CHERRY QUEEN ANNE HIGHBOY
Hidden compartments hold secrets for a special granddaughter.
SHOP OWNER: Jerry Cousins
LOCATION: Weaverville, CA
This highboy is a gift for my two-year-old granddaughter. Although I used to be in the "nail pounding" business, I am now making projects for myself. The total intermittent time I spent on this cherry highboy was just over a year.
This is not an authentic reproduction. I decided not to use dovetails on the drawers, but instead used a locking rabbet joint. However, I did use dovetails on the carcass stretchers and sides. The lower section sides and back are mortised into the legs. I used Blum under mount drawer guides. Although very expensive, they are totally hidden, and have a great closing action.
I sanded everything to 220, then applied three coats of lacquer undercoat, three coats of semi-gloss topcoat--sanded with 400 grit between applications, with a final rubbing with 0000 steel wool--and finally two coats of wax.
Although I had sprayed water based finishes before, this was my first time using lacquer. Since I don't have a safe enclosed area for spraying, the onset of cold weather pushed me to finish it up.
In the spirit of the period I included two hidden compartments. In the lower section, when the left hand drawer is removed, there is a release mechanism that allows a false interior panel to fall free. The space is the width of the cabriole leg's upper stock. There is a similar makeup on the right side (so it looks visually identical) but there is no compartment.
The crown molding on the upper section hides a second compartment. Removing the center drawer allows access to another release mechanism. This allows the entire molding to slide forward (not just the front piece, but the whole u-shaped molding, so the corner joints are solid) revealing a recessed tray. The molding slides on a dovetail runner.
This was also my first try at carving, a real test of patience. It afforded me the opportunity (read as "excuse") to buy a nice set of carving chisels.
It really was a wonderful and fun project to focus on, but I'm glad it's done. Although family members know there are some secrets, I am not telling them how or where. I signed the piece and left messages in each, so someday when she discovers them she'll learn a little more about me.. . . Jerry Cousins
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