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.

14 thoughts on “some detail shots of the 2-panel chest

  1. What are the dimensions of the stock you used? Here is what I am guessing for a rough approximation (trying to tie it to dimensioned lumber I can get from the lumber yards).

    Legs – 1″ – 1 1/4″ 1 1/2″?
    Stiles – 3/4″ – 1″
    Panel – 1/2″ – 3/4″

    I’m starting to map out how I might make one of these chests after I learn a bit more about the working of the wood, and the carving. Acquiring the wood is a challenge, but I have found a number of lumber yards around town to help out in the quest.

    Carving first, construction later.

  2. Badger, stock thickness varies from time to time…
    stiles ARE legs, and they range from very thin examples in England at 1″ to almost 2″ in New England. I usually use about 1 3/4″ to 2″.
    rails & muntins are around 1″, but mine are all riven, so they can vary. panels might end up about 5/8 to 3/4 at their thick points. some use thicker rails, so they have a set of thick stiles, and descend from there, thinner rails, muntins & panels thinner still. the main thing is to have enough stock for the joinery & the grooves for the panels.

    I’ll remind everyone once again to search the blog, I have written about chests a lot. For proportions, see this post too:
    and there are many views inside chests here too. they can help you figure out what’s what.

    • Thanks a bunch. I’ve been scouring the blog for the inside the box pictures like the post you mentioned above, but I lacked a good sense of scale,

      Your numbers (and that post) will help a lot in my understanding.


    • Like an obsequious school boy, I have to admit that dimensions are one of those things that Im always seeking. For budget minded folks like myself, I tend to brake for fallen trees and virtually throw my body atop the logs before the chainsaws get there. (gulp)…..but this usually means some variation in the dimensions of the wood, obviously.

      Few days ago a crew felled five mid to large white and red oaks. Most was cut up into firewood (sigh) but I managed to get a large 4 foot x 5 foot piece to quarter up this weekend. Still, since its often hit or miss (ie uncertain) as to when Ill find my next oak score, I find myself focusing on just rescuing the wood, then splitting, riving and dealing with storage –all in a mad race to beat the sunlight, checking, and beetles— only when the dust clears do I start thinking of dimensions, lol

      So….Peter, I think I speak for all of us….please publish a book ! I think it would be safe to say you would have solid readership.

  3. Quote: “Drew Young”
    “I think I speak for all of us….please publish a book ! I think it would be safe to say you would have solid readership.”….

    Here – Here…. I 2nd that…. let us have a Book with all the Blog projects and lots and lots of Pic’s…. :)

  4. well…glad you want a book. I’m typing as fast as I can, but let’s see, the full-time job, the side work making repro furniture, teaching classes, seminars, etc. and helping my wife chase the 5-yr old twins. so books & videos are in the works, but will still take a bit longer. I’m on it, trust me.

    BUT what makes you thing there’ll be dimensions in the book?!!!

  5. My guess would be either you’d have dimensions from existing pieces in a detailed table, OR you’d lead us down a path of how to figure out the dimensions based on a single measurement based on clever use of a pair of compasses.


    And I’ve got my vote in for a book too, but as a father of a 3 year old I’m sympathetic to the time constraints.

  6. Peter, I’m all for a book, but don’t bother yourself with too many dimensions. Otherwise, this becomes a sort of paint-by-numbers. One of the beautiful things about what you do is the creative problem solving and adaptation that occurs when you take into consideration the stock that you were able to rive out of the log. A few basic measurements may be helpful (like those you provided above), but if you let a pair of dial calipers in that shop…

  7. Good Morning,

    Just to chime in, a hearty YEAH for any books that might one day be forthcoming! And for me, it’s more about the process, from log to plank or billet; to stile, rail and panel, that is important…and of course the joinery considerations! Dimensions in the abstract, proportional/relational sense, though, are very helpful, as well as general design considerations…I’m sure G. Walker would have something to say there!

    But now i”m into the third or fourth volume already, so….better teach those kids to type!


  8. Yeah, yeah, me again.

    It just dawned on me (again…despite your many reminders), that almost all of this is already available through your incredible blog..which covers all these areas and more. And with your search tool, we can already more or less easily find the areas we’re looking for. Perhaps we need an enterprising editor to download your years of blog entries and organize them into chapers. The trick – and more painful part – would be in going through all the comments and pulling out the pertinent data and communications back and forth that accompany some of your entries. In some of the topics, I learn more from reading the back and forth in the comments section than I do the initial entry (sorry).

    Of course, it’s very hard to cary a computer out to the wood lot, or even the shop for the matter….and it doesn’t really work for lying in bed reading (too many laptops broken from dropping them in sleep!). I’m all for books, with the focused, additional information, background, and other considerations that go into the furniture crafting of the period.


  9. Trees that lean shouldb be avoided. The wood on the low side will be in compression , that on the high side will be in exttension. Warping may be a problem. If a leaner tree is akready down, the pith center will be off center.

    We may be blessed with a good tree but due to the shortness of life or the press of sffsirs we do not hsve time to work it presently.The log can be stored under water without damage. If the log has been rived into rough dimensions, short stock can be stored in a humidifier made from a large covered plastic garbage can containung water beaneath a floor in its bottom For a quick down and dirty solution store the stock under moist shavings. Keep the shavings wet.


  10. This is the first time I recall Peter making one big captured or framed-in pine rear panel. On his Braintree chests this big back panel is slid into place from below. I have mixed feelings about the big Dutch kasten or wardrobes with three or four fairly light cross rails in the back, to which riven clapboards are nailed vertically. The light rails just don’t add all that much rigidity to the case, although I suppose nailing all the clapboards to the rails imparts some triangulation and stiffening.

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