Saturday, 23 December 2017

Chippendale miniatures, update

I have made quite a few new Chippendale pieces since last year, testing various finishes and even making some bold decisions. I will not show all of these projects step by step, unless there is something special to comment on.

This bookcase was almost as difficult as the breakfront, with a lot of precision work, inserting hinges, making the doors symmetrical - in this scale, the tiniest fault is fatal. I don't have space for this beautiful piece anywhere in my large house, unless I sacrifice the old bookcase in the rear corridor of the smoking room, which I don't want to do for two reasons: it's pretty, and I like it; and it also has space for more books. Since I have made 60+ real miniature books now, I need a large bookcase. So this one just sits on a shelf until I find use for it or perhaps build a room box around it. I used dark oak stain for it, several coats.

Another magnificent piece is the broken bonnet highboy.

It looks more complicated than it actually was; it was mostly a matter of making these endless drawers that, unexpectedly after many projects involving drawers, all fitted nicely. I used mahogany stain. Sadly, in moving between rooms it lost its finials, and these are very hard to replace. This piece is now in the Pride and Prejudice room box. I have a similar kit, flat top highboy, but at the moment I don't know where to put it, so it will have to wait. Another new piece you can see in the Pride and Prejudice box is a tall case clock. It was relatively easy to make because it is similar to another clock I had made before.

I made several tables, using different finishes, for instance:

Tavern table. Easy to make. I used antique pine stain for it. It went nicely into best kitchen which I will show in due time.

Connecticut tavern table. Interestingly, I used exactly the same stain, and it turned out completely different. So this table is in the working kitchen, which you will also see soon on the continued tour of Womble Hall.


Trestle stand, painted with white wash, to match the cabinet in the best kitchen. It was very straightforward, and a lovely piece.

Duncan Phyfe library table was a bit more complicated, but no major problems. The stain is dark oak, and this piece is also in the Pride and Prejudice room box. The room also features a fireplace and mirror. I think I will write a separate post about the fireplace, but the mirror was a lot of work, but no trouble, and no parts were broken, as with the other mirror.

I also made a very complicated dining table with an extra central leaf and an intricate mechanism to insert it. It was by far one of the most difficult kits ever. I always have issues with tripod tables because I can never get those 120 degrees right, and the legs tend to fall off. So I got the difficult bit done and then spent ages on the legs. Right now they are off again, but there is no space for this table anywhere in Womble Hall so I will have to make an environment for it. Perhaps together with the bookcase above. And I'll need some chairs.

Speaking of chairs, I didn't do very well with some of those, and I am going to improve them one day. Chairs are not my forte. I can never tuck in the fabric neatly. But I need more chairs, and I have several kits waiting.

Someone in my miniature group showed a picture of a chess table, and I thought I could make one. I printed out a chess board, resizing it several times to fit, and then decoupaged it on the table top. I had never worked with decoupage before, and I am not sure I got it quite right, but I like it, and it's certainly unusual. It joins an array of occasional tables in the music room.

I made a double settee to replace the one I had before, bought from an online shop.  You can buy a lot of furniture that claims to be Chippendale, but you can tell the difference.

I made a hooded cradle that I am really pleased with. It would fit best in my Tudor house, but I have one already so I am not sure what I might do with another. I have a swinging cradle in the master bedroom.

Last but not least I have re-upholstered the Queen Anne settee that I was dissatisfied with because I didn't have suitable fabric. I bought some fabric at the Kensington dollhouse fair, and now I am really pleased. Just shows that you cannot compromise. As you know, I am recycler and prefer not to buy anything, but in this case I have to admit that the difference is striking. I have tried to use one of my husband's ties before, but it didn't work. This is perfect. I will never be stingy again.

Yet I am particularly proud of two pieces where I allowed myself to be bold. There kits are so delicate and I have had such respect for them, to begin with just staining them with mahogany, while now I am experimenting with various stains and paints. But it does take some courage - and probably imagination - to step outside the predictable. I wanted to make a particular kind of chest, and I was going to make it from scratch, but then I saw a kit, and it was a duplicate, so I felt better using it for something different. Please judge for yourself:

Finally, I took another duplicate kit to make another attempt with Adam top, and I have already shown it, but will show again:

I will write a special post on Adam furniture explaining how I made them and why, but at the moment I just wanted to show off.

I hope you enjoyed this quick walk through my most recent projects.  I enjoy making them, and I still have quite a stash. Come back soon.


  1. So pretty! I love how everything turned out!

  2. I really like how you have made some of the pieces different from how they were supposed to look originally. Makes them so much more versatile. I'm eagerly waiting for your next post on the Adam furniture.