some detail shots of the 2-panel chest

I’ve been sorting photos here, filing a bunch of stuff into more coherent folders. Sometimes the oak, birds & kids are all mixed together. I ran into more shots of that 2-panel chest I showed the other day. (lots of other chests too. I keep forgetting them). Several folks wrote and commented on that chest, so here’s the rest of it. The scratched moldings on the framing here cast a funny shadow, making it look bowed. It’s just a factor of the varying depth of the scratched moldings…and the raking light.


end view

It’s pretty narrow from front to back, and I totally forgot that I carved the side upper rails as well.



The inner faces of the rear section are the flat faces. I scratched a molding on the edges of the stiles and upper rail, and used a single pine panel for the rear.


till open

Here’s the till, open. Pine side & bottom, oak lid.


till closed

Now closed.


rear view

A view of the rear section shows the notch cut in the top end of the rear stiles. When the flat face of this stile is inside the chest, you often have to cut away the top of the stile for the lid to open. You can see the floor boards here too, nailed up to the higher rear rail.

Exhibit of Dutch paintings & furniture

Today I went to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts to catch Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection – just an amazing exhibit of Dutch paintings and furniture from the 17th century. I barely made it, the show closes on June 19. If you are within a reasonable distance, I really recommend it. It’s always best to see these things in the flesh, whether it’s the paintings or the woodwork. Here’s a link to some text about the collection. Next stop for this show is San Francisco I think, then Houston.

Dutch cupboard at MFA


No photos allowed in the special exhibition gallery. I had seen one of the cupboards some time ago when it was on loan at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I snuck some pictures then, because no one told me I couldn’t. Here’s a post I wrote about that piece

I can’t remember how many pieces of furniture there were, maybe a dozen or more. A fabulous joined chest, and a small cabinet on turned legs. another large cupboard like the one above – and more. Almost all oak, one walnut. some ebony inlay. great wood selection, most of the oak was perfect.  Great bulbous turned table legs, all turned from glued-up oak stock. A folding “gaming” table that had a half-hexagonal plan for the frame. It used square-sectioned stiles and the rails were pegged, not joined to the stiles. Like toe-nailing, only with wooden pins. There are some New England cupboards that use this idea; and I’ve seen many English tables done the same way.

I made a few notes & drawings & will try to get those into a coherent form so I can post them. I passed on the exhibit catalog, didn’t need to spend $60+ on a few pages of photos. So Trent, maybe in a year or so when these things return to the collector’s house we can get to see them…wouldn’t that be something.




small chests; new-ish and old

a small oak chest
Sometimes I forget them altogether. Found this photo today while looking thru some folders here; and I haven’t seen this chest in a couple of years. I assume it’s in a repro house at the museum, so I’ll go looking for it one of these days.
It’s based on some tw0-panel chests I saw from Devon about 5 years ago. I really like the idea of these and want to make one for my house. I’ve seen them done with horizontal panels like this, or sometimes with wide vertical panels set apart by the wide muntin. Overall width is in the vicinity of 36″ – so a good 10″ or so smaller than most joined chests I make; some are even wider, the Savell shop in Braintree Massachusetts made them about 52″ wide. 
 here’s a Devon one I saw in a National Trust house in Cornwall in 2004.  Its lid has been altered to hinge in the midst of it, rather than at the rear…
Devon chest in Cothele


and here is one more I did in 2009. These are mostly made from sawn oak, the panels are about 12″ wide or so.

white oak chest 2009


I have shown the original this is based on in detail before, the flatsawn stock was really tough quality.

central muntin, joined oak chest, Devon


and one detail of my panel from the repro above:

flatsawn white oak carved panel


I’ve never seen a New England one with only two panels, Trent mentions one that got away…maybe it will show up someday.

For those hankering for details about chests, (or anything else) remember to search the blog. There’s 3 years’ worth of stuff here. For some ideas about dimensions, see

one chest, and some stuff that’s yellow and some that’s not

new chest 2011

I’ve been slogging away at some stuff lately; but nothing Earth-shattering. So for right now, just a few photos of a joined chest I finally finished. It started as a demo for carving one of these panels, then I carved two more for a photo shoot for an article for Popular Woodworking…so once I had the 3 panels, I decided to build a chest to go around them. This one has taken ages, it’s been a “spare time” project. It’s once again derived from the Ipswich,Massachusetts and Devon,England material. I love that carving style. I even carved the end rails; but showed some restraint & left those panels plain.

another view

Here is the interior, showing the till, the pine rear panels & floor. Also, an oak lid. Glued up of three or four radially-split boards. A lot of work to make this lid versus a single-board pine top, but nothing beats the oak lids.


My yard has been busy lately, so I got little done at home. Memorial Day featured things that are yellow. First is a juvenile orchard oriole.

juvenile orchard oriole
the yellow warblers were all over the place, singing their heads off.
yellow warbler
I heard either a car alarm, or a cuckoo off in the distance. Later, the bird showed up, a yell0w-billed cuckoo.  He wasn’t there long, didn’t sing in the yard, and all I got was this photo…
yellow-billed cuckoo

 we had some corn, from goodness-knows-where.

first corn
these yellow roses bloomed
yellow rose
I have heard common yellowthroats in the yard, but haven’t laid eyes on them yet…here’s a female from Marshfield.
common yellowthroat
There were also some things that are not yellow.
female baltimore oriole

Today the kids & I came downstairs and found this dinosaur in the yard. Have to go check the sandpile, to see if there’s eggs laid next to the dumptrucks.

snapping turtle

I thought for a minture that she was headed for the bird bath.

no bath