give me a dope slap to stop making excuses and be done with it.