|Project by BenR||posted 01-25-2013 06:26 AM||4231 views||33 times favorited||51 comments|
This is a present for my one and only daughter, Catherine. As I type, it is on it’s way to New Mexico. This is the first thing I have made for her as I wanted to wait until I had the skills to make her something really beautiful (and for her to be old enough to appreciate it).
This was my big project for 2012 (finished a couple of weeks ago). The Pennsylvania spice box modeled on those from Chester county. I have seen similar patterns of line and berry inlay in pics of antique spice boxes or a chester drawers (is that why it is called that?). The box is approx. 22 wide x 18 deep x 24 tall. I made it in walnut, walnut crotch wood, poplar as a secondary wood, holly and eastern red cedar for the inlay, and holly and walnut for the banding. The finish is Danish oil and wipe on poly (I cringed when I put it on, but I did want maximum protection). I tried to stop just before it takes on that plastic look. I think it turned out ok.
Even though it is small, there were so many skills required. I went through everything I know, and then some (interior casework, line and berry inlay, banding, miters, finishing, mouldings, secret drawer and compartment, mortising a lock and hindges, fitting a door, and dovetails. There were 192 dovetails in all, and all were cut by hand (half blind in the front, and thru dovetails for the back). Now that is dovetail practice!
I am trying to learn to plane properly, so I planned everything possible. This went so-so, as at times I just made work for myself (tear out). I did progress some in my skills, although planning end grain still escapes me. I just ended up sanding the end grain and the crotch walnut (after destroying several pieces). I also had problems with the door. When I started on the box, I did the case, interior, door, and mouldings. Then I made all of the drawers. While I was doing that, the door developed a cup. I had it in the house with very little temp change. I guess because there are no breadboard ends, the door was still subject to moisture changes. Note to self, “wrap in plastic wrap until ready to finish”. I planned out some if it, and adjusted the hindges to hide it.
All in all, I am very proud, and I hope Catherine loves it.