Any plans I have encountered for the purpose of reproducing period furniture usually suffer from inaccuracies and loose interpretations brought about through ignorance of furniture chronology and period practices. Similarly, limitations arise through the advocacy of some modern tools, substandard techniques and the inability or unwillingness to use anything but trade-standard dimensioned timber.
When measuring extant furniture, I photograph it and/or make sketches that include the chief peripheral dimensions (along with any minor dimensions that differ from the norm) and references to any mouldings or carving. I also make patterns of more elaborate parts like chair splats, cabriole legs etc. as required.
Chippendale conveniently provided us with the overall dimensions of his ‘Chinese fence’ hanging shelves in Plate 112 of the Director and experience tells me the remainder of the dimensions correlate with those of commensurate shelves and related furniture: The individual shelves and sides are 1/2″ thick, the drawer fronts are 3/4″ thick, the drawer sides and backs are 5/16″ thick and the drawer bottoms are 3/16″ thick.
In order to cut the Chinese fence pattern shelf sides, I first drew a full size pattern which I then transcribed onto the mahogany. I have received an inordinate amount of feedback regarding the Chippendale hanging shelves so I have made the pattern available for download for anyone wishing to make a similar set of shelves. Pages 2, 3 and 4 of the PDF should be printed out on A4 paper to retain the scale and proportions. While not a full set of working drawings, the download provides complimentary dimensions to be used in conjunction with Chippendale’s drawing and parts one, two and three of the Chippendale Hanging Shelves series.