two New Haven Colony chests at Yale

carpentry, carpentry, carpentry. I’m thrilled to be making my own workshop, but I’m sick of it. I decided that carpentry is a lot like joinery, just done in uncomfortable positions, and I drop stuff more in carpentry. I can’t wait to be back at the bench full-tilt.

yale-19302265-overall
Meanwhile, I got to go with Bob Van Dyke to the Yale Furniture Study recently in preparation for the joined chest class we’re doing at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. I’ve been very fortunate over the years to get to handle a lot of period furniture; studying the details. It’s still always fun to go over these things. It sounds like an old cliche, but you really do see new stuff with each visit.  The Furniture Study is a great place, one of my favorite stops on the early oak circuit. http://artgallery.yale.edu/furniture-study  The staff there are very helpful, great scene altogether.

We focused on two chests, the one above and this probably related one.

yale-chest-overall

Typical frame & panel format, all oak in both cases. No secondary wood. Here’s some details:

The panels and muntins on the first chest. Scratch-stock moldings; interrupted where the muntins meet the rails.

yale-19302265-front-panel

This one features a paneled lid. The long rails on the lid alternated how they meet the “stiles” – at the back of the lid, the rail is between the stiles, at the front, the stiles join into the rail. Trickier to layout than one that’s symmetrical.

 

yale-19302265-lid-and-rear

Nobody spent much time working the backs of these chests. Hatchet, and a little bit of planing. Not much.

yale-19302265-rear-detail

The other chest is quite similar, but has some distinctions too. Narrower framing parts for one. Here’s the interrupted molding again, and the panel carving using the S-scroll rather than the “double-heart” motif.

yale-195068-detail-panel

This lid is 3 boards, edge jointed together. Very heavy. 2nd set of hinges. Note the molding around the panels on the inside of the rear framing. You don’t see this once you fill the chest with linens. Till is missing, you still see the trenches and hole for it on our right…

yale-195068-inside-2

I often find holes in the carved panels, which are presumed to be for nailing the panel down while carving it. (on the double-heart motif detail, if you click that photo to enlarge it, you can see some of these holes)  This one has a broken-off nail still in it. See, something new all the time…

yale-195068-nail-in-panel

 

6 thoughts on “two New Haven Colony chests at Yale

  1. There is so much appealling detail in this chest, with its abbreviated moldings, evident hatchet work, and honest nailery… Is there any paint at all?

    • Rick – the one with the paneled lid was painted red at some point. As far as I know, there’s never been a study of its paint. so no telling the age of the finish. The other has been stripped.

      • Thanks for the response. One often gets the impression that the people who were making these were trying to get them done as quickly as possible, based on the loose execution of carving and ‘shortcuts’ in joinery, but then we have mouldings to the inside of stiles and rails… interesting!

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