2016-05-09

Chiffonier

A while ago I ordered a bunch of laser cut stuff from Ponoko (see previous post for one), among them 1:24 scale miniature furniture. I finally finished assembling the most complicated one, a mirror chiffonier. Here's a short writeup.

These types of chiffoniers were popular in beginning of 1900 Finland, they were called peilipiironki (mirror chest of drawers).

I designed it with Inkscape, using Ponoko's simple template. I verified all measurements, but since I knew there probably were mistakes that I had become blind to, I exported the plan to Blender, separated all the paths, gave them thickness, and assembled the item virtually. Surprisingly there weren't any faults (unlike most of the other stuff I ordered and didn't check this way.
 Having a nice virtual model at my hands, I made a small animation illustrating the assembly. 
Ponoko's plywood cuts come with a protective sheet on one side, and a sticky paper (for keeping the pieces together) on the other. I popped the pieces out, and took most of the charred wood from the edges with a small wire brush bit on a dremel.
I then peeled the protective stickers from the pieces, which is the most time consuming part of the whole build. There must be an intersection of people who love to peel things, and people who enjoy tedium, but I don't think I'm in that set.
Maybe I should haul all my childhood legos here... very useful for many purposes. I made the drawers with zero tolerance, so I wanted to make sure they're as narrow as possible.
After a bit of gluing. While the pieces have slots for alignment, I've left the outside surfaces (except for the back) clean, so some gluing needed. I used very small amounts of PVA glue.
After staining. I used strong instant coffee and clear spray lacquer. I also experimented with iron(II)acetate, but it gave a dull look. (You can produce it by soaking steel wool in vinegar: there is lots of material about this, one set of experiments here.)
I made the knobs from thumb tack spikes that happened to be ideal for the purpose. I had ordered a set of brass-tinted small nails for this, but they were too big.

The mirror is cut from a vinyl mirror sheet. It's not ideal, a bit uneven, but then again antique mirrors weren't perfect either. At close range it works pretty well. Maybe I'll try something else later.

(The wallpaper and the floor are just printed free textures, from Mydesigndeals and  AGF81.)
The hinges of the three doors are just pieces of copper tape. They do work, but probably not very long.
Some items for scale. I didn't have a banana. The piece is 1:24 scale (half inch scale, meaning ½" → 1'). At 7.5 cm (3") it's the equivalent of 180 cm (5' 11") in real life.

I had two of these cut, but only assembled one. If you want to buy it, assembled or DIY, contact me!

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