Sunday Sentiments ~ Catching Up and the Victorian French Farmhouse Shelf

A lovely panetiére  is for sale in downtown Dallas. The upper piece just needs to come off and be re-glued but otherwise it is strikingly beautiful! I wanted to share an image with you but alas trying to save any, even with appropriate linking of the source, caused issues.  Well… The cabinet once put together is not what I thought it might be… Let’s put it together and see what we’ve got!

A little history

First off, panetiéres are decorative pieces for storing breads and food stuff which have a central door, open fretwork in both their fronts and sides (for good air flow) and sometimes a solid back piece. The cabinet I have is less ornate than  so maybe it is a reproduction of Louis XVI style? 

Grandson of Louis XV and heir to the throne after his father, Louis, the Dauphin de France, passed away at the young age of 36.  The furniture made during his reign is much less ornate than his grandfather’s was. So this was possible.

This is where we left off 

The two panels are now glued together and then I was left wondering, “What in the heck do I have??” Well… after a weekend away visiting my daughter in Austin (drove down on Friday afternoon and just spent the day with Amy on Saturday for about 6 hours, with masks). 

We went to the Lady Bird Johnson/Texas A+M Wildflower Center (like last year), to our favorite Half-Priced bookstore, picked up Mexican food at Cabo Bob’s and brought that back to my hotel room and ate a late lunch. Nice to see her again after her visit up here for Thanksgiving last year!

So after the weekend, then a busy week prepping and doing some trainings for school, I am back dry-fitting and glueing this cabinet all together and…

Victorian Shelf

I think it is a Victorian piece or maybe up to a 1920’s French-styled bookcase/cabinet (of sorts) with three shelves and two drawers sandwiched in the lower middle. It is meant to stand on something, perhaps a small lower buffet.  My father-in-law stripped most of the paint layers of black and white off the piece but it was always painted. The original color was a soft white, which shows on the back of the curving front top piece.

Here I am glueing some popped veneer and trying to unwarp the drawer at the same time.

Using a corner clamp for the first time. This one you unscrew and sit the slots down over each side, set an angle if need be, and screw in the clamp parts. Pretty easy! 

I was hopeful it could be a panetiére but there doesn’t seem to be somewhere to attach doors and I’ve looked over where any nail and screw holes are for clues. Also, French bread cupboards are wider than they are taller. I’m okay with that as now I have another pretty shelf for displaying home decor pieces.


Photograph from when I laid all the pieces out in the yard at my inlaws’ home from
the first post.

Those extra, larger turned spindles (lower right, seen above)?? 
I haven’t a clue where they go… There are some extra holes in the top but nothing that corresponds with openings big enough for those long pegs to go into. 

A French Vaisselier | Edith & Evelyn | www.edithandevelynvintage.com

Maybe there was more than this piece ~ maybe another bigger cabinet at one time?? Maybe those spindles just belong to something else that was part of a set of furniture. No way to know, so they will become something else. Here is Cindy of Edith and Evelyn Vintage new post about this Vaisselier.  Her piece has holes drilled, I’m sure, for those decorative finials! Love it!!!

See the soft white?
Meanwhile, I got the top piece glued together before the first weekend (when I went down to visit Amy) and stacked all of the pieces indoors just incase it would have rained.

Mr. Ethereal has worked hard this summer on setting up his workshop/man cave so it is much easier to work on projects out there now! My job while he worked on that was making lists for taxes and boxing up and donating 10 large boxes of items we no longer need to our local Salvation Army, plus a bunch of old lamps and bases. The garage is now much better organized and Hubby has moved all the hand tools into his Father’s Day present, his new large tool chest! 

Still more to organize but it is coming along and Hubby is happy! He enjoys puttering in the garage like I do inside the house. 🙂

It feels good to let go of some of this stuff!!! We’ve been feeling weighted down by it all. We both wish we had sold way more things when we were at our last house… If only we’d known!

Here I am adding the right side piece, aligning each shelf and support piece into its slot and tapping the piece into place. I already added glue into this piece’s side slots before flipping it over and aligning each piece underneath. The small bracket between the lower and upper drawer shelves is quite visible.

It took that extra week to realize that a couple of cross pieces didn’t fit in the original slots that I thought they did ~ they were cross pieces. The slots are for this small rectangle piece you see (above) which fits between the two shelves keeping them separated. This piece is also decorative as it hides the hole. 😉

Originally I thought these shelves were separated far apart and the two long cross pieces went into the slots (which would make sense for a panetiére, which could have two shelves in it). They did fit side by side perfectly into the slots but then I re-examined the small bracket and realized the bracket went there instead. 

So where did these long pieces go then?? The tenons of the cross-piece supports fit exactly into the small slots you see on the side pieces at very tops and bottoms at each sides’ back (see white arrow).

Glueing a case piece together

Since I don’t have a large elevated work table to use, Mr. Ethereal suggested I work on the floor since it is nice and flat and level. (Big “Duh” moment for me!) Oh, if you haven’t seen some of the really nice woodworking shops out there, check out some on YouTube. Just look up woodworking and you’ll find some really nice ones!

Using more wood glue, an old ratty artists paintbrush I have, and some  1″ wood screws, I clamped this support bracket to the lower shelf one day. The next day I glued and screwed top shelf to the bracket and set it upright in the left-side slots, aligning the fronts and setting in the wood screws (using 1″ to 1 1/2″ screws; graciously left to us by the former homeowners for the playhouse and shed that were left over from those builds.)

The finished shelf

Now I’ll give it a good sanding and lightly paint it. I really like the blond wood so I might just add some gesso into the graining and wax it with clear wax. From the underside of the decorative header, it was painted a creamy white originally. I love white so I think it’ll be pretty when completed!!

So that’s what we’ve been up to this past month or so around the house. The garden is hanging in there with the summer heat. Blissfully, we have had some lovely winds all weekend to dry us out and lower the humidity!

There it is in all its glory! I still have to re-find the two French style drawer pulls that were misplaced. Otherwise, I love it! What do you think?

Sharing with
Hearth and Soul ~ April J. Harris

*An update as of August 2020 ~ My mother-in-law says my father-in-law was doing some furniture repair work for a long-time family friend who gave him this shelf sometime around 1995. He worked on it stripping the layers of paint but with a young grandson living at home, it was hard to work out in the shop and watch young Corey while his mom and grandmother were at work. So, Pete “shelved” working on his woodworking projects. Later, he had a serious eye injury (which I knew about) and never went back to furniture stripping and refinishing. And, that’s the rest of this shelf’s story… 💙

7 thoughts on “Sunday Sentiments ~ Catching Up and the Victorian French Farmhouse Shelf”

  1. what an amazing piece. Sort of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces! It turned out beautifully, how nice that your hubby could put this together with you!

  2. Thanks, Jeanie!! Busy day at school today but it went well. Fun kids who are HAPPY to be back at school (that'll ebb, lol!). Glad you enjoyed this post. Enjoy your week,Barb 🙂

  3. Thank you, Debra! Actually, Charles only helped find a few tools I needed at times and made a few suggestions. Other than that, I put it together all by myself. As he says, \”It's your project.\” 😉 This has been a fun project and the next one will go much quicker.Enjoy your week,Barb 🙂

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