The cover and the box

It was 1976. I was eighteen years old. My father had died the year before, and among his effects that came to me by default (I still lived at home) was a tablesaw & jointer, drill press, router, lathe, hand-held “power” tools and an assortment of handtools. I was an art student, aspiring to be a painter. I learned from a neighbor how to use the tablesaw and began to make picture frames for my paintings. Somehow made a bookcase, surfaced with a belt sander. 

That summer I accompanied my mother on a trip to Doylestown, PA to visit her childhood friend. We did the tourism routine there, including the Mercer Museum – so I saw rooms full of antique woodworking tools, but have no recollection of it. I have a vague memory that we visited Nakashima’s showroom – but I might have imagined that. But one thing I know for certain – on that trip someone showed me an early issue of Fine Woodworking magazine. And I subscribed when I got home. Back then, information trickled out, unlike today’s barrage. I used to read every word in each issue, several times in many cases. I still have many of those old copies. And I know many people who tell a similar story. It was through Fine Woodworking that I got onto John Alexander and Drew Langsner. 

The other day, Dave Fisher wrote to me to congratulate me on being on the cover of the new issue. I hadn’t seen the email from FWW and although I knew my box article was in the works, I had no idea it was going to be the cover. I remember when Pete Galbert wrote his version of this blog post – and now it’s my turn. Thanks to everybody at the magazine for making it  happen, I appreciate it. 

Barry Dima came up here in the beginning of this year to shoot the article about making the carved box. Because the whole world flipped upside down shortly after that, I forgot about it. Every now & then it would come up again and I’d be surprised. Recently I was sorting photographs and saw that box & couldn’t place it. Then I remembered I had sent the box down to them to photograph – now they’re done with it, so it’s available for sale. 

Approx dimensions are H: 8 1/2”  W: 24” D: 12 5/8”

Red oak box, pine lid and bottom. Till inside. SOLD
$900 includes shipping in US. Leave a comment or send an email if you’d like it. Check or paypal ($927 through paypal.) Or when the magazine comes out, you can make your own.

20 thoughts on “The cover and the box

  1. Though I’ve lived in PA for some time now, I still have not paid a visit to the Mercer museum. Next time you are in PA (Philadelphia area) you should pay a visit to the Mutter Museum of Medical Oddities. It’s…unique.

  2. Peter, both my husband and I grew up in the Doylestown area, families go back to the Walking Purchase . Bill’s grandfather was the blacksmith in Pineville. Figure we might have known your mother’s friend. Yokashima was outside New Hope, so you likely did visit. The original deed to Windybush is in the Mercer Museum Library. Small world!

  3. Congratulations! What a beautiful box. I would certainly be interested except I already have one from the Geo. Dudley Seymour collection, Treasury #141. Apparently sold to the previous owners by the Connecticut Historical Society. I bought their 17th century house and most of the collection they had amassed since at least 1975 including a joint stool by Charles Thibeau of Pilgrim Products (1976). …but not her Peter Blinn chest :(

  4. As a lifetime reader/subscriber to FW I can’t think of a better front cover Guest, you deserve the attention Peter. I also follow your blog, not because I do what you do, but because I enjoy what you do, the history, the tools and your dedication. Thanks for sharing everything and Congrats! John

  5. Congratulations Peter.
    I took your class on making a box like this at Mark Adams School in October 2016. That was the best wood working experience I’ve had. Pile of firewood in the forest to finished box all with hand tools. Looking forward to my copy of FWW. Keep up the good work and appreciate the education you provide for the rest of us on 17th century woodworking.

  6. I am puzzled by their ability to drive up to Plymouth to photograph you in your shop but the inability to photograph the box in it’s birthplace. I will have to look at my back issues of FWW to see if projects are in their natural habitats or not.

    • Barry spent a day or two shooting all the process shots, but when we were done, I had yet to put a finish on the box. My shop is not really conducive to getting good studio shots (too many windows, no electricity to control lighting…) – so when he left, I did the finish & sent them the box for the glamour shot. You’ll see when you see the article, it’s all good.

  7. Enjoyed your recall of earlier years and that you’ve actually used electrified, motorized woodworking tools ! You have sinned ! Or perhaps it gave you the opportunity to evaluate that motors would not be the best route nor your quest for crafting wood. I enjoy the history you portray thru your woodwork skills. It yields a glimpse that life (back then) was hard work. But to them, without electric motors, it was just normal !

  8. I admire your work and extend my heartfelt congratulations on making the cover. Thanks for all of the content you share on your blog- it must be a great deal of work for you. I certainly appreciate it.

  9. Congratulations on being on the cover of Fine Woodworking! It is a well deserved honor and so nice because it is meaningful to you. We all stand on the shoulders of giants. You have excelled and allowed us to stand on your shoulders, seeing even further over the horizon than we would have on our own.

  10. Full circle, Peter. Congratulations, but this can’t be the first time you’ve been the coverdude?! What took them so long? Beautiful work and recollections… keep going forward and looking back, it’s all fascinating.

  11. There’s 40 years of personal history in your post. And 400 years of craft history on that cover. I love that young woodworkers today will learn from you what you learned from the joiners of New England. Congrats. Much deserved.

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