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Cherry Blanket Chest and a woodworker's mistake . . .

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Blog entry by David posted 2721 days ago 2607 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Fellow Lumberjocks –
This is my first ever blog entry now that I finally got everything figured out. Thank you everyone for the kind advice – just what I expected from the Lumberjock community. I was only vaguely familiar with blogging until I joined LJ. I have really enjoyed exploring everyone’s projects, comments and blog entries. The amount of information I gather is incredible, I feel like I have my own personal group of instructors providing expert guidance that I can put to use in the shop!

This entry details my third project, a small cherry blanket chest. This project was built in collaboration with a friend, Dan Rickards, who is an accomplished landscape artist in Sisters, Oregon. My wife and I have been fans of his work for several years and we have a number of pieces in our home in Portland and in Sisters. If you like beautiful landscapes and wildlife, his website is worth investigating.

http://www.clearwaterstudio.com/CWS/Home.html

I only mention this because the front of this chest will be a unique canvas for a landscape painting. The chest will then be auctioned at the “My Two Hands” art auction in Sisters this April. I can’t wait to see what image he chooses to paint. Wonder if I can get my wife to bid on the completed project . . .

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The chest is frame and panel construction with mortise and tenon joints. The carcass is made from 4/4 cherry and 1/4 cherry ply panels. The top is 3/4 cherry ply with edge banding and solid 3/4 cherry breadboard. The bottom is 1/2 tongue and grooved aromatic cedar. The finish is tung oil, 4 coats of blond shellac and 2 top-coats of wipe-on polyurathane. Dimensions are 29” wide x 22” high x 16” deep.

I used a Leigh FMT (Frame Mortise Tenon) jig and a plunge router to make the mortise and tenons. I work out of a small garage shop that I have to “set-up” each time I work on a project. No complaints, as my wife supports this interest and my tool collection! I really like the FMT, but I have to admit, I have my eyes on the Festool Domino that Marc demonstrated on his website: Episode 10- Tenons Anyone? (Pt. 2). That night I had wonderful dreams of things I could make with domino loose tenons!

http://thewoodwhisperer.com/

While I might seem to be in a bit of a rut, as the last project posted was a chest as well, I learned a lot from the first chest, which prompted me to make another to apply those learned lessons. Only problem is that, of course, I learned a bunch more on this one! I do intend to branch out and explore some other projects, although I likely will make more of these chests as I really enjoy them. I think my next project will be a display case for my son’s Revolutionary War and Civil War relic collection.

Now, a bit of honesty, as I am sure I am not the first woodworker to make a mistake. Not a very happy experience, especially only hours from anticipated completion. Add to this, Dan was staying at our home while exhibiting at a local show and had planned on taking the chest with him for the painting.

I had ordered a small brass makers mark for this chest. Since it had not arrived, I decided to bore the shallow hole where it would be recessed. Despite best intentions and detailed labeling, I was tired and selected the wrong rail to make the recess. I very carefully layed out the location and bored the recess with a forstner bit. I blacked the recess to highlight the brass tag. Later that day I made a dry assembly prior to glue up and was horrified to see I had made the recess on the lower rail instead of the upper rail. No, I could not just switch them as the upper rail was offset 1/8 to allow for the piano hinge.

My solution was to imbed an Oregon State quarter in the mistaken recess. I got the idea from a favorite website Cornish Woodshop where Alf describes a set of sixpenny bedside tables made as an anniversary gift. This is a wonderful website.

http://www.cornishworkshop.co.uk/sidetables04.html

My mistake would have been neatly covered by the aromatic cedar bottom and associated moldings. However, I somewhat fancied the idea of a hidden coin. Since the chest was constructed in Oregon what better coin than the new Oregon quarter! Below are a few photos of my mistake, the “hidden quarter” and the final outcome.

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Inside bottom rail, “the mistake” and soon to be hidden Oregon State quarter

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Top molding for the aromatic cedar bottom

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Aromatic cedar bottom

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Final bottom molding

One of my favorite “crafts” is making decals for small signs and display plaques. Below are the commemorative decals for this chest. Not something I would do with every project, but something fun for this auction piece. You can the small brass label in its correct position centered on the upper rail. These brass tags were ordered from a wonderful craftsman in England. His website is worth checking out if you like this sort of detail.

http://www.makers-marks.co.uk/

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Inside of chest – small blackened recess is for brass label (waiting for it to arrive in the mail!)

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Dan Rickards from The Clearwater Gallery will be completing the chest with one of his wonderful landscapes

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Brass label from Makers-Mark finally epoxied in place

Thanks for bearing with me as I ramble on my first blog. I greatly appreciate being part of the Lumberjock community!

As a parting shot, my chest is all packaged up for its trip to The Clearwater Gallery for Dan to do his magic! I will post and update with the painted front panel.

Best Regards,
David
Portland, Oregon

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-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com



17 comments so far

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2804 days


#1 posted 2720 days ago

Hi David;
—-what a wonderful blog story you have told us here of this “Cherry Blanket Chest”!
You writing and descripition of what you have done and yet intend to do is all ‘very good’.

I like the way you have also chosen to give links to other sites where you draw inspiration and these folks you know. I also noticed on your first link for the Clearwater Gallery some nice fine ‘live edge’ work. Do you know much about one artist mentioned there, Jim Cheney? I liked that statement made about him; “His discerning eye allows him to “see” a beautiful table top within a raw, untamed slab. “

Once again, all lumberjocks know how to fix an out-of-step mistake and turn it into a glorious in-step of success!!!

GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View Karson's profile

Karson

34853 posts in 2998 days


#2 posted 2720 days ago

David: Beautiful chest, interesting blog on the trials and tribulations of making projects. It seems we never fail to find difeerent ways to make visable mistakes. And then we turn them into desiign considerations. I once place a whole row of shelf pins holes on the outside of a cabinet side. So I routered a full length dado slot down both sides of the panel and on both sides of the cabinet and then placed an accent strip of the same wood in the slot and left it proud of the surface so it was visable and noticeable. Kind of like railway tracks.

If we were to look at the masters furniture pieces we probably wouldn’t find any mistakes but there were probably many made during the construction.

You should consider yourself proud of this item.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2912 days


#3 posted 2720 days ago

Great Job! Dan Rickards does some nice work. I hope we get to see the finished project. Your getting this blog thing down just fine!

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2737 days


#4 posted 2720 days ago

Frank – Thanks for the kind comments. I am glad you visited the Clearwater Gallery link. Jim does some very nice live edge work. I have always admired his tables and find my hand is always drawn to explore the surface of the slab and the live edge. I also like the delicate wrought iron legs that support his tables. Most interesting is the small story attached to each piece. I always enjoyed knowing the story of each piece of lumber and how he constructs each piece. His work sells in the gallery for $1700 – $3000. Best regards, David.

Karson – You brought a smile to my face as read about your mistakes! This must be part of the journey and mystery of woodworking. More importantly, its how we respond to the unexpected event. David

Dennis – Thanks for the kind support. I am looking forward to the finished piece and will post an update when a photo is available. I think it will be an interesting canvas for a landscape painting. Thanks for visiting Dan’s website – his work is wonderful. David

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2758 days


#5 posted 2720 days ago

this was a wonderful sharing of words – definitely painted a picture for us to see in addition to the images and the links that support your blog.

I think your wife should indeed bid on the finished piece. Sometimes a piece just has to “come home”.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2737 days


#6 posted 2720 days ago

Debbie – What a wondeful thought! Much what I would expect from you ;-) I like the idea “that sometimes a piece just has to come home” – a thought I have had a number of times as I explore the many beautiful projects posted on Lumberjocks. Although knowing the following my friend has for his artwork and the history of the auction, Beth & I will likely not be able to afford the finished piece. I am sure Beth’s bid will be a fleeting wave a paddle midway thru the auction! It will be fun to let it go on its journey. Best Regards, David

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2925 days


#7 posted 2720 days ago

Great entry, and great piece of furniture. I’m going to steal the quarter idea… as well as look into other clever ways to personalize things.

I drew a comic strip in my college paper, and was always hiding private jokes in them… and loved to do that sort of thing when given the opportunity… thanks for reminding me!

My wife’s bookclub is somehow involved in an upcoming art aution to benefit the library. I’ll be sure to do somethink akin with my (heretofore unknown) entry.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2737 days


#8 posted 2720 days ago

Scott – I think those little bits of discovery are fun and only add to a piece.

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View Don's profile

Don

2599 posts in 2775 days


#9 posted 2720 days ago

Thanks, David, a very well done project and a lovely story to accompany it.

The Festool Domino has been available in Australia for about 12 months. Although I don’t own one, I do have a number of woodworking friends that do. The consensus here is that it is a terrific tool, though quite expensive. I know some very traditional woodworkers who have made the switch and would never go back to other methods of making mortises.

Also interested to see that you have ordered Makers Marks from Vidi. He’s a great guy and very helpful. When I ordered my first batch of Markers Marks he sent them out on approval. I’ve never hear of anyone doing that from an Internet site.

Again, thanks for sharing your work with us.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2737 days


#10 posted 2720 days ago

Don – Thanks. I was very impressed with Vidi. High quality work and excellent customer service. I have to admit I am a tool junkie – not a bad vice al things considered. The Domino looks like a great tool and after watching the video and Marc demonstrating it on his website my interest was piqued. I just need to find a project to support its purchase. Think I might have that figured out with a large framing & display table. Sounds like another blog in the works!

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2758 days


#11 posted 2720 days ago

the “little discoveries”, in the future, will be what antique dealers will use to verify that it is a “David” original…

as for the Domino – oh yah.. gotta have one of those!! What is the project to support its purchase??? !!! What are you saying—- buy the tool and THEN think of a project to use the tool on….

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2737 days


#12 posted 2720 days ago

Debbie – You sound like me . . . “oh gotta have one of those”! I was doing fine until I saw Marc do that demo!

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2925 days


#13 posted 2720 days ago

I’ve been wanting the domino since I first heard. I suppose I could tell my wife that it’s way cheaper (and more portable) than the horizontal boring machines we used at school. (which I “need”).

I also want their new table saw, where you clamp the piece for cross cuts and pull the blad toward you with handles below the table. Way safer, no (or lesser need for jigs) and, oh yeah safer.

Too bad until they can incorporate a riving knife and anti-kickback they can’t make them for sale in the USA. Sure it’s safer in that you won’t cut off a couple of fingers, but just not the “right kind” of safe for our govt? I’m sure after a little more R&D we’ll be seeing them.

Am I right in presuming they are (or are becoming) the gold standard for power tools?

Oh, David, about the Brass Markers, I love those. I checked out the website (qiuckly), but don’t see any info about pricing. (though happy to see no minimum orders) Were there other companies to compare too, do you think the cost was reasonable, and what was the turnaround time like. Also, the decals/labels – that looks like something I probably have the most of the art supplies for. How do you do those?

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2925 days


#14 posted 2720 days ago

I’ve been wanting the domino since I first heard. I suppose I could tell my wife that it’s way cheaper (and more portable) than the horizontal boring machines we used at school. (which I “need”).

I also want their new table saw, where you clamp the piece for cross cuts and pull the blad toward you with handles below the table. Way safer, no (or lesser need for jigs) and, oh yeah safer.

Too bad until they can incorporate a riving knife and anti-kickback they can’t make them for sale in the USA. Sure it’s safer in that you won’t cut off a couple of fingers, but just not the “right kind” of safe for our govt? I’m sure after a little more R&D we’ll be seeing them.

Am I right in presuming they are (or are becoming) the gold standard for power tools?

Oh, David, about the Brass Markers, I love those. I checked out the website (qiuckly), but don’t see any info about pricing. (though happy to see no minimum orders) Were there other companies to compare too, do you think the cost was reasonable, and what was the turnaround time like. Also, the decals/labels – that looks like something I probably have the most of the art supplies for. How do you do those?

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2737 days


#15 posted 2720 days ago

Scott – I think mentioning the “safer” word is always helpful in the delicate dance before acquiring a new tool! I agree Festool is very impressive – a bit spendy as another review noted. I have learned over time you get what you pay for and quality is an important factor. I have seen some great reviews on Festool products. One of my favorites is below.

http://www.woodshopdemos.com/

Links at Woodshop Demos regarding Festool

http://www.woodshopdemos.com/men-fes.htm

Links at Woodshop Demos regarding the Domino

http://www.woodshopdemos.com/fes-sc-20.htm

http://www.woodshopdemos.com/fes-sc-17.htm

http://www.woodshopdemos.com/fes-sc-19.htm

http://www.woodshopdemos.com/fes-sc-13.htm

http://www.woodshopdemos.com/fes-sc-10.htm

I looked for a long time for the brass labels and did not find any comparison companies. I made my own artwork and forwarded via email. We had a couple of brief email conversations about color choices. I choose the 1” size without holes as I anticipated an inlaid installation. I thought these were well priced considering the high quality, no set up cost and no minimum order. I purchased 5 markers for just about $30 US. I look at the cost in the same light as other fittings for a project.

If there is an interest I can put a small blog together on making decals. They are easy to do and have many applications.

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

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