Wood Mouldings for Furniture
As case furniture pieces are usually the largest in the room they are quite prominent, no matter how simple they may be, and care must be taken not to make their presence obtrusive by over ornamentation. The decoration used should be appropriate, sparingly applied, and of the highest quality of execution. Case work furniture approaches nearer to architectural designing than any other furniture draughting. In nearly every article mouldings, or moldings, are used that are identical with those of architecture. They are combined in the same way and their use is for much the same purpose. There are eight forms from which nearly all others are derived by combination or variation and their names are of importance as serving a means for description. The pictures illustrate these mouldings as follows:
Types of Architectural Mouldings
The fillet is a narrow, flat surface, usually above or below another moulding, and it may be either a projecting or receding member. When below the surrounding surface it is a sunk fillet.
The bead is a small, half-round moulding either projecting from or even with the surrounding surface. In the latter case there is a narrow groove at one side, and it is called a quirked bead.
The cavetto is a hollow moulding, the outline of which does not exceed a quarter circle; and the ovolo is the reverse of the cavetto; that is, a projecting member of which the outline is a segment not exceeding a quarter. The cavetto and ovolo are not always circular in outline. Any curve may be employed, but the circular or elliptical form are most common.
The cyma recta, or ogee, has a profile composed of two arcs hollow and convex, like a wave, the hollow at the top. The crown member of cornices is often made with this moulding.
The cyma reversa, as its name indicates, is the reverse of the ogee; the convex curve is at the top and the concave below.
The scotia is a concave moulding with the outline a segment of a circle often greater than a semi-circle. It is sometimes called a thumb moulding, and the hollow section is then composed of two tangent arcs of different radii.
A torus is a large convex moulding usually with a semi-circular profile. When any of these wood mouldings are used beneath a horizontal surface forming an angle with a vertical one it is called a bed mould. Later we will see that mouldings used to hold panels in place are sometimes partly above the surrounding rails. They are then called raised mouldings to distinguish them from flush mouldings which are level with the rail.
Mouldings serve various practical purposes but their decorative, aesthetic effect is to be thought of. They produce much the same result, when used as a frame, that a line border does about a drawing. The effect of light and shade on a moulding is to produce a series of lines that vary indefinitely, according to the proportions of the mouldings and its parts. A deep undercut moulding gives a heavy dark shadow, a black line; and a narrow flat moulding a light shadow; a fine line.
The position of the moulding in relation to the eye may also apparently increase or diminish its members. If it is placed above or below the eye so the mouldings ascends or descends, respectively, and recede from the eye the member will diminish in size appearing thinner than it is. On the other hand, if the moulding descends or ascends respectively the member will appear thicker than it really is.
When a moulded member is composed of two or more of the simple forms described above it owes its charm somewhat to the introduction of a fillet which separates each moulding from that adjoining. An important combination of mouldings is their use in the crown members of cabinets. We have already called attention to having this proportioned to the size of the body below ; in addition, it should not project too much. If its overhang is not greater than its depth it will usually look well but in many instances it will be found desirable to keep somewhat within this limit.
Carved Wood Mouldings
Mouldings may be ornamented by carving and when so treated care must be taken to preserve their general form. It is usual on architectural members to employ the profile of the moulding as the leading line of the ornaments upon it. Thus, the fillet may be decorated by vertical lines as flutes, fret, or dentils; the bead, by "pearls", bead and spindle; the torus by the guilloche; the ovolo, by an egg and dart; and the cymas, by the heart ornament, etc.
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