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Posts tagged “hand cut dovetails

Happy Birthday to … my tool chest.


Happy Birthday tool chest happy birthday to you. I just realized it’s 14 years old! I made it at The North Bennet Street School in Boston as the first requirement of the Cabinet and Furniture Making program. It is the first case piece I ever made.


All North Bennet Street tool chests have some common features among them. They have a maximum size, maximum number of drawers (6) and a way to lock it up. It is remarkable how many combinations of drawers, doors, woods, locks, and hardware there are. Each one is as individual as its maker.


It holds my marking and measuring tools and card scrapers in the top row of drawers, next level is chisels/gouges and files/rasps followed by odd tools, thread cutters & etc. and draw knives, scorps, hammers, bit braces at the bottom. The frame that my chest is attached to (the feet that is) I made for its first birthday.

Carved beads my wife and son gave me.

Carved beads my wife and son gave me.

This is how it usually looks

This is how it usually looks


The bottom drawer of the tool chest was carefully designed to hold my hand planes, they now reside in a cabinet on the wall.


Goodbye 2013!


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.


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


An architectural model.


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


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



The key to Stockton!



Take your kids to work day!


Interior shutters.


A child’s size rocker in walnut.


Two Hadley trunks made of sassafras.


A full size, Chippendale, four poster with tester.

Wainscoting in my house.


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


A walnut vitrine that I never got to photograph properly.


A set of Red cedar Campeche chairs.


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

Ellie’s Trunk


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

A place for everything.

Earlier this year I made this “Welsh dresser” for a person in Philadelphia. A Welsh dresser is kind of a catchall phrase here. It usually refers to any number of designs for kitchen storage, work, and display above and bellow. This design has a plate rack, three lockable drawers, two lockable doors and a center opening, sometimes called a kennel.


 The monolithic piece is made of curly maple, a grain which causes the wood to shift color from dark to light depending on how the light is shining. Here it has been stained to a warm amber color. The effect is quite beautiful as the sun changes the light in the room throughout the day.


The lower section is a frame and panel construction with pegged mortise and tenon joints. The lipped drawers are made with hand cut half-blind dovetails . Hand carved  tombstone panels liven up  the doors.   Grain and color of each board was carefully considered to give a unified facade. On top there are gently shaped shelves for plates and glasses. It is held together with hand cut dovetails and through wedged mortise and tenons. A carefully matched scalloped valance and crown molding top it all off.