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Thread: If You Don't Like MCM, How About Empire?

  1. #1
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    If You Don't Like MCM, How About Empire?

    I needed a model for a blog post. Doodled out an Empire-style table with a brass rail and ring pulls. It's based on one made in France around 1890.

    Empire Table

    As with many other pieces I've posted, I just drew what already exists. If you want to redesign it, have at it.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  2. #2
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    I'm actually not sure where the lines blur between Empire and Federal end up. Looking at it it seems that this piece is leaning towards Federal maybe? a little more? If there is a decent overview of how the style morphed somewhere that would be interesting.

    I'm sort of a fan of the lesser decorated (I hesitate to say "sparsely" because they aren't really) pieces from that era, some of them are overly gaudy for my personal taste. This is a pretty good example of the variant on the style I find attractive. It has nicely understated classical lines and is a nice example of how some subtle features (like the curved fronts on the shelf) and really enhance the eye feel of a piece. I could see skipping the gilding on the top but I don't think it would change the feel substantially.

    How would you do the attachment from the lower shelving to the legs? It appears that the shelf is just inset into the leg a smidge, but that seems like it might not offer sufficient support (especially since the grain angles would be funky to get a good glue joint)?

  3. #3
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    Good grief, Dave...your renderings look downright photographic!
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  4. #4
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    Thanks Vaughn. I didn't really think it was that good a render but I didn't spend much time on it.

    Ryan, I don't know where the line is between Empire and Federal. Maybe it has to do with where the piece was made and when. Maybe Empire implies France around the period they had an emperor.

    the brass rail and edging on the top aren't my cup of tea, either. I'd skip it if I were building the piece.

    As to the shelves and the legs, the original piece is over 100 years old and it survived just fine. (I expect someone will come along and tell us it's impossible to attach shelves that way and that I should change it.) I don't know if the legs get notched for the shelves or what. Perhaps the shelves get coped to fit the legs and a dowel is used. I kind of avoided detailing them and just let the corners of the shelves extend into the legs. It wasn't important for the purpose of the model.
    Last edited by Dave Richards; 07-28-2014 at 04:57 PM.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Richards View Post
    I don't know where the line is between Empire and Federal.
    I think I'm also confusing French Empire style with american empire with french second empire in some cases which doesn't help me bucketize things very well either. From the overviews I'm seeing there is substantial overlap in the timelines so I expect that absolutes in differentiating the styles is somewhat difficult to get cut and dried.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Richards View Post
    As to the shelves and the legs, the original piece is over 100 years old and it survived just fine. (I expect someone will come along and tell us it's impossible to attach shelves that way and that I should change it.) I don't know if the legs get notched for the shelves or what. Perhaps the shelves get coped to fit the legs and a dowel is used. I kind of avoided detailing them and just let the corners of the shelves extend into the legs. It wasn't important for the purpose of the model.
    Yeah the fact that they've survived this long implies that there was some thought put into it and it works. The coping and dowel idea sounds plausible.

  6. #6
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    Dave the owners of sketchup owe you for doing one heck of a job to show its capability.

    I like this piece but that liking is from the perspective of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think one would have to have the home and decor set up to make it fit and i was not born into aristocracy. What i cannot imagine is how the brass gets cleaned without affecting the wood finish.

    But i find i am somewhat contradictory in my likes too, i like Shaker stuff because it is simple and functional and i don't treat furniture as artworks well not that i have any furniture that is worthy of anything.

    If i had a piece like this it would please me to see but having survived bringing up two boys it would have caused more conflict,trying to protect it from them, than it was worth . I am not into making a home a museum like my one aunt did to her place where you always met and visited in the kitchen unless someone in the family had died then you got to go into the living room.

    The top tends to say to me there should be a tray insert that can be lifted to serve something from. Gives me the feeling the tray is missing.

    I do like the leg design with all its fine detail, the ball at the end seems out of place yet is practical i guess. I would also be curious as to how those shelves were secured. Especially given we know these types of pieces have survived the years. Again one has to factor in that riff raff like myself and my kids would not have been the custodians of pieces of this kind so just how much abuse the remaining pieces have been put through remains a question to consider. Still a great deal of furniture of this kind survived voyages across the Atlantic in lesser vessels than a container ship of today.

    Nice piece Dave but your renderings have a big hand in bringing the beauty to life. Thanks for sharing it.
    cheers

  7. #7
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    empire approved! good one dave!
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  8. #8
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    Change the pulls to these and it would pretty much pass as a federal piece.

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    I wonder when Dave will be able to get his hands on a 3d fabricator that will be able to print these creations. The renderings already look so realistic, it would be cool to be able to build it in the computer, then just print it out!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    I think one would have to have the home and decor set up to make it fit and i was not born into aristocracy. What i cannot imagine is how the brass gets cleaned without affecting the wood finish.

    But i find i am somewhat contradictory in my likes too, i like Shaker stuff because it is simple and functional and i don't treat furniture as artworks well not that i have any furniture that is worthy of anything.
    In some ways I can see a familial relationship between this and some shaker pieces. I would certainly grant the differences but in some ways it's a measure of the details than of overall design. Pretty sure that that will be controversial But it wouldn't be that big of a stretch to remove all of the decorations, leave the legs square (light tapper maybe) and remove those (lovely) curves from the shelves and what are you left with? Something very at home in an early 1900s farmhouse. Where you draw the lone between them But this would be a fantastic point to start from.

    I suspect that cleaning the brass would be quite easy if you had sufficient numbers of servants to take care of it

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