What One Can and Cannot Do

You may read this as the forward to a book I have a mind to write.

When woodworking:

One can use kiln-dried timber for most purposes.
One can often employ machinery and power tools.
One can stick wood together with practically any glue or adhesive – brown or white.
One can easily lay any chosen type of laminate or veneer on a substrate.
One can colour almost any wood with ‘mahogany’ or ‘walnut’ etc. opaque stains.
One can achieve a glossy surface using water based varnishes and other low or VOC free finishes.

When creating virtually indiscernible period furniture copies:

One cannot ignore the importance of moisture in shaping solid and veneered work.
One cannot employ machinery or power tools within two processes of a finished surface.
One cannot make do without animal glue (the proper stuff, heated in a pot).
One cannot replicate the almost imperceptible fluctuations in the surfaces of two to three hundred-year-old veneered casework without the use of sawn veneer (think thin boards as opposed to ultra thin, machine-peeled sheets).
One cannot reproduce the subtle tints and shades of antique furniture without using translucent chemical, mineral and vegetable stains.
One cannot create convincing old patinated surfaces without spirit (alcohol) varnishes and mineral spirit/turpentine based oil varnishes and waxes.

… in my experience.


Jack Plane


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 Furniture Making, Materials, Staining, colouring and polishing, Techniques. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to What One Can and Cannot Do

  1. Joe M says:

    Get to writing that book!….it’s over do!


  2. Jack I understand you very well.
    For far to long the skills and knowledge built up working at a bench repairing period piece gives us a totally different aspect of understanding period furniture history which is lost when explaining to experts and scholars, dealer and auctioneers because are skills are not taught or written in a book.
    We have thanks to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc the chance to show are work throughout its progress and even show those anomalies which I do day. Together with you and Christopher Storb these anomalies of manufacture, alterations even the fakes can be shown bit by bit and explained which is alot stronger than the old school Connoisseurship of just opinions.
    Its antique furniture Archaeology which has never been taught so great if you do write a book because it will be most interesting indeed. Good luck.


  3. inorthwoods says:

    Prefect book Forward…thanks Jack


  4. Eric R says:

    The words of a master.
    Put me down for a copy of that book!


  5. tom says:

    Looking forward to you sharing some of your knowledge!


  6. Ged says:

    One cannot substitute a life time’s experience with what one reads in a book,


  7. Mike says:

    I have followed your blog for many years and have been very impressed by the detail of work you present. Most importantly for myself, your work has helped me to better understand the methods used to produce these older styles of furniture and I’ve been able to apply some of it in my work. I am very much looking forward to this collection of work. Thank you for putting your work out into the world.


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