Here’s a chest I finally finished this week; white oak with maple and walnut inlay. Mostly millsawn, but the front framing stock is riven. It’s been around the shop for years. One mistake I made was to put the bottom in it, and before I made a lid, I started keeping stuff in it…
so never bothered to finish it! …til now.
This view shows you something more:
Now you can see, this is not a joined chest in the usual sense. The front is joined, but the sides and back are a board chest. This format appears from time to time in t he 17th century. In this case, I nailed the front frame onto the edges of the board sides. Two 17th-c examples from Braintree, Massachusetts have square wooden pins securing the front to the sides.
Here’s a view showing the side of the chest:
There’s a rabbet in the rear face of the front stile, and the end board slips up into that rabbet. Similarly, the rear board is rabbeted at each end to capture the edges of the end boards.
To further the simplicity of this chest, I chose to use a wooden hinge instead of the more common iron gimmals.
There’s an oak slat nailed near the outside top edge of the chest’s rear board. The slat extends beyond the sides of the chest, and is whittled there to a round pin. Then the lid’s cleats extend out beyond the back, and have a hole bored in them to slip over the pins. A little beeswax keeps this hinge working for a while. Here’s the rear view:
Here’s the pin/cleat detail:
so if you want to take a stab at a joined chest, but feel a little intimidated, make a board chest with a joined front. This one could be even easier by making a pine chest with an oak front. That’d make it lighter too.