One of the most recent joined chests I made had fairly wide muntins in relation to the panels. Maybe 6” wide muntins & 9” wide panels. This was based on some period pieces I’ve seen by Thomas Dennis, the joiner in Ipswich, Massachusetts, c. 1660s-1706.
I have another one underway now; not a copy of any particular example, but drawn from the body of work Dennis is credited with, along with examples from Devon, England that are the source for his work.
This one is made from random bits of stock; I don’t even have all the panels cut yet; but I had two already planed up at about 9 ½” wide. That means the opening in the frame will be 8 ½” wide – particularly narrow for a panel in a 3-panel format. Earlier, I had posted this photo of the rails, stiles & one panel.
So I dug out some wide muntin stock, 6 1/2”, and started carving one of those today. In this case, I designed the pattern myself, filling the space with motifs from various notes & photographs I have collected over the years. Here is the outline struck with gouges & chisels, based on some centerlines and compass work.
This pattern has very little background to remove. That makes it both easier & harder. Tight spaces to fit in; but not a lot of wood to remove.
A detail often found in these patterns is a circle left proud of the background, then gouge-cuts made into it to form a pinwheel-like shape.
Cutting the chips out of these little circular elements is always fraught with peril…more than once the whole little disc has scooted across the room. Seen on the oldies too, though. I don’t use a mallet for these, just hand pressure.
Here is the entire pattern now formed; the rest just repeats below the center.
As an example of where I copped the design – here is a panel from one of the Ipswich chests, showing a diamond with flower shapes inside it; I greatly condensed this pattern & worked it into the muntin strapwork above…of course in the full-width panel more detail is possible; but it’s still the same design.
I have to split open a new log soon to get the rest of the stock out for this chest and another…so you will see more of this in the weeks to come.