A CHIP OFF THE OL' BLOCK
Fullsize and miniature versions of an antique spool cabinet.
SHOP OWNER: A.J. Hamler
LOCATION: Hartford, CT
Many of you may recall that when Ellis first set up the critique forum here at WoodCentral, I broke the ice by posting a photo of a reproduction spool cabinet I made for my wife's birthday last year. She had always wanted one, but most of the antique ones we found were either too large (five or more drawers), not in very good shape, or prohibitively expensive … or all three. I decided to make one myself, incorporating design details from several existing cabinets, and making it a three-drawer unit, which worked best for my wife. The result was this full-sized cabinet, which measures 12" high, 14" deep and 24" long. The reproduction decals for the drawers came from Van Dyke's Restorers of Woonsocket, S.D.
For Valentine's Day this year, I thought I'd make a smaller one for her desk. Unlike the full-sized cabinet, which holds her sewing materials, this one would be a repository for pens, pencils and other office supplies. I scaled down the original design and changed the proportions for its new purpose, and eliminated one of the drawers to come up with a mini version measuring 7" high, 6" deep, and 11-1/2" in length. The bottom drawer is divided into four compartments to hold smaller loose items, while the top drawer is divided in half lengthwise for pens and pencils.
Unfortunately, nobody makes reproduction decals in this size, so I managed to find a font that closely matched the decals on my original cabinet, and printed out what I needed. To simulate the "gold" lettering of the original, I printed the mini decals on yellow paper using light-gray characters with a black background. The light-gray lettering on the yellow paper simulated the gold color fairly closely. I laminated the printouts with clear peel-off plastic, and trimmed them to size to fit the opening in the drawer fronts.
To finish off the mini spool cabinet, I used the same stain and clear topcoat as the larger cabinet, making it a visual match for its big brother.. . . A.J. Hamler
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