A Contemporary Armoire In Mesquite & Cherry

mesquite armoire5

This armoire, in its final form, came about somewhat by alteration and accident. At the end of my last post, Mesquite & Cherry Gun Cabinet, I mentioned that my clients liked the cabinet so much they asked me to make a new one just like it for another family member, and I was very happy to accommodate their request. This new commission came at a very fortuitous time for me, because I was nearly out of work. “I can start right away!”, I told them.

Mesquite & Cherry Gun Cabinet
Mesquite & Cherry Gun Cabinet

I sourced my materials, which can take awhile when looking for good mesquite, and was happily into this new project by four weeks when I got a call from one of the clients.

“Well, I was talking to the family member you’re making this cabinet for and it turns out that, even though he owns a couple of rifles, he’s not really that into guns or hunting. It’s a surprise birthday gift for him. He doesn’t know anything about it. He likes nice furniture and beautiful wood, but what can we do?”

“Let me think about it and I will call you back”, I told her.

Under Construction
Under Construction

I studied what I had done.  Hummm, if I replaced the glass panels in the sides and doors with wood, made some additional interior drawers with shelves above, what would I have?

“An armoire! Now aren’t you clever”. She really liked the idea when I explained it to her. “That’s perfect. Let’s do it”.

So off I went in search of more mesquite. In the past I had depended on my friend Ray Shelton of Texas Kiln Products to provide me with good mesquite but Ray had met the wrath of the Great Bastrop Fire of ‘011 and seen everything he owned turned to ashes, his wood mill, all his lumber, and even his home were destroyed in perhaps the worst fire in Texas history. I called another friend, Brandon Berdoll, who lived a few miles west of Ray and was, thankfully, spared.

“Come on down. we’re pulling mesquite out of the kiln right now.”, he told me.

It took a couple of hours of picking through a lot of lumber that I just could not accept to find three pairs of book-matched boards for the doors and some wides pieces to make up the side panels. This is all part of the agony and the ecstasy of creating custom furniture, but in the end, when there has been the appropriate amount of agony, things usually turn out ok.

mesquite armoire1

This piece is capable of storing lots of stuff. Custom closets have been extremely popular the past few years, but why pay for a custom closet when you can have something like this?

mesquite armoire2

Routing a mortise for the cocobolo drawer pulls.

routing for pull

cocobolo drawer pull

Mesquite and cherry make for a rich combination.
mesquite armoire3

mesquite armoire4

The unsuspecting family member loved his new armoire, and in the end everyone was happy (after the appropriate amount of agony).

mesquite armoire7

If you would like to see more of my work, please visit my furniture gallery.

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8 thoughts on “A Contemporary Armoire In Mesquite & Cherry

  1. Fantastic piece. I , like your wife, don’t quite see the beauty in the natural edge but I really love the beauty of the grain and the contest in the different woods. From the picture, it looks like the door frames are cherry and the panels are mesquite, right?

    1. Greg, thank you very much for commenting. Live edge furniture really seems to be resonating with people these days. Since doing these last 2 pieces I have had several inquires and some of them are leading to new work. I think my own approach will be to incorporate natural edge boards into an overall design that is more sophisticated and moves away from the rustic or just presenting a polished slab of wood.

      Yes, the door frames and the arching corner posts on this armoire are cherry and the panels are mesquite. Thanks again.

  2. Lovely work Mr. Fry! This armoire strikes an elegant balance between function and aesthetics. Did you use loose tenons to join the upper and lower halves of the four posts?

    1. Hi Oscar,
      Thanks very much for your comments about my armoire. This piece consists of a tall upper cabinet that sits on a shorter lower cabinet with drawers. There are tenons that project out of the lower ends of the posts on the upper cabinet. These tenons fit into mortises cut into the top of the lower cabinet. This way the upper cabinet is held in place on the lower cabinet but can be lifted off for moving. In addition the top of the upper cabinet lifts off of tenons at the other ends of the posts. The sides of the upper cabinet then separate from the back and the whole upper cabinet breaks down into individual panels for transporting. Two people can easily assemble or disassemble the armoire in less than ten minutes. When the whole thing is put together, it is very rigid.

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