Good news and bad news on the Crucible Type 2 Dividers. We will have 101 pairs for sale at our open day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at our storefront.
The bad news: We had to raise the price to $120. Steel prices are going up every time we order, and we are even lucky to have a supplier of steel at this point. I’ll be on hand to show people how to sharpen them (it takes only a minute). If you can’t attend, you can watch this quick video here.
If we have any remaining from this batch of 101, we’ll put them up in the online store next week. (Also, we are making more today.)
Other Important Information for the Open Day
Health and safety: Our ZIP code has just crossed over into the “accelerated” classification for COVID spread, and so masks are recommended indoors. Likely we’ll be wearing them. We ask that everyone maintain 6’ distance – so no hugging Megan or French kissing me.
Blemished books: We have a bunch of them from the last 19 months. Blemished books are 50 percent off retail and are cash only. Sorry, we cannot ship blemished books.
Meet the staff: The entire Lost Art Press staff will be on hand at different times during the day – not just me and Megan Fitzpatrick. That means you might get to meet Kara Gebhart Uhl (our managing editor), Meghan Bates (customer service and designer) or John (co-owner).
We don’t know how many people will show; we hope it’s fun and not a slaughterhouse madhouse.
Unlike most kitchen design books, “Kitchen Think” is a woodworker’s guide to designing and furnishing the kitchen, from a down-to-the-studs renovation to refacing existing cabinets. And she shows you how it can be done without spending a fortune or adding significantly to your local landfill.
Yes, there are hundreds of pretty full-color photos of well-designed kitchens, which are organized into 24 case studies throughout the book. They range from the sculptural (kitchens by Johnny Grey and Wharton Esherick) to kitchens of a more recognizable form.
But there’s also a heavy dose of practical instruction: how to build cabinets efficiently, how to make a basic kitchen island, how to build a wall-hung plate rack. Plus butt-saving advice that comes only from experience – like how to maximize space in inside corners, how to scribe cabinets and countertops into odd spaces and how to make sure you’ve left ample space for hardware.
All of this is built on a foundation of research into kitchens from the past. Hiller’s historical perspective on design might just change your mind about what makes a good kitchen.
Widths of door stiles & rails Bottom rails are almost always wider than top rails on old cabinet and furniture doors. Sometimes stiles are the same width as the top rail (before material is removed for fitting the doors), sometimes not – and sometimes they are dramatically different.
Dimensions of face frame stiles and rails (in addition to where they appear) For example, a true period look for cabinets predating the widespread use of mechanical drawer slides requires intermediate drawer rails. Even if you plan to mount your drawers on full-extension slides, you should incorporate rails between them to evoke the look of those that once supported web frames.
Hardware What kind of hinges were used, and how were they attached? If the doors were hung on butt hinges, were they mortised into the door and face frame, or only into the door? What is the length of the hinge? How wide are the leaves? Are the pins removable or fixed, and do they have finials? What is the finish?
Hardware position Note the distance of the top and bottom (and center, if applicable) hinges from the ends of the door. Note the position of drawer pulls, doorknobs or latches; door hardware was commonly installed approximately halfway or two-thirds to three-quarters of the way up on base cabinet doors and similarly spaced in the opposite direction for upper doors. They were not usually located in the upper or lower corner, as is typical of cabinet doors today.
Are doors and drawers inset, overlay or half inset? Drawer faces were sometimes half inset even though the doors in the same set of cabinets were fully inset.
Moulding profiles It should go without saying that moulding profiles are important. They can vary enormously and are one of the most distinctive and delightful details in a period kitchen. If you cannot replicate a profile yourself, you can usually have it done in the species of your choice by a millwork shop willing to custom-grind knives. Just be sure you order extra, as there will usually be a hefty set-up charge along with the grinding fee, and different batches can have dimensional variations invisible to the eye but great enough to cause headaches during installation.
Edge treatment of half inset drawer faces These may be eased, quarter-round, beveled or moulded.
Proportions of graduated drawers Along with the proportions of face frames and door components, one of the least-noticed and most critical aspects of historic kitchens is the proportions of drawer faces. Many cabinetmakers make the mistake of building all the drawer faces in a stack to the same size. Not only does this look terrible, because when viewed from above (i.e., from normal standing height), the bottom drawer will inevitably look smaller than the rest, and so, out of scale. It’s also not how drawers were traditionally sized. You can make as many adverse comparisons as you like between 19th-century cabinetmakers and the furniture made by those who worked in the golden zone of northeastern American states during the late 18th century, but even oft-maligned Victorians worked with a tradition grounded in classical proportions. This was one of the first and most important lessons I learned from Roy Griffiths in 1980.
Toe kicks Are they flush (i.e., does the bottom rail of the face frame go all the way to the floor) or recessed? If the toe kick is partially recessed – i.e., if the face frame stiles extend down to the floor with inset toe kicks between them – note the rhythm of this variation. In some cases the stiles are full-length only at the end of each cabinet run, with the kick recessed everywhere else. In others, the stiles may run down to the floor on each cabinet.
You are probably familiar with the reproduction bookcases at Monticello, a portable shelving system designed by Thomas Jefferson for his personal library. The individual boxes could be easily taken apart and temporary fronts were nailed on to protect the books during transport.
And Jefferson did just that when he sold his library to Congress in 1815.
I don’t know what happened to the originals (if anyone out there does, please holler). But there are nice reproductions at Monticello. I’ve built several versions of the bookcases through the years. Once for the library here and many other times for customers. They are a lot of work, but they’re fun (if you like cutting dovetails). Free plans are available here.
This week Mark Firley sent me some photos of another reproduction at Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, which was his retreat from Monticello. These are painted a beautiful red, but most of all the details are similar to the Monticello bookcases.
I have a student who can’t make the Anarchist’s Tool Chest class that begins tomorrow morning (Aug. 2) at 9 a.m. If you’re local (or want to drive overnight) and want to join the class, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read more about the class here.
These German-made sharpeners are exactly what we would make. They are brass, nicely machined and you can purchase replacement blades so the tool will last a lifetime. Plus the price is great, from $8 to $11, depending on the seller.
I love the Mobius+Ruppert 602. It’s a heavy disc of brass that has two holes: one for oversized pencils like ours and another for the more standard-size pencil. The blades come sharp, and the knurled exterior makes it nice to hold while you work.
I also have the M+R 604, which makes a beautiful long bevel on slender pencils (it won’t accept our 3/8”-diameter pencils).
I bought mine from Thackery LLC, though you can find them at many artist supply stores, including Blick, which is also a great place to buy replacement blades.
As always, we are not sponsored by any of these companies. They don’t even know we exist.