Thorsen House Cabinet Details

I’m wrapping up my work week and getting ready to make progress on the cabinet I’m building.  I am very close to having the skirts finished and the sub-bottom of the cabinet installed.  I also plan to spend some time tweaking Dale Barnard’s design adaptation of the original cabinet — correcting the orientation of the cloud lift on the mullion and the spacing / positioning of the mullions so that it more closely replicates the leftmost door on the original cabinet.

I’d hoped to get up to Berkley today to visit the Thorsen house, but I haven’t heard back about scheduling a visit.  I realized that this is probably finals week for the UC Berkley students that live there, so I’ll try again in a couple of weeks.  However, I found the next best thing…a youtube video of the Thorsen house that looks closely at the cabinet.  The detail shots are great, really helpful.  I’ll embed the actual video, then some details that I found that are helpful in my rendition.

The biggest surprise in the video for me was the depth of the cabinet.  It’s obviously much wider than what I’m building, but the depth (about 6.75″) looked comparable.  In the video it shows that the protrusion into the room is 8″, but the depth inside of the cabinet is 16″.  Yes, the back of the cabinet is recessed into the room!

16" deep wit only an 8" protrusion into the room

16″ deep wit only an 8″ protrusion into the room

Speaking of the inside, there are two more details here.  First, take a look at the back of the cabinet — frame and panel construction.

Frame and panel back on the cabinet

Frame and panel back on the cabinet

I was also curious about his the shelves were mounted.  Shelf pins, but with a twist.  The holes are staggered, and instead of stamped metal pins there are wooden buttons.

Shelf Pins

Shelf Pins

More details I was curios about: How is the glass held in the doors?  I don’t like the way it’s done in the design from the Popular Woodworking video, it looks too heavy.  In the original there are tiny wood strips that hold the glass in place, that would be my inclination too.

Glass retaining strips, and surprisingly - ebony plugs on the inside.

Glass retaining strips, and surprisingly – ebony plugs on the inside.

And as a bonus, I can see that the lock in the door is actually a half-mortise lock.

If you look closely you can see that the lock is a half mortise arrangement.

If you look closely you can see that the lock is a half mortise design

Speaking of the lock, what about the escutcheons?  There is a great shot of those too, they are done in Macassar Ebony instead apparently.  The head of the key is Gabon Ebony, and you can clearly see the shape of the key head, the brass pins that secure it to the key, the protrusion of the escutcheons…  Priceless!

Escutchions and key on cabinet doors.

Escutchions and key on cabinet doors.

One or two more details I want to call attention to.  The way the trim in the room echoes the shape of the cabinet is stunning.  Around the sides it follows the contour of the cabinet.  Underneath there are a pair of shaped support brackets (I’m sure they are not functional), the trim follows the profile of the cabinet and the support arms.

Look at how the trim on the wall echoes the shape of the cabinet.

Look at how the trim on the wall echoes the shape of the cabinet.

Details of the underside

Details of the underside

The details in this piece are crazy, right?  Someday I want to model the real cabinet and build the entire thing, to scale just like the original.  Right now I’ve got my hands rule with the version I’m building.  Unfortunately this week I “accidentally” looked at some pictures of Craftsman style lamps in hammered copper, mica and stained glass.  I need to make one of those too.

 

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