Carving 18thC American Furniture Elements
Published by Linden Publishing, Fresno, CA, USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 161
The 18th century British and European migrants to America brought with them a knowledge and appreciation of a wide range of furniture styles. The craftsmen among them, working to provide the necessities of their new homes, began to meld these styles together, using unfamiliar species of timber.
The result was a wholly new style of furniture which is still popular today, not only in the United States, but also in many other countries. The original designs are either faithfully reproduced or are used to influence other styles which have developed locally.
The richness of 18th century American designs arises from the details - the ornate, carved motifs that give each piece its distinct character.
It is only in the mastery of these details that the furniture maker can ensure the authentic reproduction of pieces made in this style.
In this book, the author draws on his extensive experience in furniture reproduction to guide the reader in the step-by-step creation of 10 projects. His introduction reveals that he once regarded carving as too difficult - a task for which one had to be an artist. But, he continues, 'through perseverance, education, dedication and hard work', he came to believe that it is much more a learned skill. His book reflects this attitude.
Tony Kubalak begins with the Cabriole Leg, setting the format used for the treatment of all of the carvings - easy to read, straightforward text accompanied by carefully selected and informative photographs and simple drawings.
All of the projects deserve mention here in order to demonstrate the breadth of the book’s coverage: Philadelphia Style Ball and Claw Foot, Shell on Knee Carving, Carved Foliage on Knee, Applied Philadelphia Shell, Philadelphia Rosette, Philadelphia Flame Finial, Convex Newport Shell and Concave Newport Shell.
Kubalak's book will, of course, appeal to those who are, or wish to become, involved in the reproduction of 18th century American furniture. But it will also interest those who simply want to explore carving from a different point of view - one that, while being central to a specific furniture style, is capable of integration into many other genres.
Photos - Colour
1 - Cabriole Leg