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.

bracket_foot_Geo_II_mahogany_serpentine_COD_c1755_01a_Corfield_PotashnickHorizontally blocked bracket foot, circa 1755. (Corfield Potashnick)

Although thoughtfully constructed, the underlying flaw in this technique is quite apparent: Horizontally oriented pine does not wear as well as pine end grain.

As a result, rather than supporting the mahogany brackets clear of the floor, the bottom layer of pine has worn to the extent the brackets themselves now exhibit wear and are in a vulnerable state should the chest be shunted or dragged across the floor.

Compare the image above with those in Picture This XXVII and figure 8 in Bracket Foot Construction.

Jack Plane

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About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in Antiques, Picture This and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Picture This XLI

  1. Eric R says:

    Beside the horizontally orientated pine, these feet are quite nicely executed.

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  2. What if only the bottom lamination were end grain? Would shrinkage or adhesion be a problem?

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    • Jack Plane says:

      My only concern with this would be when the laminations shrank in thickness; the end grain block may end up being supported only by the glue bond with the brackets. That would put undue strain on the brackets and/or the end grain block could break free.

      JP

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  3. Clark Schoonover says:

    What jumps out at me is the radius on the inner face. If these were purpose made, one would think a straight or concave face would have been the choice. To me this looks like an effort to use some cutoffs, even if it flies in the face of an accepted and more sensible method.

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    • Jack Plane says:

      The chest is quality made and the radiused corner blocks, I believe, are simply indicative of the care taken in its construction. Chippendale often favoured this type of foot construction.

      Although it appears to have been practised more with horizontal corner blocks, I have also seen radiused vertical corner blocks.

      JP

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  4. Pingback: Picture This LXXXI | Pegs and 'Tails

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