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ElgaKoster

Federal sewing/writing tables

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ElgaKoster

Since late 2011 I have been making two different sewing tables, when I made the first of these tables I was very green in my knowledge of woodworking techniques, something that I didn't do and regretted later on was that I didn't use a secondary wood for the small drawer or dovetail joints. An omission that I was able to rectify later on with a special order for a table that now resides in the Kathleen Savage Browning Collection in Maysville, Kentucky. These tables were also used as writing tables so the tabletop rises for a writing slope and the drawer has compartments for ink bottles, etc.

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Here are all the pieces for the first batch of tables, in total I made five of them. I used mopani for the tables and the inlay woods are Madagascar palissandre and yellowwood.

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Lisa Salati who now owns this table and designed and stitched the petit point on 67 count silk gauze is one of the people who encouraged me the most when I started out on this journey. Lisa's inspiration for her petit point design was this fire screen in the MET museum.

http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/3679?rpp=20&pg=1&ft=fire+screen&when=A.D.+1600-1800&where=United+States&pos=5

She did a wonderful job in downscaling this design and I love how her silk color choices compliments the wood colors.

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A back view of the table, I made all the hinges myself, there are no commercial hinges that would have worked for this table. In 2011 my first year at Castine, I took Bill Robertson's hinge class, at that stage I have never worked with any metal, this table wouldn't have been possible to put together without applying the techniques that I learned that year from Bill. My husband set himself the task of making the casters for the table, he has never made anything like this before, I think he did pretty well.

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With this sixth table I was able do change the few things that bothered me about the first five, I used a secondary wood, South African yellowwood for the drawers and also made dovetails for the first time in my life.

After these first tables some more people wanted tables but I didn't want to repeat these again, so after some searching I found one that was quite unique in the way it was put together and proceeded to make eight of them, six of them are finished and the last two almost.

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This one was one of the first tables I finished, generally I sell my furniture to people who want to upholster them with their own petit point but in this case I was commissioned to do the petit point as well. This was the first piece that I charted myself, quite a learning curve. The original piece that I charted dates from the second quarter of the 18th century and you can see it here. It is stitched on 72 count silk gauze.

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Furniture-Lighting/a-george-ii-needlework-panel-second-quarter-5228634-details.aspx?intObjectID=5228634

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For one of the tables I covered the big drawer with a silk bag, one of the things I like working closely with my clients is how different the tables end up looking.

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And once again the embroidery for my own table is still in progress, I am cross stitching this on 75 count silk gauze and charted the design from a image of an antique embroidered piece that is part of a book published in the 1800's. The original image is on page 159 of this free Gutenberg ebook.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/41717/41717-h/41717-h.htm

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Debora Beijerbacht

Those are very nice tables, Elga! Thank you for sharing. Great you can be so productive now that you can work full time on miniatures. And these are very appealing too, catering to the taste of any petit pointer :)

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NellCorkin

These are just stunning, Elga; and your husband did a great job on the casters!

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lsalati

I am bringing mine to Castine this summer, so you can see it in person.  It is so lovely and I am such a fan of the casters.

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ElgaKoster

I am so sorry I am going to miss seeing the petit point you stitched for the table, I really love it.

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Elizabeth Gazmuri

These are beautiful tables Elga. I'd love it if your husband would post a tutorial on how to make the casters they are great too.

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ElgaKoster

Elizabeth, I have a few photos on my blog, I guess the best way to make casters if you want to use a lot of them is to make a master one and have them cast with the lost wax process, I don't know if there is any shrinkage involved with brass. The cup part that fits on the table leg is straight forward to turn on the lathe as is the wheel. Here is the link to my blog for the rest, just bear in mind that at this stage we knew nothing and my husband made the jig because he was making 20 casters, I have seen classes advetized here for learning the process of lost wax casting, but that involves lots of expensive equipment, ideally I would like to find someone who can do it for me.

http://elgakoster.blogspot.com/2012/02/making-casters.html

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Elizabeth Gazmuri

really interesting and great work. 

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Wm. R. Robertson

That is just a fantastic project and I love the way you have carefully chosen the grain in the mopane, it really looks so to scale. It is also a wood that shows off you crisp work.

Thank you for sharing it.

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Corky Anderson

The tables are wonderful Elga.  Seeing them makes me very excited about the various possibilities for finishing the one you are making for me.  I am really looking forward to seeing Lisa's table in Castine this year.  We will miss you in Maine and I hope you are planning to come next year.

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ElgaKoster

Oh, yes Corky, I do want to come to Castine next year, I am going to miss seeing you all!

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