Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Handles for the Caskets

When I started this quest, we had a full hardware set at my disposal to make molds from.  That included a set of handles for a double casket.  Some caskets had side handles and/or a top handle to use to carry the piece.

This was a big debate for me and Richard as handles are very difficult to install, especially on the double casket or the flat casket with doors.  The small compartments that fill all the space make it hard to access the inner side of the left and right side where the hardware cotter pin would need to insert and fold over.  And the situation would make it impossible for the cotter pins to fold over a second time and be hammered into the wood to really secure the handle to hold the weight of the casket.  So in the end, we decided not to include the handles in the hardware that comes with the caskets because they increased the cost and could in certain situations cause danger to the finished piece from unknowing people.

Of course, people have been asking for handles.  I have delayed offering them until there was a compelling reason to do it.  The short flat casket (used for the Harmony project) and the trinket box are the most compelling reasons and so I have decided to do one casting of the handles for those who want to add them as 'jewelry' to their casket.  The HUGE caveat is that other than the trinket box lid, there is no situation where I would recommend them to be used to actually lift or carry the boxes.  But they do look good, I have to admit.  

There are two handle sizes - small and large.  The small one is 2 3/8" long and the large is 3" long.  They come with the two escutcheons and the cotter pins to install as well as the four nails per escutcheons to nail them onto the box.  I will be offering sets of them on installment payments as they will be a pre-buy.  I want to do only one casting of these and so on November 1st, 2019 I will put in the casting order and then will fulfill any paid in full or installment orders once they arrive.  Tin and Brass will be offered.  

Small handle on top with its escutcheons and cotter pin (not shown are nails) and large handle on bottom with its escutcheons and cotter pins (not show are nails)

I have taken quite a few pictures of the handles laying against different caskets and situations so stitchers can decide on sizes and if a handle makes sense for the designs they are working.  They work less well for stumpwork unless well planned in.  They look beautiful on caskets that are done in low relief.  And caskets could have a top handle with no side handles or vice versa.

From an installation point of view,  putting the handle on the top of any casket or trinket box is easy.  They can also be put on the sides of the trinket box, short flat casket and flat casket without difficulty.  But putting the side handles on a double casket or flat casket with doors will be a huge challenge.  To do this, you will need to have a very long set of needle nose pliers to reach the cotter pins to expand them in the hole so the secret drawers can be reinserted.

In all situations, the holes for the handles will need to be drilled by you before the casket is covered.  In extraordinary circumstances you could drill the hole after using a large awl to make a pre-drill hole if the box has already been covered with embroidery.  I would use a hand drill and not an electric drill so you could go slow and not shred your embroidery.

Small handle shown on top of double casket lid
Small handle shown lifted on the lid of a double casket.  The cotter pins will be tight and will allow the handle to be placed in a up position for decoration and to limit the blocking of the embroidery
Large handle shown on the side of a double casket.  This is the lowest position that the handle can be placed because of the next layer of drawers.  Again, never lift a heavy casket by the handles as they can't be installed properly for lifting.  They are decorative.
Close view of large casket handle on side of a double casket.  The cotter pins and nails are not installed in this picture.
Example of the positioning of the large handle on the side of a short flat casket.  The casket size is a great for a handle on the sides, but it interferes with the high relief stumpwork of this particular design.  
Small handle shown on the lid of a flat casket (this would be the same look on a flat casket with doors and short flat casket, they all have the same lid size).  
Large handle shown on the lid of a flat casket (this would be the same look on a flat casket with doors and short flat casket, they all have the same lid size).  
Size comparison of the small and large handles on the top lid of a flat casket
Small handle on the top lid of a trinket box

Small handle on the top lid of a trinket box 
Small handle on the top of a trinket box, held up to show how it can be left in the lifted position to add to the decorative effect.  In this case, the handle can be used to lift the lid off the box without a problem.

Small handle on the side of a trinket box.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Video of Five Senses Embroidered Cabinet

Here is a video exploration of my latest finish - a double casket worked in tent stitch over 20 count linen.  The piece is finished following the traditional manner of where silk and paper linings are used.  

This is a capstone of almost 20 years of work to get to this point.  

The videographer (my son) had fun working on the video, making new slider equipment and buying macro lenses.  No robots to build anymore!