I’ve been ‘getting ready’ to do this build for about a year now. While I am not a huge G&G fan I saw Darrell Peart’s G&G blanket chest here on Lumberjocks and really fell in love with it. I just loved its proportions and overall look, it just looks and feels right.
I was a member of Marc Spagnolo’s Guild and he did a G&G blanket chest build which I initially planned on building along with. However I wasn’t very taken with the design he chose. His chest was inspired by one found in the Thorsen House and I found it rather plain compared to Darrell’s. The carcass of Marc’s had only three very big fingers as opposed to the nine finger joints in Darrell’s. I also personally didn’t like that Marc’s used an internal bottom that to me used space poorly. Marc’s also lacked splines on the breadboard ends on the top and of course it didn’t have the faux leather straps either. I also really didn’t like the base with it’s two half finger joints compared to Darrell’s which used one full finger joint. Finally the proportions just didn’t strike me as being as harmonious as Darrell’s.
I was initially planning on adapting Marc’s design to use nine finger joints and adding the spline. However the other issues I outlined above just told me to stop. The reality was I really preferred Darrell’s. I bought a copy of Tauton press’s Blanket Chests by Scott Gibson and Peter Turner because it did cover Darrell’s chest and contained some of the dimensions. I also purchased Darrell’s two books – In The Greene & Greene Style and Greene and Greene Design Elements for the Workshop. I hoped the combination of these three references along with the essence of Marc’s Guild build would see me through the project.
Armed and ready!
Looking at the brief plans in the Blanket Chests book caused me to have a couple of questions which prompted me to email Darrell. When he graciously responded he mentioned that FWW was going to carry a complete article and plans for the chest sometime in 2014. I had a few other projects to do so I decided to wait. Finally in the Nov. – Dec. issue, the article appeared.
It was quite interesting to see some of the slight changes that Darrell had made to the plans from how they appeared in the Blanket Chests book to the plans in FWW. In the Blanket Chests book the ebony plugs on the finger joints are 1/4” x 3/8” in size and in the FWW version, they are 5/16” x 5/16” in size. There are a few other subtle changes in other areas. I don’t know if they are truly that noticable and I do wonder why they were made. Maybe it was to slightly simplify the FWW version, maybe Darrell evolved his idea of the chest. In any respect the version in FWW is slightly easier to build.
As a beginner woodworker I’m excited to do this project. It is my first project that has many of the joinery and other elements such as the ebony plugs existing purely for aesthetic reasons. My past projects were aesthetically pleasing either purely by the shape of the piece or the woods used. This piece will also have me doing many new woodworking techniques such as my first breadboard ends, my first protruding and rounded finger joints, my first use of ebony plugs and my first time making ebony splines. I feel ‘armed and ready’ to take this on having the article in FWW, Marc’s Guild build videos as well as Darrell’s two other books where he goes into a good deal of detail on plugs, splines and the faux strap bottoms. Finally William Ng has a couple of free videos on some aspects of G&G building such as a video on making the plugs.