15 January, 2009

Woodworking - Part III

Paint on Wood


Painted wood is history.

Pigments used to color wood go back to prehistory when our primitive ancestors used colored earth, clay and blood to make their wooden utensils special, magic...or just different, prettier than the clan next door....or to identify enemies who meant only harm.

(1) Bedside chest in painted, distressed Alder - 30" wide X 22" deep X 28" high

This alderwood, 3 drawer COD (See, you are learning.) is a design that comes from a transitional region between modern day Germany and France, Alsace~Lorraine.

It is a plain chest, except for the arched patterns drawer fronts with the carved French Fluer-de-Lis pattern and embossed background. The bun feet and stolid structure give it a Germanic aire, holding the French tracery at bay.

The finish is a casein (milk based) paint and burnished with a dark wax which sets off the carvings and mouldings.

(2) Santa Fe style bookcase - 34"wide X 15" deep X 54" high

The harsh climate of the Rocky Mountains , the high plateaus and plains of the Great Basin and the Sonoran desert southwest require that furniture be able to withstand extremes in temperature and humidity.

I made this bookcase as a testament to the craftsmen, largely untrained or educated in sophisticated techniques. Yet they built sturdy and robust furnishings for their adobe, rusticated stone and log homes. The real object might have set upon dirt or stone or ragged wood flooring. The joinery was bold, strong, pinned mortice and tenons and hand raised panels. Any hardware, including nails would have been a luxury and used judiciously.

The client asked that I distress the painted finish to look as though the piece had been well used for a century or more. It is a overlay of crackled paint laid on stain and wax and scumbled earth colors, burnished with an dark English wax.

(3) 18th Century Swedish Blanket Chest - 78" wide X 32" deep X 48" tall

When the designer asked if I could replicate a Swedish blanket chest, I told her that it would be a joy and a priviledge, given my Scandinavian heritage. Her client wanted authentic hardware, joinery and paint. AND, she wanted it to look like it had traveled the long road from Sweden to the Rocky Mountains, loved and used by generation after generation.

I provided a drawing and color scheme that matched the designer's requirements and set about researching hardware.

One of the best blacksmith, tool maker artisans in Colorado agreed to make the hardware to match the originals from 18th century Sweden.

The case is all Ponderosa Pine, hand dovetailed and hand planed to replicate the original structure. I made certain that the color and patina and level of distressing would closely approximate the original rustic painting.

AND... it was all a fake, the hand forged hardware, cabinetry and painting are a sham. They simply do nothing except look good.

The case held a remote controlled, television lift and swivel that would sit at the foot of the clients bed. The interior was all structured to hold the lift/swivel mechanism, the cable and VCR/DVD players and all the wire management needed to work all of the electronic gadgetry!!!!

So goes the work of a post-modern furniture maker.

1 comment:

  1. You have some lovely work.
    The blanket chest cracked me up with the remote. Authentic!