Doors For Bookcases

Plate 29 in the Drawing Book.

astragal in a piece of soft steel, and fixing it in a notched piece of wood, and then work it a a gage / but before von work it, run on a gage for the thickness of the astragal ; and after you have it'orked the astragal, cut it off with a sash saw, by turning the board on which the sweep pieces are glued on an edge ; then having sawn one astragal off, plane the edge of your stuff again, and proceed as before.

" For gluing up the rabbet part, it must be observed that a piece of dry veneer, equal to the thickness of the rabbet, must be forced tight into the caul ; and then proceed as before is gluing two thicknesses of veneer for the rabbet part, which icill leave sufficient hiding for the glass, on supposition that the astragal was glued in five.

" The door being framed quite square, without any moulding on the inner edge, proceed to put in the rabbet pieces. Put, first, an entire half oval, and screw this to the inner edge of the door, and level with it ; then jump up the other half oval to it, and screzc it as before, which completes the centre oval. Next fix the square part, having been before mitered round a block and keyed together, after which, half-lap the other quarter ovals into the entire oval where they cross each other ; and into the square part, liping(? lipping) it into the angle of the door, put in the horizontal bars for the leaves to rest on, glue on the astragals, first on the entire ovals, tying it with packthread to keep it on, then the straight one on the outer edge of the framing, fitting it to the oval, lastly, miter the astragal on the square part, and every other particular will follow of course.

" With respect to the doors on Plate XXIX. i Fig. 265;, all of them may be made on nearly the same principles, at least the rabbet parts must ; As to fixing any part of the ornaments introduced in these doors, this is easily done, by preparing a very strong gum, which will hold on glass almost as strong as glue on wood."

It is curious that the two who are generally regarded as essentially the practical cabinet-makers of the later eighteenth century, Hepplewhite and Sheraton, should both boggle at these doors with shaped astragal lattices. " Hepplewhite & Co.," as we have seen, frankly cut the Gordian knot by suggesting that they should be made in metal and painted. They do not pretend to give any succinct directions for the manufacture of the pieces which are illustrated in the Guide, and may therefore be excused for ignorance of the construction of these shaped lattices ; but what are we to say of Sheraton, the practical cabinet-maker, the professed teacher of his fellow-craftsmen, and one who was never tired of pointing out their ignorance and his own superior knowledge ? He evidently borrowed the idea of these latticed doors from other cabinet-makers, but it is more than doubtful whether he ever made a single example with his own hands, or even watched the process of manufacture by others. An astragal moulding in a door of this kind formed of five thicknesses of veneer glued edgeivise is an absurdity which hardly needs pointing out, and the idea of " jumping " {i.e. bending) ovals between blocks should never have entered the head of a practical cabinet-maker. Sheraton's explanation is involved—as are all his constructional descriptions in the Drawing Book—and was probably never sufficiently comprehended, even by himself, or the notable omission of the method of housing the central ribs of the astragals which form the rebates for the glass, and the way to secure the glasses in, would have occurred to him. He was also not aware of the undesirability of the internal angles in Xos. 2 and 4 of Plate 29, Fig. 265, if the lattice be constructed in the proper manner—which would inevitably cause the glass in the sections on either side of the central rectangle in No. 2 and above and below the central shaping in No. 4 to break with any change of temperature.

It may not be out of place, for the purpose of showing the contrast between the methods of Sheraton and those in use in cabinet shops, not only of the present day, but also during the eighteenth century, in the making of these lattice doors, judging from the specimens of the work of this period which have survived. We will take as an example design No. 2 of Plate 29, re-drawn in Fig. 266 A, as being straightforward, and easy of comprehension, although the same methods will apply to all the patterns illustrated.

The framing of the dooi is first constructed, tenoned, and mortised together, rebated on the back and moulded on the front inside edges with an ovolo moulding which will intersect with the astragals to be used for the lattice. This is shown in Fig. B, where both the ovolo and the astragal sections are indicated. The usual way is to polish the ovolo before gluing up the framing of the door, in order to avoid the " dirty corners" which are inevitable when internal moulding angles are polished. When the door is framed together a panel of deal is cut to fit in the rebate, and on this the design of the lattice is carefully set out, with double lines of the same distance apart as the thickness of the astragal mouldings. Where these lines cross, a simple bisection will give the profile of the mitre for the intersecting mouldings, as illustrated in Fig. C. The various shapings are next cut out from wood the thickness of the style-depth of the ovolo on the framing, or that of the astragal. These shapings are, of course, cut the same width as the finished astragal, and they are then sent to the moulding machine to have the bead and double fillet worked. In the case of the work of the eighteenth century, the astragal would, of course, be moulded with the " scratcher," a piece of steel cut out to the reverse of the section required, and inserted between two pieces of wood notched out for the purpose. Fig. D is an example of a primitive " moulding scratcher " which is still used in many of the smaller shops, especially in country districts. The moulding for the central rectangular frame in the door which we are describing, would be worked

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