In 1999, Furnitureland South increased its showroom space by opening the Mart building, adorned by the World’s largest 18th century Highboy replica. One of the newest landmarks in North Carolina, the 85-foot tall Highboy is even identifiable by passengers flying overhead!
Furnitureland South chose Sid Lenger, a local furniture designer, to create the structure, and Mike Stockton of Central Carolina Interiors was challenged with creating a special finish coat for the “wood grain.”
How did they do it? First, steel framing was put into place outside the Mart and then covered with sheathing, a process taking nearly six weeks to complete. Using a CAD program, full-scale drawings and templates of the Highboy were printed. After tracing the design onto plywood and cutting with a jigsaw, foam was mechanically fastened to the plywood templates and the design was routed out of the foam. Lenger considered using lightweight concrete or reinforced fiberglass, but the foam allowed more flexibility.
Next, the drawers, beads, and blocking on the main portion were laid out with chalk lines. The decorative “rope” separating the bottom two drawers from the top five was hand carved by the applicator using a steel brush and sandpaper.
The six-foot finial, sitting atop the Highboy, was made off-site at Sid Lenger’s workshop. Its foam was placed on a spinning device while Lenger sanded the block into the finial shape. The Highboy’s legs were made from two large blocks of foam, each cut using a 4-foot hot wire.
After a base coat and reinforced mesh were applied, the look of a wood grain finish was achieved by applying a finish coat with a roller and brush. The top coat was sprayed on and a glazing paint was applied to give a clean, crisp finish resembling a brand new piece of furniture!
In September 2008, the Highboy’s traditional finish was updated with a more current “wood grain” finish.
Watch the videos of the Highboy’s creation