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Help build a replica of this 1750 French masterpiece - a dressing table that converts into a desk with the turn of a key!
Help build a replica of this 1750 French masterpiece - a dressing table that converts into a desk with the turn of a key!
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101 backers pledged $8,000 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

Project Update:

Over the past several weeks, I created the top for the prototype table. I posted a brief narrative with pictures on my website,

A lumber shipment containing materials for the prototype arrived late last week. So, I expect to upload images of this in a couple of days.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

Where do we go from here?

As we close in on the project's third week, it looks like it's going to be a success (Yeah!)! I thought I'd share the sequence of events that will follow.

Once the campaign closes, I'll order the poplar, and commission the mechanisms. When the wood arrives, usually within a week or so, work on the carcase prototype begins. With luck, the mechanisms will be ready as the carcass nears completion, so they can be test fit. Procuring oak for the "real" table carcase will probably occur then too - around mid-May. The prototype, as stated in the Rewards, isn't embellished with marquetry, or ormolu. Its purpose is to help refine the table's operation in preparation for "the real thing".

By June, the prototype should be complete, and work on the oak carcase can commence. Creating the parquetry and marquetry adorning the exterior surfaces happens next, from October to January 2014. Simultaneously, the commission for the ormolu mounts occurs. The remaining six months are filled with project completion details: chasing and gilding of the ormolu, assembly, finishing, and photography.

Here is a video that explains the table's construction in detail.

This schedule has several benefits: 

  • difficult tasks are handled first: installation and adjustment of the mechanicals,
  •  embellishments take place in layers from lowest to top-most, and 
  • components are ready "just in time", reducing the likelihood of being damaged in storage. 

You can follow along through Kickstarter updates, backers receive e-mail notices alerting them to new postings, and on the Oeben weblog where I'll post pictures and video periodically.

Thank you for making this possible!

Thanks for the push

Chris Schwarz, the owner and publisher of Lost Art Press, graciously provided this project a substantial push on Tuesday with the release of this blog post: .

Lost Art Press, for those unfamiliar, breathes new life into woodworking texts of substance. I am eagerly awaiting their publication of Andre Roubo's volume on marquetry. This treatise on the topic of French marquetry methods was written around the same time as Oeben created this table. It is regarded as the authoritative resource on the topic, and will be an invaluable reference during this project.

Chris thanks for endorsing this project, and to the blog readers for your support!

Some details about the table

Since I've been looking at this piece for over one year, I forget that not everyone is as familiar with it. That being the case, here's a bit more information about it starting with the dimensions.

Height: 2 ft. 4 3/4 in.
Width: 2 ft. 5 1/8 in.
Depth: 1 ft. 2 7/8 in.

As you can see, it's really not all that large. It's covered with parquetry, marquetry on the top, and gilt bronze ormolu mounts.

Finally, the Getty has a series of detail photos available on the web:

click on the "Related Media" tab at the bottom. Click (or tap) on each photo to expand it to full size.

One week in…

Wow! I am overwhelmed with the out-pouring of support you have shown for this project. Thank you! Since I've never done anything like Kickstarter before, I've been looking through the statistics. I thought it interesting that this project has international backing (from early on!). As far as I can tell, there's been a pledge from the United Kingdom, and at least four from Puerto Rico. The project total would be greater, however several people have had difficulties with registering and signing in to Amazon. While they've offered to send the funds directly to me, that will not, unfortunately, reflect in the total. The Kickstarter admins tell me that there is no way around this. For those trying to contribute, if you do encounter errors during the process, please e-mail Kickstarter support. Thanks for your patience & understanding. The last thing that I want to do is to make life difficult for anyone wanting to support this project. More to come as I become more acquainted with the tools. Thank you once again!