Made some progress on my tool chest this weekend. I’ve been plugging away at it slowly since I brought it home from my class in Port Townsend.
First challenge was fitting the beast into my small shop, which is really just the back end of a two car garage that is full of boxes of stuff. I was worried that it wouldn’t fit, and I’d have to dance around it to get anything done until I totally re-arranged everything.
With that sorted, I was able to turn my attention to the lid, which was still un-assembled because I wanted to trick it out with some carving. My understanding is that traditional chests were plain on the outside (because they get beat up a lot) and the underside of the lid and inside were usually prettied up with marquetry, and fancy veneer and the like. Since I can’t do any of that I thought I’d do some carving, like I like to do.
It started as conversation at the tool chest class, about how Peter Follansbee used some of his sample carvings for the runners inside his chest. One thing led to another and I decided to carve the underside of the lid, the tray sides, and possible the runners as well. You know, just to show off.
Here are some progress shots of the lid.
I had some thoughts around the design of the outside edge of the frame, but it had taken quite a while to get to this points, so I was thinking of a few different options including calling to good enough. I’ve been re-reading the Joiner and Cabinet Maker and a quote from Thomas jumped out at me. So I carved it into the upper and lower rail to remind me to slow down and do it right.
To get the lettering right, I printed out the words in 2″ on my inkjet and cut them out in rows. Taping this to the frame rail with blue painters tape I went over each letter with a pen to impress the outline into the wood underneath. Followed by a pencil to outline the edges, which gave me a guide to follow with my V tool. I have never done lettering like this before, but I have been carving for a while now so I went with my instinct and put tool to wood. It worked out well, and I was actually pleased with how it came out. I found an article later that says I figured it out pretty well.
Next step, fitting the panel into the grooves of the lid (it’s being stubborn about it right now, so I need to trim some edges), and gluing everything together. Not sure if I’m going to finish the underside of the lid though, it really wants one but I’ve heard that is a bad idea. Maybe just some clear shellac?