Monday, December 29, 2014

A Place for Blankets

 My dear friends Ziggy and April have returned back home to Berea, Kentucky tonight. Although the shop is quiet and lonely now I can't help but smile when I think of what we accomplished the last few weeks. A shaker blanket chest is no easy project even for the seasoned woodworker. Ziggy and April with their never ending energy made this look easy and they have never cut dovetails before. I knew what they were capable of so when Ziggy asked if they could make one I did not hesitate. So they went to work breaking down boards of beautiful wide curly cherry. 

 I always cut pins first but I showed them how to cut tails first. I think for wide case pieces this just seems better. Ziggy would saw and cut one end and April would do the other.
 There is a lot of dovetails on a blanket chest. Ziggy made fast accurate work with the western style dovetail saw.
 I was really impressed with their work and how accurate they were. I still don't know who did a better job but who am I to judge.
 The glue up of the case went well. Lots of hyde glue and constant motion.
 Lots of clamps and a dead blow hammer found the case bound together for eternity.
 April tuning up the tenons on the top for the bread board ends. We had a discussion why they call them "bread board ends" does anyone know this? We did not.
 Fits like a glove. No glue on this puppy. Seasonal wood movement must take place here. Pegs only.
 More dovetails on the drawer. What great practice with all these dovetails. Can you imagine how fast the shakers could chop these out? Do you think they enjoyed it as much as we do now?
 April fitting the moulding around the base. This is the only embellishment on the whole piece but it does a lot to bring it all together.
 Ziggy could not wait to oil the case even if it meant smelling the oil all the way back home. I'm so glad he did because what a treat to see the grain come alive. We used the linseed, varnish, thinner mixture that I use on my chairs.
 Rubbing out the final coat.
 April turned a couple of knobs while the oil was going on. These are mounted to the drawer with a 3/8'' tenon split and wedged through the back.
 Red cedar lines the bottom of inside the case. Love the smell of cedar. No oil in here.
 If this doesn't fire you up to make a blanket chest then I can't help you.
 This is cherry at its best.
 This is Ziggy and April at their best. I am so proud of them and what they were able to accomplish.
 I almost forgot to mention that April finished her spinning wheel and is ready to spin some wool. I meant to get a video of it in action but time ran out. Can't wait for those socks!!


  1. Please ask April to put her hair up when turning at a lathe.

  2. Loved every minute of it! (Except re-doing those one or two... ahem, learning opportunities.)

    Can't wait til our next project with you!

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  4. Beautiful blanket chest!
    Where did you get the outstanding and wide cherry?

    1. I sawed this cherry up in Indiana about 5 years ago.

  5. Happy New Year Greg! Since you raised the subject, Warren Wilson College near Asheville is having a six day banjo making class with Patrick Heavner(Pisgah Banjos) March 16 thru the 21st. Search Warren Wilson Folkshop Classes for the lowdown.
    All the best, Bill

    1. Bill that is way cool. For those who have not looked into Warren Wilson School in Asheville I highly recommend them.

  6. I lost all the blogs I was following and remembered yours today, the photos on your blog are amazing.That is impressive work. Especially for their first time cutting dovetails. I just finished building an identical chest out of cherry (minus the drawer and breadboard ends) I am jealous you had boards wide enough for no glue ups.

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