Flag & Parchment Display Case

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Project by FJPetruso posted 03-07-2012 03:09 AM 2584 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A while back a friend who is a reenactor commissioned me to make a display case to hold a flag & parchment. Back in 2004 the flag was flown on the Keel Boat that made the trip on the Missouri River to commemorate the journey of Meriwether Lewis & William Clark to the Pacific Ocean 200 years before. The flag is the version of the time period… “Old Glory”... with fifteen stars & fifteen stripes & was also rolled up as was done in the time. Instead of the now traditional triangular shape of a folded flag.

The parchment has the signatures of all the men who volunteered to man the boat for the commemoration.

My friend asked that the display case be made of Cherry but left the design up to me. I chose an angled top for easy viewing & raised the parchment on a cedar platform to place it closer to the glass to help reading also. I chose to make it by hand with as little power tool intervention as was practical because something to commemorate an event of over two hundred years ago shouldn’t look “machine made”. I gave it hand cut dovetail construction & made my own molding frame material for the lid. The corners of the lid are splined & the screws that secure the lid are blued steel slotted wood screws. Another secondary wood, 1/4” thick pine, was used for the bottom… no plywood. The only phillips screws are on the hinges & the rubber feet (to protect the furniture that the case would set on) & they don’t show. The cherry was rubbed with danish oil & given a beeswax polish job. In a few years the color of the cherry should deepen beautifully.

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

3 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17594 posts in 3388 days

#1 posted 03-07-2012 09:17 AM

Great project and story, well done.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Rustic's profile


3254 posts in 3795 days

#2 posted 03-07-2012 11:14 PM

I like it too. My only complaint is that the flag should have been folded properly

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View FJPetruso's profile


326 posts in 3909 days

#3 posted 03-11-2012 03:24 AM

I suppose I wasn’t clear enough about why the flag in the case isn’t folded in the contemporary way that people see these days. The flags that one sees in triangular display cases are normally not the typical flag that you see flying from a flagpole. The flags used on coffins & folded by a military honor guard are interment flags. These flags are not the same dimensions as an ordinary U.S. flag that flies from a pole. Interment flags are longer than normal flags & thus lend themselves to easily fold properly in the triangle with the three stars showing when folded. That is not to say that a regular flag can’t be folded like that… it just takes some more effort to get the job done properly.

Interment Flag… Notice the extra length to fit the length of the coffin. These flags are LONGER but NOT taller.

Now… The flag in the case is a fifteen star & fifteen stripe flag. The hight to length proportions are quite different from the contempory 48, 49 & 50 star flags. Modern flags have about a 3:5 ratio. Interment flags have about a 3:6 ratio. Thus folded easier. And the 15 star 15 stripe flag has about a 3:4.5 ratio & widely placed stars. Thus making it very hard to fold in the triangular shape properly. MOST IMPORTANTLY the flags in 1804 – 1806 were never folded into triangles. The military rolled them up like a map & stuck them in a sleeve or tube like a map case. So… to keep with the time period of the reenactors & to be historically correct… This flag was to be ROLLED UP & simply displayed.

This form of flag is the official style of flag that was flying over Fort Mc Henry & is theTRUE “Star Spangled Banner”

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

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