Author Topic: Best Sources for Period Construction Details  (Read 4114 times)

tanner thompson

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Best Sources for Period Construction Details
« on: January 30, 2010, 02:09:55 PM »
Hi

I'm a young guy and a new member here. I'm wondering what some of the best sources for design and construction details are concerning period furniture. I'm really interested in handtool only woodworking and period furniture reproduction, especially Queen Anne and Federal time frames.

Thanks
Tanner

al Spicer

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Re: Best Sources for Period Construction Details
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2010, 03:32:35 PM »
Tanner,
Welcome to SAPFM.
IMO a good starting point would be any of the Franklin H. Gottshall books Published by Dover. Construction of American Furniture Treasures by Lester Margon is also a good source. If you are just starting in furniture making I would suggest you get American Furniture of the 18th Century by Jeff Green it has tons of good information in it.
Hope this will help and good luck with your furniture building.

Al

jim vojcek

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Re: Best Sources for Period Construction Details
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2010, 06:14:02 PM »
Tanner, I have found QUEEN ANNE FURNITURE by Norman Vandal to be very good.  If you are also looking for hand tool technique, WOODWORKING magazine is very good. However it is not just hand tools.  The editor, Chris Schwartz has a number of hand tool DVD's.  Chris is very good on basic hand tool
 technique.

      Jim Vojcek

albreed

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Re: Best Sources for Period Construction Details
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2010, 08:37:11 AM »
Tanner-Welcome to the furniture nerds nest.
Jonathan Fairbanks wrote a book on the history of American furniture "American furniture 1680 to the present" or something like that. It has some accurate sketches of construction.
The Early Pine Furniture of New England" ( I think) by Russell Kettell has a bunch of construction details, as does the third volume of Nutting's Furniture Treasury, although it's mostly earlier stuff.
If you really want to learn how to build this stuff correctly you need to go to an auction preview and start turning stuff over. Don't be bashful, they don't know whether you're a buyer or not.
Some museums have exploded view pieces. Williamsburg, Historic Deerfield and I know Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH has three Federal pieces reproduced in sequence and taken apart ( I made them and they're on loan)
Beware of books written in the 40's and 50's ,as they tend to change stuff or just gt it wrong when it comes to the details of construction.
You can also take classes from some of us who have done this for a while-myself, Phil Lowe and the Headleys among others.
Good luck and keep asking questions-Al
Allan Breed

Jeff L Headley

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Re: Best Sources for Period Construction Details
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 04:44:58 PM »
Tanner, While you still have a chance. Turn around and run away. The course you have taken will only lead to more unanswered questions with many pitfalls but unimaginable pleasures by the doors it will open up for you. The main thing to consider is wood moves across it's grain seasonally. It shrinks a little more each year than it swells. This is a given. If you keep this in mind all else is design and open to your interpretation. There are only a handful of joints. It is all in how you use them in conjunction with the woods movement and with the other joints. Wouldn't it be nice if life was that simple. Look (at your local library) in the back of "Furniture of the Metropolitan Museum of Art". There are some nice detailed construction pictures there also. I do agree with Al. Auctions are an excellent idea. Watch getting a number though. It is easy to leave with more than you came with and I did not necessarily mean knowledge.

albreed

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Re: Best Sources for Period Construction Details
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2010, 07:38:07 AM »
I'm with Jeff, the Met. book is definitely one of the best for good close-up details-Al
Allan Breed

Bob Mustain

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Re: Best Sources for Period Construction Details
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2010, 10:31:58 AM »
Tanner,

Welcome to SAPFM!  I would agree with all the suggestions made by Al and the others (except for the tongue in cheek suggestion from Jeff that you run away!) for books and classes.  I would add Carlyle Lynch and V.J. Taylor to the list of authors.  One thing not mentioned by any of the others is getting involved with a regional SAPFM chapter.  I could not find your address in the member directory but if you are within a day's drive of any of the chapters I strongly suggest that you attend a meeting.  Not only are the demonstrations a great way to learn about aspects of the craft that you haven't mastered, but the meetings will also introduce you to some wonderful craftsmen in your area.  No matter what you want to learn someone will have some valuable experience and I've never met a group of people more willing to share their accumulated wisdom.  Enjoy the ride!

farms100

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Re: Best Sources for Period Construction Details
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 05:22:04 PM »
Tanner,
Welcome to SAPFM.
IMO a good starting point would be any of the Franklin H. Gottshall books Published by Dover. Construction of American Furniture Treasures by Lester Margon is also a good source. If you are just starting in furniture making I would suggest you get American Furniture of the 18th Century by Jeff Green it has tons of good information in it.
Hope this will help and good luck with your furniture building.

Al

I have a cautionary tale about the Gottshall books.  I ended up with some duplicate books because when it was reprinted they changed the title. It wasnt a big deal I sold the extra to a woodworking pal for what i paid.