A George III Mahogany Cabinet-on-Chest – Part Six

Glue blocks were positioned round the periphery of the cabinet top to positively locate the cornice (fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Cornice locating blocks.

With all the cornice mouldings worked and glued to the cornice frame, I rubbed split corner blocks into the internal corners of the frame and rubbed some small blocks along the inside of the front, back and sides – just below the top edges – to support the top board (fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Corner blocks and glue blocks in place.

The top board consists of a couple of pine boards which were rubbed together and then nailed into the opening in the top of the cornice (fig. 3).

Fig. 3. All sealed up.

Fig. 4. The finished cornice atop the cabinet.

Cabinet doors

In departing from the original cabinet-on-chest in one small detail, I will not be applying paterae to the four hollow corners of the doors. I have restored pieces of furniture with paterae in the past; some of the paterae were contemporary to the pieces and some were not. I restored a linen press for an English dealer in the mid eighties and of the seven paterae present (none of them original to the piece I might add), there were five different patterns! The paterae on the doors of the cabinet I’m copying do appear to be contemporary, however I simply detest the things; and as a seemingly equal number of similar bookcase, cabinet and linen press doors exist sans paterae, I will overlook these ones.

I made up the simple rectangular door frames and glued the diagonally joined spandrels into the internal corners. Next I marked the hinge positions on the cabinet and door frames and cut them in. Brass sliding bolts were let into the top and bottom of the left hand door and a brass cut lock was let into the right hand door.

The door panels will be retained by 1/4″ astragal moulding: The straight sections were made with a scratch stock, while the two circular astragal mouldings for the spandrel arcs were turned on the lathe (figs. 5 & 6).

Fig. 5. Turning the spandrel mouldings.

Fig. 6. Spandrel and circular astragal moulding.

I popped the astragal rings off the MDF faceplates and cut them into quarters. The  mouldings were then mitred and glued round the internal edges of the door faces. An additional length of astragal moulding was glued along the inner edge of the right hand door to conceal the inner edges of the two doors when closed (fig. 7).

Fig. 7. The finished door frames.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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