I made a quick trip out West

Well, west for someone from eastern Massachusetts. Delivered this chest with drawers to the Windsor Historical Society, Windsor, Connecticut. http://www.windsorhistoricalsociety.org/  I stained it red with iron oxide mixed in linseed oil. Added drying medium from artist’s supply store, and some raw umber, which also speeds up drying. If I had been ahead of the deadline, things might have been different.

chest w drawers

Here’s a view inside the upper drawer, with its dividing slats. Not sure what these little cubbies would be used for…It was based on notches cut in the drawer on the original that is the source for this repro. but the dividers are gone on the old one.

one drawer w dividers

I also got to install one of Mark Atchison’s locks on this chest, because curator Christina Vida wanted everything just exactly perfect for the Strong Howard house opening. http://www.windsorhistoricalsociety.org/strong_house.html

Here I’m cutting away the top rail inside the chest for the lock recess.

lock excavation 2

And the finished excavation, just needs some chisel work for the keyhole. This one gets no escutcheon.

almost cut

Mark’s lock & key:

mark's lock

Mark’s mark, MMA, on the inside face of the lock:

mark's mark

This chest was the model for the class we did at Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. If you want to see the chest, and the other pieces made by the school’s instructors and students, go to the open house at the school this Saturday. I can’t make it, but a gang of folks will be there, with bells on.

here’s the blurb Bob sent out the other day:

Don’t miss it!
Saturday, September 12, 9:00am – 4:00pm
Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking 15th Annual Open House

 Come celebrate CVSW as we enter our 15th year of great hands-on furniture making, woodturning, cabinetmaking, blacksmithing and more!

Furniture Exhibit- See Some of the Spectacular work from Students, including furniture made for the Windsor Historical Society Strong Howard House/ CVSW collaboration

Get in on the fun. We will be demonstrating furniture making, woodturning, blacksmithing, inlay, sharpening, guitar building and more, all day.

More than 22 tables of Antique Tools for Sale!!!

6 different antique Tool dealers

The whole idea of the event is to get a bunch of people who are interested in woodworking together and have a good time!

A partial list of demonstrators/ exhibitors is below:

CVSW Gallery of Student work

Central Ct Woodturners

Mystic Woodcarvers
Tico Vogt- Shooting boards

Mike South, Windjammer Instruments
Matt Cianci- “the Saw Wright”
Isaac Smith- Blackburn Tools
Mike Mascelli- Traditional Upholstering

Bill Rittner- Handmade replacement knobs & Totes for handplanes

Greg Massicotte- Behlen Finishing Products

Catharine Kennedy- engraved handplanes

Walt Scadden – Blacksmithing

Windsor Historical Society

Cape forge carving knives

Ben Barrett- Berkshire Veneers

Mike Pekovich from Fine Woodworking Magazine

CVSW Instructors:

Bob Van Dyke, Will Neptune, Mickey Callahan, Walt Scadden & more



4 thoughts on “I made a quick trip out West

  1. Hello Peter,

    I was wondering about the two drawer chest. Do you know what one of those would have cost when new in the 17th? Maybe compared to what a joiner earned in a year.

    What got me thinking was remembering that they taught us in school that nails were so expensive in colonial times that they were used as money, and that’s why houses were not nailed together. The joiners didn’t seem to mind nails over labor, nailing drawers that could be joined. I’m starting to think I was misled by my 5th grade teacher. Say it isn’t so!

    – JLF

  2. Some historical economic studies certainly indicate that forged nails were a useful “payment in barter” item as were a number of other made items. They were in part useful, though, because they were used so often. Deconstruct 17th Century houses and so on and the use of nails becomes obvious. Good question as to cost of these chests; I’d be curious as well.

    Can I also just say, My Word these are gorgeous.

  3. sorry to have been so long in replying. A chest like this, a “chest with drawers” is not that big a deal in the 17th century. Maybe 15 days’ worth of work, maybe a bit more. Values are hard to estimate, most of our information is from probate records, which record prices for used goods. mostly. I can make a carved chest w no drawers in 75 hours. If this one’s twice that, then 150 hours, at maybe 10 hours or more per day – at about 2 shillings per day – 30 shillings or so. Sounds about right. Some press cupboards are 2 pounds sterling, i.e. 40 shillings. Textiles – that’s where the money is! Woodwork, not so much.

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