I can do that…

I spent two days recently ferrying around Long Island with my friends Bob Trent and Mack Truax. We were researching furniture for a project there in Cutchogue. More later about that, but I wanted to get this picture out into the world.

The back of a joined chest with drawer. Never touched by a plane at any spot, it’s all riven or hewn. And the hatchet had a run-in with some iron object, chipping the cutting edge. Blow the photo up and you can “read” each stroke of the hatchet based on the tracking made by the notch in the edge. This surface is not un-heard-of; but is a somewhat extreme example. Rougher than most…I love it.

Here’s a detail from the front. The arch fits in like a framed panel, then below it the columns, with their capitals and bases, are thicker, reaching back behind the plane of the arch/panel. (the column/base/capital on our right is original, the others replaced). THEN – the carved bit with the leafy-flower shape is nailed from inside to the backs of the frame. A pretty involved series of moves to create a great deal of depth. Needs a thick bottom rail.

Shooting in the tight spaces was hard, I didn’t even try to shoot inside the chest with the camera. Used an Ipad to shoot this grainy photo, but it gives you the idea of what is going on.

Not the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s not far off.

Bonus item was this New Haven box, with S-scrolls running all one way, rather than opposing/symmetrically. Trent files this under “Plan ahead!”

11 thoughts on “I can do that…

  1. That first picture is worth the price of admission. It may be rough, but I love that you can read the consistently coordinated axe strokes in every piece.

  2. I wonder if the New Haven Box with the continuous pattern may be a recycled piece of material, common practice in the past.Thanks for the photos, great stuff. JReed

  3. Wow, I’d have thought you’d have to do some surfacing on the back just to make it flat enough that it wouldn’t rock as you carve the front. Seems to me you’d have to be a great craftsman to get away with that level of messiness.

    • The carving is done before assembly – so this rear surface has no bearing on carving the front of the chest. It’s just left like this to save time.

    • I tend to think all the hatchet work like this is swung – there’s no profit in paring with a hatchet in this work. If you need to shave something closely, the plane will be quicker in that case. Age of this joined chest – 1640-1690.

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