What a coincidence - I found myself in York at the weekend, at a Council meeting
of the Yorkshire Dialect Society, and we (SWMBO & I) decided to avoid the usual
‘business trip’ mentality of rushing there, being closeted for a couple of
gours, and seeing all the sites on the road out of town (again)
We stayed for a couple of nights, and took time out for a family lunch, and a
visit to Fairfax House, where the furniture collection of Noel Terry - a
chocolate magnate - is displayed.
Quote - 'A beautiful collection of furniture brings the house alive and creates
a special feeling of warmth. It evokes a life once lived in comfort and
grandeur, vividly recalling a lost world of townhouse-living in the 1760s.’
Superb furniture, well displayed, with a dining table groaning under the
foodstuffs shown. The room guide was intrigued when I grovelled under the
table to check the construction, and I was able to point out that the centre
section was built as a drop leaf, gateleg, table - the rule joints being the
tell tale from the edge view, and the gate legs adding confirmation. The semi
circular ends were fixed with table forks, and would act as independent console
tables when not required, or would link to become a cosy round table for a
When I explained all of this, and showed how the table forks and rule joint
demonstrated what I was saying, she became very helpful. As I stood in the next
room, I heard her talking to a colleague, repeating what the ‘gentleman’ had
said, and pointing out my researched details.
But the point of this post is to say that upstairs, in a slightly shady corner,
stands a piece with a chinoiserie scrollwork section. The scrollwork is superb.
Fine, delicate, crisp. I overheard the room guide saying, in awed tones, that
the maker was so clever, they had stuck the wood together so the grain was in
different directions. That is - they glued up 3 sheets of sawed veneer to
create plywood. I was able to corroborate this with a photo. Unfortunately,
the item was in a dark corner, and I was banned from using flash, so I wasn’t
able to prove or disprove the assertion that it was pine.
If it was, then it was old growth, fine grained, and coloured to look like
mahogany. Below that part, some dentilled moulding ran around, the dentils
were, individually, about an eighth of an inch cubular. Also very crisp, and
very mahogany looking. A section had gone, about an inch long, and could have
been revealing a pine ground, or not, difficult to tell without better access
One of the takeaways, for James, is that the design allows plenty of space that
would allow in tools and abrasives for smoothing, and I would state that the
work used both. Look at the straightness and crispness of the straight
sections, the smoothness, the absolutely circular round parts. And - observe
the simplicity of the overall item. Truly, less is more, and simple work,
executed to a ferociously high standard, is work to be judged by.
Anyhow - I’m placing some photos on the albums pages headed "Richard's Snippety
images “ so you too can experience the delight that chocolate brings to
> On 2 Mar 2023, at 13:03, James DuPrie wrote:
> I've been playing with making scrollwork - cutting patterns out with a
> coping saw. Like the cast iron 'scrollwork' found on victorian stuff -
> fines, flowing curves, etc.
> I've figured out things like dealing with weak cross grain (design around
> it or build panes so there ISN'T cross grain) and such, but I haven't
> figured out how to smooth the cuts. filing and sanding work for areas where
> there is a lot of room, but in areas where there are acute angles coming
> together, there simply isn;t room to get in and sand. Add int he
> complication that the surfaces are all curves (so you an't use a nail
> file), and I'm stuck.
> Maybe its my coping saw techique, but the surfaces simply aren't good -
> rough, ridges, bumps, etc....
> any ideas?
in the most northerly county, farther north even than Yorkshire