Monthly Archives: January 2015

Ladies Beavers and the Sign of the Female Ass

I have reported on eighteenth-century trade cards before (here and here) and am happy to post these interesting and curious trade cards that are recently come to the fore. Trade card of hatter, Catherine West, circa 1733-69. (Lewis Walpole Library) … Continue reading

Posted in 17th and 18th Century Culture | Tagged | 10 Comments

Picture This XLI

I recently came across a rather nice mid eighteenth-century mahogany serpentine chest of drawers, the bracket feet of which are supported by horizontally laminated pine blocks. Horizontally blocked bracket foot, circa 1755. (Corfield Potashnick) Although thoughtfully constructed, the underlying flaw … Continue reading

Posted in Antiques, Picture This | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

I’ve done My Number Two…

… chest of five chests of drawers that I’m making for the up-coming book. The second chest of drawers is a five-drawer Queen Anne chest from around 1705. The pine carcase is veneered with (locally grown) English walnut and the … Continue reading

Posted in Books | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Suitable Spirit for Varnish-Making

When making spirit varnishes for polishing furniture etc., the gums and resins (colophony, sandarac and shellac etc.) are dissolved in ethyl alcohol (ethanol) – or more acceptably, for safety reasons these days – Industrial Methylated Spirit (IMS) or simply, ‘meths’. … Continue reading

Posted in Staining, colouring and polishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Report on Forest Trees of North America

North America is vast and by North Americans’ own frequent admissions, everything there is bigger and more profuse than anywhere else. We’re all vaguely aware of the prodigious amounts of oak, pine, walnut, ash and cherry grown in – and which … Continue reading

Posted in Furniture Timbers | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

To Make Tortoise Shell Japan

Talking – as I was, with someone the other day – about the various methods I employed to simulate tortoise shell (and indeed, ‘tortoise shell’) on an earlier girandole and chest of drawers I made; I herewith append (as promised) William … Continue reading

Posted in Staining, colouring and polishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Man’s Figure…

A man walked into my workshop today, uninvited, unannounced and reeking of stale cigarette smoke. He had apparently heard rumours of the goings-on in my shed and had taken it upon himself to investigate. He walked straight up to a … Continue reading

Posted in colouring and polishing, Staining | Tagged | 13 Comments

Pickering & Chatto Sale

If, as I have, you’ve longed after Fanny Hill’s Bang-up Reciter but have struggled to cough up the asking price, then now is the time to pounce. Publishers, Pickering & Chatto are making forty of their major works available at … Continue reading

Posted in Distractions | Tagged | 1 Comment

Making a Stand

I used to make quite a few of these one-piece folding book stands from off-cuts of mahogany, oak and walnut etc. They are simple to make and have always proved welcome gifts. My interest in making bookstands was renewed again … Continue reading

Posted in Antiques | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Pinch and a Punch for the First of the Month

From Samuel Pepys’ diary entry for the 1st of January, 1662: Waking this morning out of my sleep on a sudden, I did with my elbow hit my wife a great blow over her face and nose, which waked her … Continue reading

Posted in Distractions | 7 Comments