Liquor Cabinet

Dimensions: Approximately 72” Tall, 48” Wide, 24” Deep

Primary Wood Species: Walnut – Straight grain and burl, Macassar Ebony, Quilted Maple, Anigre (bleached), Poplar – both dyed and ebonized

Other Materials: Onyx, Olive knuckle hinges, Low voltage lighting


Publication:  Woodshop News, September 2009.  Page 51

This cabinet was designed in the style of pieces which were commonly seen in high end residences and apartments of the 20’s and 30’s, primarily in Europe.  Liquor cabinets or small bars were in vogue before the traditional “wet bar” was seen in residential spaces. The cabinets were intended to store various liquors, glasses and serving implements.  They were large enough to allow the preparation of drinks at the cabinet.  With the advent of Prohibition in the US, these cabinets were uncommon in the States.  Many of the better examples can be seen in furniture design from France, England and Italy.  This piece uses traditional hard woods and veneers, both in flat surface adornment and for Marquetry.

Marquetry is the technique which uses wood veneer of various species and colors to create a design, picture or decorative feature.  Frequently, Marquetry is used to depict life-like scenes.  Parquetry is wood inlay and orientation to produce geometric designs as can be seen in wood floors.

This cabinet has primarily an Art Deco influence, with some design cues taken from Asian and Egyptian motifs.  The Orchid marquetry doors were drawn and designed by myself as “test panels” for future work.  With the time and effort spent on these Orchid panels, I set out to design a piece which would showcase them well.

The exterior of the cabinet was intentionally kept in the darker tones.  The types of wood used as well as the colors were common in the Art Deco era.  The internal aspect of the cabinet is in great contrast to the exterior.  This is lined with Quilted Maple.  The base and inside of the cabinet has backlit Onyx, which provides a warm glow.  The legs are segmented, consisting of five individual lathe-turned pieces, which are stabilized by a 36” long threaded rod.  This same rod fixates the leg section to the upper and lower cabinet.

The legs provide the support for the extremely heavy upper cabinet section.  The doors open 180 degrees to offer full access to the cabinet.  There is a small drawer below the top cabinet for utensils.  The ebonized fluting and other accents of this cabinet is a design feature common to the Art Deco era.

At that time it was not uncommon to use Gaboon Ebony from Africa.  This was a rare and expensive wood even during the early part of the 20th Century.  It is still available today, but in limited quantities.  It would be prohibitively expensive to work with for large casework, but it is  often used for accents.

This cabinet was entered in the 2008 Design in Wood Exhibition in San Diego, CA.  It received a First Place in the Contemporary Woodworking Furniture category. It was also featured in the September, 2008, Woodshop News professional woodworkers periodical.  The cabinet is currently displayed in my home.

Posted in Cabinetry, Floral, Inlay, Marquetry, Marquetry Flat-work, Publications, Show Projects

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