VALENTINE GIFT FOR A QUEEN
A mahogany lingerie chest in the 18th Century style.
SHOP OWNER: Walt Segl
LOCATION: Pleasant Valley, PA
This project started last winter when my wife asked me to make a lingerie chest for her. Of course it had to be in 18th Century style and fit in a little alcove in the master bedroom.
The design was inspired by elements from several Philadelphia pieces that appear in Israel Sack's "American Antiques." The lower five-drawer case is a chest on frame, and the jewelry case on top is a 12-drawer cabinet. I had a defined width to start with so I used the Golden Rectangle to develop a set of pleasing dimensions. After arriving at the overall dimensions I was able to divide it into units and design the chest and cabinet. The drawer dimensions were derived using a Fibbronacci progression.
I wanted to incorporate several features I hadn't attempted before including carved trifid feet, egg-and-dart molding and a hooded bonnet with broken scrolled arch pediment and flame finials.
The piece is constructed from highly figured ribbon mahogany and lacewood (thanks, Ellis!) with poplar as the secondary wood. The finish is aniline dye, boiled linseed oil and padded shellac. Grain filling wasn't an option, so it took about ten coats of brushed shellac to fill the pores. I scraped the surface level then padded on three more coats of shellac and rubbed out the finish.
It was a fun project which, as always, took about twice as long as I anticipated. It didn't quite make the Christmas deadline this year but it sure was a hit as a Valentine's Day gift!. . . Walt Segl
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