joined chest floor boards & more

It doesn’t seem it lately, but I do still make furniture. Today I managed to shoot a couple of ordinary-quality pictures of the floor of a joined chest I have underway in the shop. This chest is a copy of the ones made in Braintree, Massachusetts c. 1640-1700 by William Savell and his sons John & William. Alexander & I wrote about these chests in our first article for American Furniture in 1996.  [see Peter Follansbee and John Alexander, “Seventeenth-Century Joinery from Braintree, Massachusetts: the Savell Shop Tradition” in American Furniture, ed., Luke Beckerdite, (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England for the Chipstone Foundation, 1996) pp. 81-104 online at http://www.chipstone.org/framesetAFintro.html ]

The floor is white pine, and it runs front-to-back. This time I have four boards. They are feathered/beveled to fit into grooves in the inisde of the front & side rails. At the rear, the floor boards sit on top of a lower rear rail. Ultimately they get nailed down to this rail.  [click the pictures to enlarge]

bottom boards, joined chest

 

The boards are fitted with a simple tongue & groove joint; and the board being driven in last here is tapered in its width, to spread the floor side-to-side…a nice touch. The joints consists of a standard groove plowed in one  edge, and the tongue is made by cutting a rabbet on the top face of the matching piece, and just bevelling the bottom to leave a tongue.

detail floor boards' joint

 

driving the wedge-shaped board

 

Here is the T&G on one of the surviving chests from the period, in this case on drawer bottoms. But the same joint is used on the floor boards. this time it’s not even really a bevel, the board is thin enough to make a “bare-faced” version of the tongue. These are riven white cedar boards, some are 10″ wide – that’s a big cedar tree (2′ or more) for southern New England.

tongue & groove boards, Savell chest

 

But otherwise, I’m gearing up for spoon-class next week at Country Workshops. I have been waiting for this for a whole year – Drew mentioned it to me last summer when I was there.. http://countryworkshops.org/sloyd.html

The other day while the kids were playing in the sand pile, I roughed out a birch ladle-sized spoon…such fun.  It’s the only woodworking I do at home here… but they made off with my workbench, so I have nowhere to set my stuff down. Now I have to make a new bench for the yard…

workbench absconded
hewing spoon

 

large birch spoon

7 thoughts on “joined chest floor boards & more

  1. Hi Peter,
    Nice chest. I would like to see some pictures of the wood preparation on those long wide rails. I assume you did that in the same manner that you do your boxes, splitting, hand planing etc.?
    I bet it was a lot of work. Keep up the great work.

    Frank

  2. Peter,

    A while back I purchased some white pine from a gentleman that owned a portable sawmill, in Middlesex County. Beautiful stuff, but Some of the boards were of the harder species, (like southern yellow pine).

    In your experiences, have you come across this and is there any evidence from surviving pieces, that this breed of pine may have been used, in the 17th-century.

    It is nice clear stuff, I’m surprised it turns up here in New England.

    Congratulations, with the new dvd!

    Joel

  3. Hi Peter,

    I’m wondering how you install the back of the chest: I’ve seen in some others posts of yours pine backs, with horizontal planking. If the chest is already assembled (as it seems it is on the pics), I don’t see how you can slides the planks in the groves. Any pictures or explanations welcome…

    Thanks for sharing your work so assiduously!

    Luc

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