Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Women Servants' Bed Room II

I bought a set of four oak cabinets from an auction in Bristol, with the intention of fitting these into the former women servant's bedroom at the castle. From the auction photo (below) I initially dismissed the cabinets as being from the wrong period (20's, 30's, 40's?) for Balintore. However, when I viewed the cabinets in person, I realised they were perfect, well-constructed oak units that transcend period. A friend of Balintore later worked out these are 1930's by looking at drawer jointing.

cabinets in auction catalogue

I initially thought the extensive 7.12 m of cabinetry would look good along the far 7.54 m wall, but Gregor thought this would look too regimented, and eventually I agreed with him on the basis that it would narrow the seating area round the fire. Instead we gave ourselves the challenge of fitting the units round the window opening in the photo below, with some walls at 45 degrees. We do not make it easy for ourselves. :-) Eventually, I made paper patterns of the cabinets, so we could shift these around a plan of the room, looking for the best fit. Some cabinet doors are absent, some cabinet doors are different sizes and the cabinets themselves are different sizes, so getting an array of irregular cabinetry to fit round an irregular wall was never going to be easy.

Gregor was his usual cynical self about using drawings, as he much prefers working with the physical and cutting things to fit. However, as I had spent good money on the cabinets, I did not want any false starts resulting in irreversible and incorrect cuts. Playing with the paper patterns showed me there was only one solution, and this was not the one I had expected, or indeed the way Gregor has started laying out the cabinets. I handed the paper patterns to Greg and asked him to work it out for himself. Without looking at my solution, he arrived at the identical layout. Phew! We had just avoided a wrong start.

I tried to convince Gregor that the paper cut-outs were not drawings but little models, :-) but he was having none of it and I had dragged him well off his comfort zone. Before starting, he needed to understand for himself that this was a viable solution. At the end of yesterday, he said he had worked it out for himself with door sizes. :-) He was all for ditching the cabinets and just using the doors and drawers as it would be easier to make things fit by building a new bespoke carcass. I expressed a strong preference for using the units, and eventually Gregor formed a conserving plan of attack: removing the worktops first and using these as a guide for fitting i.e. working with the physical.

This morning, I thought I should take a photo of the cabinets (below) before whole-scale butchery took place. You can see the top of the nearest cabinet has been removed.

cabinets in women servants' bedroom before butchery

Gregor pointed out the "useless" paper patterns which were now lying discarded upon the floor. :-)

discarded paper cut-outs of room and cabinetry

By the end of today, modulo worktops, the butchered cabinets were largely in place (see below). Gregor has done a great job as in making things fit, living up to his catch-phrase of "I can make it fit".

cabinets in women servants' bedroom after butchery

Watch this space for further progress in the women servants' bedroom ...

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