|Project by Lenny||posted 11-06-2014 09:33 PM||1730 views||3 times favorited||17 comments|
One of my recent project posts was a bed that took me years to complete. This is a keepsake trunk that also took years to complete but for a different reason. In early 2011 I saw an ad on Craigslist for some VERY old chestnut boards. How old? How about 1799 old! To make this story as short as possible, I ended up buying 19 good sized boards that had been floorboards in a house built in 1799. The seller assured me it was chestnut when I commented that it looked a lot like oak. He was part of the crew that tore down the house and he showed me a picture of it along with a 1799 marker that had been inscribed at one corner of the house. Ah, there’s the rub! I later learned that it was/is in fact red oak, but not before I had begun making this trunk. I completed the lid and stopped everything to drown in my sorrow. It was not until recently that I picked up the project again when I resolved that I had already put a good amount of time and work into it and that it would still make a beautiful trunk. I plan to post a blog to provide additional information and photos on the wood, the coopering process and the hot pipe bending process.
The overall dimensions of the chest are 22” long by 12” wide by 14-3/4” high to the top of the curved lid. Credit for the design goes to Garrett Glaser who made the trunk for American Woodworker magazine (issue #149, Aug/Sept 2010).
A tricky aspect of the project was bending the “straps” for the lid. The author recommended hot pipe bending. I made the jig necessary to hold the propane burner inside the galvanized pipe. It takes a certain touch and I ruined a few pieces before getting it right. Glaser used meranti (aka, Phillipine mahogany, aka luaun) for the straps. A friend gave me a piece for the project but I was unable to get it supple enough to bend; it kept cracking. I resawed some walnut, making extra pieces, and eventually got the hang of the bending technique.
Glaser installed a key escutcheon for decorative purposes only. I had an old lock and key taken out of a sideboard drawer. I decided to use it for the trunk. Not until I had it installed did I realize it would not hold the lid locked since the locking bar simply goes straight up! I may be changing this out for a hasp. The first lid stay I bought was not of sufficient strength to keep the lid from slamming closed. The newer, heavy duty one seems to prevent the lid from closing all the way. A hasp will pull it tight.
The finish is Bush oil. Besides its age, I like the nail holes and staining of the wood…patina, if you will. It’s interesting to think how many families, or generations of the same family, walked across the boards. How many children played on the floor? If old boards could only talk!
UPDATE: I posted a blog: “Techniques”: http://lumberjocks.com/Lenny/blog/43077
-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI