Building a Chippendale Broken Bonnet Highboy

I’m working on a miniature Chippendale Broken Bonnet Highboy, which in real life was popular in the early 1700’s in America.

The broken bonnet designation is descriptive of the pediment capping the main chest.  The highboy is basically a chest of drawers on top of a lowboy, which is a smaller chest of drawers usually with one long shallow drawer at the top and three drawers below it, one with ornate carving, and featuring cabriole legs.

This piece with a continuous straight or hooded top piece became popular during the William and Mary period.  The broken bonnet style became popular much later in the period, toward the Queen Anne period.

Chippendale embellished the pediments with finials and pieces like this one were built from solid mahogany.

I did some basic assembly of the lowboy portion and the highboy portion leaving the backing boards off each so that staining would be easier because I can get to both sides of the inner drawer casings with a brush and cloth.

The original design called for just gluing the finials on the top of the bonnet.  This makes for a fragile design susceptible to breaking these delicate parts off the bonnet when I’m staining the piece.  So I came up with a way to secure them on much more strongly using miniature medium rail spikes with the flat end snipped off.

I predrilled small holes matching the diameter of the rail spikes in the bonnet surface.  The rail spike in each finial serves to secure it to the top with much more strength than just a glue joint.  I will also finish the finials separate from the top and later glue them on with 2-part epoxy.

Likewise, I use 1/16″ dowels with predrilled holes in the lowboy underside where the cabriole legs are to be attached.  I’ll finish the lowboy and the legs separately, then glue them on the dowels in the lowboy later with 2-part epoxy.  The dowels will reinforce them so they will be less fragile.

I also use predrilled holes and dowels to join the lowboy to the highboy and the bonnet to the top of the highboy section, for added stability.

After a final sanding, I applied the sealer on all the end grains of the wood pieces, then I applied the base mahogany stain evenly over all the wood.  All the pieces are now drying overnight and tomorrow I should be able to work on applying the first coat of lacquer and glaze stain.


Miniature Disneyland Train

I just completed another miniature stainless-steel sculpture that is Disney-themed, in celebration of our recent vacation in Orlando, Florida at Disney World.  This time I decided to construct a miniature Disney Railroad steam engine, like the one we rode on at Disney World.

This sculpture took me about 6 hours to complete.

Magical Carriage

Last weekend I spent about 6 hours between Saturday and Sunday building another Disney-themed Metal Earth stainless steel sculpture kit.  This time it’s the Cinderella Carriage.

This kit was a little more difficult than the one I tackled last weekend, the Mickey Mouse Ferris wheel, because of all the very delicate parts that had to be precisely bent and connected.  Especially difficult was the central carriage pod which had to be partially rounded and then connected to the base.  I used a large roll of wide masking tape to form the curvature of each section before joining them and attaching to the base.

The wheels were also challenging because the “tread” was not connected together but only to the wheel rims, so care had to be taken to make sure nothing looked too crooked when it was connected.

All in all this was a very enjoyable and challenging kit to build.  I look forward to the next one.

Building a miniature Mickey Mouse Ferris Wheel


As a follow-up to my miniature Cinderella Castle, today I built the Mickey Mouse Ferris Wheel from a Metal Earth kit to celebrate our recent vacation in Disney World.

Yes I know this ferris wheel is at Disneyland in California, but I wanted to build it anyway. :). The actual time for building this miniature ferris wheel was about 4 hours.

The finished model looks pretty good: