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Posts tagged “Hadley Chest

Goodbye 2013!

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The year started off with the completion of this carved oak vanity. The hardest part might have been photographing it! It just doesn’t fit in a frame.

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From oaken vanity Welsh Dresser, here in curly maple. Probably my favorite for the year.

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An architectural model.

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Two copies of an early Queen Anne chair, with rush seats.

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And a compass seat frame. The chair was made by someone else.

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The key to Stockton!

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Take your kids to work day!

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Interior shutters.

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A child’s size rocker in walnut.

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Two Hadley trunks made of sassafras.

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A full size, Chippendale, four poster with tester.
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Wainscoting in my house.

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My son found a child size windsor rocker, so we fixed it up, it fits him perfectly.

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A walnut vitrine that I never got to photograph properly.

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A set of Red cedar Campeche chairs.

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And finally a New York Chippendale serpentine gaming table! I hereby resolve to post more this year!

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Ellie’s Trunk

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This is a keepsake box for a new born named Ellie. It is a copy of a box made in the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts between 1695-1725. Wallace Nutting calls it a trunk in his book Furniture Treasury.
I painted it green to emphasize the symbolism of the the growing vine, and a new life.

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The pattern of the carving is an expanded version of the pattern on Hadley chests. In fact, I used the same pattern that I used for Ellie’s parents wedding chest, and it fit the boxes measurements perfectly. I just “grew” the vine to fit the height of the box.

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I made the box out of a wide board of sassafras that was re-sawn into half inch thick sides. Sassafras has a wonderful smell and carves well, the original was made from riven oak with a pine lid and bottom. Ellie’s box is joined by half blind and through dovetails. I made another box joined with nails and a rabbet like the original.

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The carving on this box is more “developed” than most Hadley chests because it is carved partially in the round, it is still charmingly naive and child like. The ground of the carving has been dressed with punch-work.

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Here is a bible box I made in comparison. Ellie’s trunk is 25 1/2″ long, 16 1/4″ wide, and 9 1/2″ high


Hadley Chest

This is a joined chest that would have been made in the Connecticut River Valley near Hadley Massachusetts from 1680 to 1730. It origins go back much further, it’s medieval really, The designs decorating this chest are said to derive from pagan fertility symbols.

They were made for young women as hope chests, as this one was. It is made of red oak, sassafras and aromatic cedar.

The carving on these chests is of highly stylized, and abstracted, leaves flowers and vines, using a flat chip carved technique. You can see in the first picture how the pattern is repeated and flipped again and again. It was fun to do. It makes me think of Celtic stone carving. On top of the chest is a bible box made of sassafras carved with a similar tulip-vine pattern. A raking light really shows it off.