Looking through my recent posts, I realized that it has been quite a while since I wrote about one of our favorite topics, the gout rocker. Starting with Behold the Lowly Gout Rocker back in January of 2014, I have enjoyed sharing with you pictures and information about the one piece of furniture I hope never to have reason to use.
First up I what I like to call “gout rocker classic”.
Next is a more rural version:
This rocker screams 1960’s:
The next item is not technically a gout rocker but is definitely on the gout appliance spectrum. This one is for people more likely to have developed gout from foie gras and prosecco than pork rinds and PBR.
To give some historic perspective to the gout appliance and help celebrate the season, I took this still from the 1972 movie of the 1969 Broadway play 1776.
In this scene, at a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, summer of 1776, John Dickinson (Donald Madden) of Pennsylvania questions the motive of John Adams of Massachusetts (William Daniels) in his push for Independency while Dr. Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia (Howard Da Silva) waits quietly in the back to spring forth with some of his legendary wit and perspectives.
Spoiler alert. the Continental Congress voted and accepted Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.. Thus a new Nation is born.
Cary, NC actually.
The extremely skilled Freddy Roman will be in the Triangle, NC area this weekend for a presentation on Friday, July 20th and a workshop on Saturday and Sunday, July 21st and 22nd, sponsored by the Triangle Woodworkers Association.
Freddy Roman apprenticed under master craftsmen Philip C. Lowe at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts in Beverly, MA. After graduating, Freddy has worked for conservation studios and cabinet shops restoring furniture, making built-ins, kitchens, architectural elements, and reproducing museum quality furniture.
In 2007 Freddy opened a furniture making and restoration studio located in Acton, MA. When Freddy isn’t working in the studio, he can be found educating the public, teaching and demonstrating across the United States.
He has been published in Popular Woodworking and has presented at Woodworking in America.
You can read more about him at http://www.periodcraftsmen.com/period-furniture.html.
Friday night he will be speaking about his work, his influences and his techniques during the monthly meeting of the Triangle Woodworkers. This meeting is 7:00 PM at the Cary Klingspor Woodworking Shop at:
This meeting is primarily for TWA members but non-members are encouraged to attend a meeting. Beyond that, they are required to join.
There are a few slots open for the weekend workshop.
Topics for the workshop:
• The art of traditional and modern inlaying
• Different methods of cutting grooves for stringing and cutting out bellflowers
• Making and installing cuff banding, cross banding, cockbeading and square edging
• Hammer veneering and toothing a substrate
• How to sharpen a toothing plane and how to make a cheap toothing plane in a
matter of minutes
• How to work with hide glue and veneer
• Benefits of shellac
and other topics as time allows.
Participation is limited to those who register in advance. To register or for more information, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost is $100 for members and $200 for non-members. There is also a $20 Material Fee.
This is a hands on class and a tool list will be provided to those that register.
Should be fun…
Back in The Tiniest of Details, I wrote about these odd little points on the sides of slant front desks at the transition from vertical to slant. There didn’t seem to be any reason for them, yet they exist.
Believe it or not, I found some more. And as always happens, within a period of two weeks.
The last found was this:
Southern Chippendale Walnut Desk and Bookcase
Description: Attributed to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Winchester region, late 18th century, yellow pine and poplar secondary, two-part form, the top featuring a bold cove molded broken arch pediment with applied carved rosettes, a larger open frieze with central applied carved and fluted plinth, with later asymmetrical carved cartouche, two hinged panel doors with applied delicate molding, shelved interior, flanked by reeded quarter columns with arched stop fluting, the desk with a hinged lipped lid with loper supports, divided interior with central prospect door opening to reveal three small drawers, flanked by two fluted document drawers, flanked by four valanced pigeon holes above four small drawers to each side, the case with four graduated drawers with scratch bead and full dust boards, again flanked by reeded quarter columns with reversed arched stop fluting, on ogee bracket foot base.
Size: 103 (to top of finial) 97.5 (to top of pediment) x 41 x 23 in (case width 39 in.)
Condition: Replaced cartouche; replaced feet; replaced pulls; cut and patch repairs at hinged at lid; missing side molding to base of top cabinet; upper case backboards and shelving likely replaced; other restoration; drawer runners rebuilt and later drawer guides.
Estimate: $1,000 – $2,000
Not germane to this discussion, it has a really interesting gallery:
More germaner, it is pointy:
This desk has smaller points:
Federal Mahogany Diminutive Slant Front Desk
Description: Mid-Atlantic, circa 1800, yellow pine and white pine secondary, diminutive dovetailed 33 in wide case, hinged lipped lid, divided interior with prospect door, six drawers and six valanced pigeon holes, four graduated cockbeaded drawers, case raised on straight bracket foot base.
Size: 41 x 34.5 x 20 in.
Condition: Replaced brasses; replaced lid hinges with cut and patchwork at hinge area; lid with cut and patch at escutcheon and lock plate; some cockbeading repair; later lopers; large mar to right side of case; feet appear to be original.
And the reason for this blog:
You can’t tell from this picture but the point is glued on and part of a thin strip of molding.
The next one is from a local antique shop and comes with no useful information. It’s wood and it’s for sale:
The last one is the most interesting of the lot. The desk is the fanciest of the lot and the point is the most integrated in the design.
Antique Continental Secretary Desk
Description: 8th century, rosewood and burlwood veneers, oak secondary, herringbone handed decoration throughout, slant front lid opens to reveal a divided and drawered interior with sliding storage writing panel opens to a hollow interior with hidden compartment, lower case with two over two graduated drawers on straight bracket foot base.
Size : 41 x 36 x 20 in.
Condition: Refinished with restoration throughout; case and drawers reworked; some veneer chips, cracks and lifting; no key; later brasses.
If you study the above picture you will note that there is no drawer between the lopers (pull out supports for the hinged slant top). If you have been paying attention over the years you will realize that this means there is a storage compartment where the drawer ought to be. This area is concealed by a sliding panel accessible from the gallery.
After examining four more desks, I still don’t know the why the point exists. In some of the desks, they might protect the lower corners of the slant but that doesn’t seem to be true of all.
No answer. I’ll keep looking.
Definition of prie-dieu
plural prie-dieux prē-ˈdyər(z), (ˌ)prē-ˈdyə(z), prē-ˈdyœ(z)\
I recently became aware of this hyphenate while reading Ron Aylor’s An Unplugged Woodworker blog. I was studying his blog in the hopes of gaining some insight as to why an intelligent and literate person might spend time reading my blog. Still a mystery.
His blog featured two magnificent prie-dieux he had built. The timing was fortuitous for me in that I had just found three of these on my trip to Shreveport and Dallas and wasn’t sure what to call them. This is another example of finding more than one of a new item within a few days when exploring a new area. My finds are not as interesting as the one he built, undoubtedly just mass-market vernacular prie-dieux of the day. I believe that I have seen more of these in the past but that was before my Great Chair Awakening of March 2017 and probably didn’t take note.
I found the first one in Shreveport:
I didn’t understand the lower seat on this chair until I did some research and discovered that most likely the upper seat is hinged and folds up to allow the one that prays to sit on the upper seat and kneel on the lower. You can see an example HERE.
The following week, I found this one at a shop in Dallas:
Also from the same shop in Dallas:
It would be interesting to know more about the life of these prie-dieux. Were they used in a residence or in a congregant worship facility? Were there cushions on the seats? I can’t believe that it was confortable kneeling on rush seats but then again, depending on the church, comfort might not have been a consideration.
Flag raising, Fort Sumter National Park, Charleston, South Carolina.
Please, if you have the first Common Influence blog, get the revised one. Through a careless error, I swapped some detail pictures and conclusions.
I really need to get a better copy editor.
I’m down South now spending time in Shreveport via Dallas. It’s easier to fly into Dallas with a few more things to see there as well. Only a three-hour drive to Shreveport with plenty of diversions along the way. Efficiency in transport is not always a priority.
My first stop was at the Dallas Museum of Art to see whatever might be on display of the American furniture from the Bybee Collection, 98 pieces of primarily New England furniture collected by Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee of Houston. The entire collection is not on display but just enough to make it interesting.
There was a display highlighting two similar period chairs:
More on the Bayou Bend Collection when I have the energy to post all the pictures from there.
The two chairs seem to be from the same family but there are differences. From the display card:
First, the legs:
Then there are the similarities in the squared off backs:
And in more detail:
And down bellow:
The carvers of both chairs are better than I am but I think the New York chair is the better carved of the two. The Virginia piece seems a bit flatter, in one plane; the New York chair is more rounded, more three-dimensional as it were. It could just be the different regional styles.
I will be back in Dallas soon and would appreciate any suggestions you might have for things to see beyond the Woodcraft and Rockler stores.
Just because I have written a blog on a subject doesn’t mean I suddenly stop finding things of the blog. They’re out there and I keep finding them. Lacking any adult supervision, I can, if I so choose, share some of the more interesting of these finds. I so choose.
Following up on More Work Than Necessary is this diminutive chest:
That blog was about doing work that wasn’t required such as joining a case with half-blind dovetails in situations where the pristine area is then covered with a crown molding. Like this:
Nice work but they could have just as easily done through dovetails. It’s under the molding, the end grain of the tails would never be seen.
Sidelocks Not of the Religious Variety dealt with chests locked by a hinged rail the runs up the side of a carcass that when closed and locked physically keeps the drawers from opening. A recent discovery is this one:
Every sidelock I’ve seen has been on the right except for the rare example that were sidelocked on both sides.
The drawers were constructed with Knapp joints meaning it was most likely built between 1890 and 1900. No dovetails.
I just found this diminutive sidelocked chest:
Locking a chest this side confuses me. It is very portble. It here are things of value with, it’s gone.
Finally, I celebrated a misunderstood category of seating in Corner Chairs. Or Are They? My relentless search for this obscure chair has rewarded me richly with rare images of this underappreciated decorative arts form. I will present them to you in increasing levels of sophistication:
I looked through page after page of corner chair pictures to search in vain for the precise terminology to describe the decorated top rail on the above chair. If you know it, please share.
Yes, you read it right. There are two of these available!
Many say that brown furniture is dead. There are times I fear they are right. Take a recent auction. It wasn’t a great auction but it wasn’t a bad auction either. Nothing fabulous but no box lots.
At the end of the auction, I reviewed the results and was alarmed by what I saw. The most expensive piece of furniture was this:
Southern Yellow Pine Painted Jelly Cupboard
Description: Late 19th century, green wash, top with downswept backsplash, hinged doors with shelved interior, on bootjack feet.
Size: 54 x 37 x 20 in.
Condition: Likely original surface, with paint loss and staining throughout; shrinkage cracks; later hinges and pulls.
This struck me as the type of money paid for antiques by people who hire people to buy antiques for them. Or there is something about the provenance that I am not sufficiently sophisticated to appreciate.
The later hinges and pulls were of the Ace Hardware variety, not period or even attractive. Mercifully, drywall screws were not used.
More troubling was the prices realized for some of the other furniture. Like this:
George III Mahogany Chest on Chest
Description: 18th century, oak and pine secondary, two-part form, applied cove molded cornice, two over six cock beaded drawers, raised on straight bracket feet.
Size: 67.5 x 58 x 25 in.
Condition: Chips and losses to cornice; shrinkage cracks to both sides of case; breaks and loses to cock beading; later re-drilled pulls; no key.
The American Classical Miniature Chest of Drawers on top went for $290.
An interesting thing about this chest on chest started life as a tall chest:
You can see in the above photo that the back was sawn at the drawer blade. It would have been interesting to have examined how the upper chest was terminated.
Another underappreciated chest was this:
English Hepplewhite Inlaid Semi Tall Chest of Drawers
Description: Circa 1810, mahogany, light and dark wood inlays, pine secondary, top with projected corners, with line inlay frieze, six graduated drawers with triple banded inlay and corner fans, raised on square tapered legs with spade foot.
Size: 56.75 x 39 x 20 in.
Condition: Top reset with later nails; later pulls with re-drilled holes; some looseness to case; no key; shrinkage crack to left side of case.
At 56.75″ it’s only Semi Tall? As I’ve said before, we need some enforceable Federal standards on furniture terminology.
There were also these small rectangular blocks with stringing glued to all upper corners to match the sides being proud of the drawers and drawer blades.
This chest also went for far below retail:
American Federal Cherry Chest of Drawers
Description: New England, circa 1800, white pine and chestnut secondary, five graduated lipped drawers, raised on later Queen Anne style feet
Size: 42.5 x 36 x 19 in.
Condition: Replaced feet; replaced pulls; several areas of lip repair.
No dovetailed drawer pictures. It means that the drawers weren’t dovetailed (not all are), the chest was difficult to get to or I forgot. Forgive me.
The last undervalued piece is one that I personally benefited from:
Southern Walnut Tilt Top Candle Stand
Description: Early 19th century, circular top, ring turned standard on spider legs.
Size: 26 x 16 in. diameter.
Condition: Refinished; later metal bracing to legs; crack and repair to top; repairs and chipping to leg joints.
It is ironic that I bid on this (over that interweb thing) on Saturday, picked it up on Monday and left on Wednesday for Building the Hancock Shaker Candle Stand with Will Myers class at Joshua Farnsworth’s new Wood and Shop Traditional Woodworking School near Charlottesville, VA. Even with the 18% buyer’s premium and 7% sales tax, the old one was cheaper than the class. And no hotel stays required.
The next most expensive piece of furniture was a 24 x 24 x 31 in. Butcher Block Table that sold for $1100. The legs were turned. Next was a Contemporary Industrial Bookshelf (with no redeming social or aesthetic value (to me)) that fetched $1000.
If you are a fan of quality furniture, I think you see you can do quite well for yourself at an auction. You might have to wait a bit to get exactly what you want, but I hope you consider it before you go to the mall furniture store.
Is brown furniture dead? I dunno but I not feelin to good myself.