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A Simple Square Case Gets A French Lesson

My Hepplewhite book case is out of the clamps and I have been playing around with my new scrumtrulescent Super Chute shooting board to miter the integral bead inlays. I took a break from that detail to glue up the pediment so I could fit it to the bottom of the case. Technically speaking this wasn’t really imperative to do now, but I’m sure you all have had that guilty moment where you just want to see what your piece looks like when it is assembled so you skip ahead a few steps.

I glued the entire pediment together with a straight piece across the back and the half laps make for a sturdy piece. Once I have added further glue blocks and attached it to the case it will be very strong. So here is the first look of the simple case set upon the feet assembly.

It is really startling what adding these feet does to a simple square case piece and I am really happy with the look. Here is a closer shot with the bead detail along the bottom shelf.

I am really almost done with the piece as I only have to flatten the top and I’ll be routing a classical pattern around the top edge. I thought about doing it by hand, but that would involve stopping to sharpen some molding planes and my wife is already tapping her foot about me getting this done.

I have begun testing various colors for this project and it has been a fun experiment in creating colors by mixing various dyes. Honestly with so many great quality premixed stains and dyes out on the market this doesn’t have to be done. However, my stocks are a little low right now and I don’t really have time to order anything new so I’m mixing to create colors I don’t have. These two samples are an attempt for a vintage Cherry. I think with a few more coats I could get there, but the purple tint to the darker sample got me thinking.

So I used some General Finishes Danish Teak oil based stain straight onto the pre treated Pine (using Charles Neil’s Blotch Control) to get a feel for that color as a base.

I wasn’t happy with the quantity of brown in this so I started over and went directly to Shellac. By combining Transtint concentrated dyes into a 1 pound cut of super blond Shellac I came up with this interesting color.

It is 3 parts Honey Amber with 1 part Cordovan and with the Shellac carrier it dries very fast and continues the sealing that the Blotch Control started. It is a little intense for vintage Cherry, but the hint of Mahogany feel is nice and knowing that this piece is going to live in a fluorescent lighted space I wanted the colors to be intense since those light really wash and cool a color. The sample shown is actually two coats so it is a little darker and I think I will keep to that schedule and top it off with General Finishes Arm-R-Seal since the piece will probably take a beating in the classroom. If all goes well, I will get some shop time this weekend and be able to finish it off.

I’ll leave you for now with this fluffy shaving shot while I was smooth planing the trim pieces. It seems like a zen like way to end.

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