Bobbie inherited a secretary from her grandmother a few years ago. The best we can determine, it's around 100 years old. Her grandmother had received it through her mother. Bobbie remembered it being in her grandparent's home when she was a young girl. It had some decorative wood strips on the windows that deteriorated over the years and kept breaking apart. Her grandmother helped it along a little as pieces separated. Finally, all of the strips were gone except a few that were left to keep the glass from rattling.
Below are a few pieces of the original strips that appear to be a three-ply assembly.
We researched similar secretaries online and found several of the style we have. All had similar wood decoration on the windows, so that gave me a starting point.
My first step was to layout the pattern within boundaries I created in SketchUp. That allowed me to determine the number and size of the strips. The cabinet itself appears to be mahogany but I decided to use cherry for the strips because I have a lot of off-cuts and it was to receive a dark stain anyway.
I milled some pieces to 1/2" thick, then cut strips about 3/16" from them on my bandsaw. Next, I ran them through my drum sander to take them to a fat 1/8".
I decided the best way to join the pieces was with half-laps, so I set up a 1/2" flat bit in my router table. After determining the locations of the dados, I batch cut the strips as needed.
Fortunately, all of the pieces fit together pretty well. After glue-up, I let them set up overnight, then ran the assemblies through my drum sander to smooth the joints and filler where I had to use it in a few places.
I made my own color of oil-based stain using some brown mahogany and ebony mixed for the first layer. Then, I added some red mahogany for the next layer. After giving the stain a couple of days to dry, I hung up the assemblies to spray some rattle-can lacquer on them.
Here's the before and after appearance of the secretary.
Momma's happy, so now we all be happy now!!!