The delicate interplay of glass and wood
Synopsis: The technical problems of doors with thin wood parts and closely fitted glass may discourage cabinetmakers from making more showcase cabinets, writes James Krenov. He shares ideas on balancing the function with the craftsmanship and covers proportions, curves, the main steps toward making them, and each practical step in construction. He recommends having a glazier cut the glass to fit. The article is filled with pictures exploring design options and construction methods.
It is a puzzle to me why there are not more interesting showcase cabinets around. Certainly, living habits don’t exclude this type of furniture. We do accumulate objects that are pleasing to behold and deserve a nice home of their own. Perhaps too many people have a preconceived, discouraging notion about showcase cabinets. Cabinetmakers may share such prejudices. Or the technical problems of doing doors with thin wood parts and closely fitted glass may discourage cabinetmakers. I suspect this is so.
A way of getting past these problems is to use pretentious, special-effects glass and wild wood in all sorts of bubbly shapes. Interesting, although we may be missing opportunities by not taking advantage of the effects that simple glass set in pleasing facets can create. Work with glass and wood, if it is to succeed, demands great accuracy, patience and a way of conceiving and then doing a piece that is different from what some of us have been involved with.
Someone says, “Showcase cabinets do not use enough wood!” This can be true. One is prompted (by mirrors and such) to forget, or at least to neglect, that this is in fact to be a cabinet, not an aquarium or a bar.
At first, I, too, thought showcases were not truly cabinets. Then, because I liked the function of such pieces, I attempted to…