Cupboard in the White

I’ve completed all of the woodworking for the cupboard. Here it is “in the white” as they say. Time for a little final surface prep and painting. But first I need to finish reading about the traditional paint I’m going to be using.

Cupboard in the White



7 thoughts on “Cupboard in the White

  1. Bob,
    I really enjoy seeing your chimney cupboard, a project I’ve wanted to do also. Questions: 1. Tell us about your hardware. 2. Is Stephen’s book helpful to the hobbyist and worth buying. Thanks, and happy finishing! Mark Hays
    P.S. We’ll be back in Philly before we head over to the 150th Gettysburg. Really enjoyed your reenactment shots.

    • Hi Mark,

      Hardware is nothing special. Acorn Hardware brand (made in USA!) “forged iron” series 3″ smooth H hinges and 5″ smooth spear handles from Lee Valley. These are not super premium quality like stuff from a real smith, but they play the part well for shop furniture. If you do use this kind of hardware for anything resembling a period piece though, please throw out the screws that come with it and buy some proper slotted screws. Nothing looks worse on a period style piece than Phillips head or square drive screws.

      As for Stephen’s book being helpful to hobbyists and worth buying, I’ll offer these questions to you and you can decide for yourself:
      Do you like knowing what is in the finishes you are working with or you happy to slap on whatever some factory puts into a can?
      Are you interested in mixing and using finishes that are safe, in their uncured as well as their cured form or do you like wearing respirators and bunny suits?
      Do you feel right putting a 21st century plastic finish on a reproduction of a 250 year old piece of furniture?
      Is finish repairability important to you?

      In all seriousness, I think Stephen’s book is well worth the investment for anyone interested in woodworking. Not only are the finishes discussed safe and easy to mix up yourself, there are finishing techniques in the book, like painting and graining for example, that are well worth the price alone (there are pictures of several FLAT steel doors that have been painted and grained to look like raised panel wooden doors with elaborate carved moldings and a lion’s head). There are discussions on mixing and storing finishes, and cleaning up so you don’t have to toss out your expensive brushes all the time, and proper brush technique, and proper brush care, and brush making, and on and on.

      I haven’t finished the book yet, but there’s a ton of useful information in it. I’ve used plenty of premixed commercial finishes from the can, and I’ve never been really happy with most of them. With Stephen’s guidance I’m slowly working the commercial petroleum based finishes out of my shop. I’ve been using commercial “boiled” linseed oil, shellac and wax for years, but with this book I am hoping to add a home made natural varnish to my skill set, as well as a better paint (commercial milk paint is nice, but traditional linseed oil paint is nicer) and also be able to stop using the boiled linseed with the heavy metal driers (which aren’t typically too healthy). Does this kind of finishing require a bit more dedication and patience? Maybe, but my priorities are more about using safe and natural products. I’m still learning, but I’m enjoying finishing more using these traditional products and techniques than I ever did with the more modern finishes. And I feel better finishing reproductions with something that keeps the spirit of the building process I employ. If I built reproductions with a tablesaw and router, I might feel differently. But after going through all the effort to build a piece in a traditional manner, it just doesn’t feel right to me slapping a canned petroleum finish on it. SO I for one am thankful to Stephen for sharing his knowledge and research.

  2. Thanks for showing this cupboard Bob. Knowing this larger piece of furniture was made with “hand tools only” is a great encouragement to those of us thinking about going into hand tool only woodworking, seeing what can be done. Also, thanks for the link to what looks like a great book on historical finishing. It sounds like a very different book, but I really enjoyed reading George Franks book “Adventures in Wood Finishing”. I’m sure I would enjoy Shepherd’s book as well.

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