“All craftsmen make blunders, but what separates the truly great ones is the ability to redress their mistakes.”
Regular reader, Burbidge, emailed me about an aspect of the mahogany linen press in figure 1. It conforms closely to the drawing in Thomas Chippendale’s Cabinet Maker’s Director and was almost certainly made by him: The bracket feet are horizontally blocked; a largely uncommon method favoured though, by Chippendale. The drawers and press doors have S-shaped escutcheons and commensurate steel locks – another feature almost exclusive to Chippendale’s workshop. The deal surfaces have all been treated to a red wash, once again, typical of Chippendale’s work.
As one would expect with casework of this pedigree, the backs are panelled rather than simply boarded over. Each back comprises floating panels within a mortised and tenoned frame (figs. 2 & 3).
If one examines the panelled backs, it will be seen that the central muntins of the two backs are out of alignment. So what’s going on?
Someone made a significant cock-up; that’s what’s going on! Both panelled backs were inadvertently made the same width (the correct width for the rebates in the lower carcase).
In ameliorating the overwidth upper panel, rather than remaking the whole back (or at a minimum, planing both stiles equally), the left stile, alone, was planed away until the frame fitted into the rebates in the upper carcase – not a craftsman’s solution where I come from!