Vlekken – Handcrafted Cabinet by Atelier Espenaer
Vlekken Cabinet - Espenaer

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90 (h) x 36 (w) x 28 (d) cm


Oak & maple


  • Meandering tiger pattern and delicately figured knots
  • Handcut box joints along corners
  • Espenaer's signature 'Triple stick' stretchers
  • Entirely crafted by hand in Amsterdam

Vlekken is a small cabinet designed to store your wine and liquor, but is also perfectly fitted for other items of comparable height and size.

The cabinet is conceived specifically to expose the natural irregularities in wood, which are often considered deficiencies and blemishes in industrial production.

A curious tiger pattern meanders along the oak case and delicately figured knots in the maple doors give the cabinet a distinctively charismatic face rivalling that of Danny Trejo. The irregularities are also where the cabinet takes its name from; vlekken is Dutch for blemishes.

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The case consists of four wide oak boards joined together at each corner using finger joints along the entire width. The boards themselves consist each of two individual boards arranged in such a way to emphasize the meandering pattern in this particular piece of oak and subsequently glued together in that arrangement.

The case rests on a set of four maple legs, relying on a variant of the butt joint.  Stretchers consisting of a series of three slim oak sticks connect the legs at the bottom for stability purposes. The sticks are mortised into the legs.

The two doors are each connected to the case with two brass-color metal hinges. The maple was specifically selected for its peculiarly shaped knots, with the most delicate figures facing the outside of the cabinet.

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Crafting history

The entire piece is made solely using hand tools. Solid oak and maple boards were cut in dimension with a combination of Western-style and Japanese-style saws to get the various components of the cabinet and subsequently planed flat with Western-style hand planes of different sizes.

The most delicate part was the cutting by hand of the finger joints for the corners of the oak case, using a very fine Dozuki saw and Western-style chisels. These were also used to cut the mortise and tenon joints used for the stretchers in the bottom part of the legs.

The wood was smoothed using a finely tuned metal scraper and bits of sandpaper and finished with three layers of pure tung oil.

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