I have been told, do a blog.
I will try.
Try to post as often as I am able to and answer your comments

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Treasure Box III - Post #2: Inspirati

I have been pretty busy working without much time for updating my blog.
Like many cabinet maker I have a special love affair with a particular piece of furniture. Couple of pieces in fact, but one of them is a coffer attributed to Andre-Charles Boulle at the J.P. Getty museum.

I always wanted to do a copy of it, I still will but we decided that our Treasure Box III was going to be inspired by it.
The original coffer is a “simple” box with a lid, but as we like, in our treasure box series, to add a little bit of details and functionality, we have decided, to add a drop front and a series of drawers and or a till.

Our treasure box is smaller than the original. We could have kept the original marquetry, but aesthetically we believed it was better to create something more in tune to our proportion.
We kept most of the layout and the flow of the scrolls, but made plenty of changes.
First, our lock is in the lid freeing the front marquetry panel for a little more “filling” in the marquetry-wise.
The negative space in the front were probably left to accommodate a key plate and probably 2 decorative side hooks, typical on this boxes. You can still see the holes on the front of the lid were the hook catches would have been.
We also changed the bird to have one looking at us, to involve the viewer in the scenes.
The flow of the branches, the flowers, all have been redesigned to create a all new composition but keeping roughly the original layout.
On all the panels we also put more emphasis on the negative space surrounding the central bird, which is a bit lost in the original front but was very present on the sides and particularly the top.

We also changed the lid front banding with a coin design to tie more with our clover as a key plate.

On the sides, one thing I was not found of in the original was the rubans and decided to live without. So, on top of the change in proportion, removing a big element like that create a change in the flow and layout that you basically have to redesign it.
We also favored having the birds face forward, once again insisting on a negative space around the birds in the center.

The top got also a little re-treatment, not as much as front and sides but the scrolls have been a bit reworked and flowers I have drawn are placed to match the flowers the closest on the sides and front to tie everything together.
As I do my final drawings as vector lines on the computer, one thing I like to do is to check on my negative space before I go print by filling the background and check the effect. In those type of design I believe that negative space are as important if not more than your actual pieces. You can also see better the effect I was looking for by surrounding the birds with a “wreath” of negative space, installing a central composition into the overall composition. We decided to make it even more flagrant on the top for a even more dramatic effect.

This project is actually well advanced, those who follow our work on Facebook or Instagram know, but I lacked time to write and post more than random pictures. So I will try to catch up and finish this story before the boxes are finished!!!
-- Patrice Lejeune

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Treasure Box III - Post #1: Remember the Treasure Boxes series?

Remember TB I & TB II ?

Here is TB III

Well. As you can see it is not quite finished yet. But we have been really busy at the shop working on other project that I did not even take the time to post… But here we are, back on track.

Drawing is almost done, the 2 sides are finished and ready to be cut, top and front need to be verified and the back needs a bit more massaging, but it’s there.
We have taken this opportunity to clean up the veneer cellar with the “Tree Hugger”

We also have been cutting more of our own veneer, perfect sizes for piece by piece packets.

This has extended our palette quite a bit.

Our number of sawn veneer woods in marquetry pack is now in the 50’s for TB3. I am not sure we will use all of them in the project but they are packed and ready to go!
Drawing of one of the sides

All the paper cut for that side also

And the packs ready to be cut!

And why not a little extra

More soon!!!
Thanks for following

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Deco Cabinet

Couple months ago, we were contacted by a designer in LA to create a deco cabinet inspired by an elevator door in LA.

At first we worked on a trompe-l'oeil concept

Then with the deigner, we upgraded to real volume pilaster with brass rods

Patrick had bought a beautiful american walnut board in the 70's and it was the perfect piece in color and width for this project. It was big enough to make a solid top, solid edges for the doors shelves etc and saw the rest into veneer for the front and sides. Other materials would include spanilla, boxwood, ferréol and ebony sawn veneer, as well as pewter and brass sheet.

I sparyed some alcohol on the veneer to mimic the color of finish

Brass and pewter

Usually we build our furniture out of solid wood but in this case the cabinet was made with high quality birch plywood.

The marquetry elements were cut

The added challenge was that the metal needed to match the patina of other brass elements in the room. to avoid having chemical on the wood we decided to have the elements prefenished and install them later after the sanding. As I cut the elements in supperposition "Boulle" style, I had left over elements that we mounted in the marquetry and kept the final elements that recieved the patina aside.

Then the front marquetry was assembled keeping the walnut background grain flowing throught the all piece, including the kickplate.

The doors and the pilaster were veneered. For the pilaster we used ferréol a dark chocolate color wood on the front and totally black ebony for the side to create more volume.

Then the doors were sanded up to the metal

As we used liquid hide glue, Old Brown Glue, we used the reversibility of the glue to remove the dummy metal elements using heat and moisture. As the glue was still fresh we had only to use heat.

Once the elements removed

The cavity were cleaned

The finished elements could be inserted and glued with fish glue. Fish glue is the best adhesive for glueing metal on wood.

At this point I could not resist to spray some alcohol to have an idea of the overall effect.

The cabinet is glued and the door adjusted

The pilaster glued to the door and the kickplate veneer to fit perfectly the grain of the doors

The top is adjusted to fit the cabinet

The lower pilaster is then glued on the kickplate with liquid hide glue, Old Borwn Glue.

The brass rod can now be fitted in the fluting. We have installed some pegs in them that will be used to glue them to the pliasters.

Now, it is ready to be finished and delivered.