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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New Project Eliphalet Chapin Bureau in Tiger Maple

I have been thinking about my next project and trying to find something I could get excited about.   Well, I think I have found something.  The Eliphalet Chapin Bureau  described in a book  Connecticut Valley Furniture By Eliphalet Chapin and His  Contemporaries 1750-1800. 
 I have already made three Chapin arm chairs and a desk on frame.  This would be the third piece by Chapin, so I guess I have a favorite craftsman. 



This is a picture of a reproduction of the piece in walnut, the original was mahogany.  But I think I will do mine in tiger maple.  I have some left over from another project.  The drawer fronts are described as reverse serpentine. The bracket feet are curved and slightly carved.
I am also thinking that it might look elegant with a fluted 1/4 column on the front corners.  So with these modifications I guess that I could only say that it was Chapin like and not a reproduction of the original.

Popular Woodworking had an article in February 2012 issue called Serpentine Chest by Glen Huey.  However in that piece the drawer fronts are the normal oxbow format and straight bracket feet.   

I have more research to do and of course make full size drawings before I start.  So it will be a while before I get underway.

Any comments would be appreciated.

10 comments:

  1. I will be following the build! I would like to build curved pieces like this but wouldn't know where to start. I will definitely be watching to see how you do it.

    Are you planning on staining the tiger maple?

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    1. Sean, Thank you for your comment. I will have a set of plans when I am finished you can have. Yes, I am planning to stain the tiger maple. Unlike most finishes tiger maple is usually an uneven finish to make the stripes pop for higher contrast. This can be done with water based aniline dye.

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  3. Hi David, Looking forward to the build! Will you be installing functional drawer locks or use the applied escutcheons shown on the example? Thanks for keeping the blog! Great stuff!!
    Best Regards, Dave

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    1. I will be installing functional drawer locks

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    2. I will be installing functional drawer locks

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  4. Beautiful! I will definitely follow your progress.
    I see that you have used tiger maple before with very impressive results.
    Tiger maple tears out so easily ... do you have a secret process for taming that tiger ... aside from scraping with a card scraper after hand planing? Oh do tell.

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    1. Chris, you already have the answer. I used hand planes and scrapers to get the finish. Drum Sander helps too! :-)

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  5. Hello David,
    You mentioned that you plan to use a water based aniline dye on the Eliphalet Chapin bureau. Have you ever posted any info on your stain/finish process for tiger maple.
    I have reviewed what Tage Frid had to say on the subject in his Fine Woodworking series but would very much love to learn about your process as well.
    Many thanks for your quality posts.

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    1. Hi Chris, I had posted something somewhere about the process. I just guess not here. There is not much to it. With tiger maple you want the stripes to show so you hand apply the dye which makes the finish uneven and the strips pop. Then you apply which ever top coat you wish to use. Shellac, or Tung Oil or others. I uses Waterlox which is a tung oil. Hope that helps.

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