Imitation: The Most Sincere Form of Flattery.
Trends may come and go, but people tend to hold on to good furniture. Whether it be for its fine craftsmanship, unique design or even sentimental value, you likely have furniture in your own home that you cherish above the rest…pieces that you hope to pass on someday. This fall, a former student stopped by our shop with such a piece of furniture.
Over twenty years ago, she caught sight of a nightstand made out of maple and cherry and had to have it. This nightstand was unique in that it lacked one thing: straight lines. From its legs to its top to its drawer fronts, this piece was full of curves. She admired it so much that she hoped to one day acquire a matching dresser. Many years later, when she was in the position to purchase such a dresser, she discovered that the manufacturer had gone out of business. So she was wondering if Abbey Woodworking would be able to craft a dresser to match her nightstand.
As a shop, we don’t typically take on too many outside projects as most of our work stays in Collegeville. However, it is no secret that much of the furniture that comes from our shop lacks one thing: curves. So as a challenge or for simply a change of pace, we decided to tackle the dresser.
It may seem pretty straightforward to simply imitate and enlarge the design of the nightstand to make a dresser, but we wished to add our own touch by using solid wood, traditional joinery, and handcrafted pulls. This called us to rethink the construction of the original nightstand in order to create a dresser that would not only match its style, but also stand the test of time. This called for special attention to the most distinctive part of the nightstand and dresser: the drawer fronts.
To create their distinctive form, we could have used steam to bend the drawer fronts. However, we wished to use wood from our own forest, so we ultimately decided to laminate thinner pieces of cherry together and then bend them to the desired shape. This called for the creation of a jig, a load of clamps and some sweat equity, but proved to be the right decision in the consistency of the form created and the grain pattern.
From the pictures in today’s post you will see how the project progressed from raw wood to finished product. The dresser now stands proudly in the same room as the original nightstand, and who knows, maybe someone in the future will want to imitate the dresser that came from our shop.