Building Art Nouveau furniture?


There are a lot of "how to" books out there on furniture building and general woodworking techniques, but I can't seem to find any resources on building highly skilled stuff such as Art Nouveau furniture. I have a well equipped shop and a few years experience producing your basic, run of the mill pieces, such as raised panel cabinets and case work along with simple lined pieces such as Craftsman, Mission, Shaker, Federal, basic Queen Ann and the like. I'd really like to experiment with the funky curvy Art Nouveau style, but I'm not sure how to get started other then trying my best to copy a photographed piece I like. I guess what I'm looking for is a few project plans or a book that can teach me techniques of building this style. Yes, I want to be spoon feed!!! Can anyone make a recommendation?
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Some clarification please. By AN do you mean basically flat components pierce with curvilinear openings or full blown 3-D sculpted forms, and we're not just talking about half rounds on the outside edges of flat curved parts?
Here's an excellent example of one extreme
http://www.heitzmanstudios.com/artnouveaubuffet.html
and here's more on him and his equiptment. The 3-D router machine is pretty amazing - and confounding.
http://www.jeffgreefwoodworking.com/int/heitzman/index.html
There was also an article in Fine Woodworking perhaps a year or so ago about a guy who makes AN style pieces - that are a little less over the top. His work is more 2-D rounded edges curved parts - can find the specific issue if you really want it.
The style isn't exactly the most efficient use of wood since most of what you start with must be removed because of the curvilinear shapes. Just finding the larger stock to work with may be a problem - and paying for it may put a BIG hole in your wallet. Or you could do a lot of strip glue up to get the basic forms - but making it look like a single piece of wood is not trivial, involving bandsawing and stacking - in order - your thin strips - and THEN making the forms to glue them up on. Steam bending is another skill that you'll probably need, though not all furniture grade woods can be steam bent..
You also need to know how to do "blended" joinery since one part flows into another. And since there are few edges, carving and shaping experience and tools are needed. Again, due to concave and convex surfaces, you'd need to make your own custom scrapers.
To get an idea of ways of doing the blended joinery, find and watch the tape of Sam Maloof's rocking chair construction and Mark Adams'Joinery video http://www.marcadams.com /
Depending on how Art Nouveau - y you want to get, you may spend the next ten years of your life learning to make this type of furniture.
Best of luck and post pics as you go - please.
charlie b
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Thu, Jan 26, 2006, 7:17am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (TimmyD) doth plead: <snip> Yes, I want to be spoon feed!!! Can anyone make a recommendation? Well, you ain't gonna get spoon fed by me, already went thru that with my sons.
I'd say check google for books on making it, probably a book out there somewhere, written by someone.
If you can't find a book on it, I'd say look until you find a picture of something you think you want to make. Then I'd say find plans for a conventional version of whatever, and modify them to look like what you want to make. If you're not sure of any part of it, use scrap wood and make a prototype of that particular part. If you're still not sure, I'd say repeat. Then, if you're not sure about the whole thing, get some cheap wood and make a complete thing. You won't be out so much if it doesn't come out too good. Then sell it when you're finished, and get better wood and make another.
I'm not much of a fan of that style myself.
JOAT You only need two tools: WD-40, and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape.
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