This tool chest stays true to the 1808 Shaker original.
SHOP OWNER: Johanna Johanson
LOCATION: Placitas, NM
The final project assignment for our class in dovetails was to make something that had dovetails. Some years ago I had seen a Shaker tool chest in a project book. I bought that project book specifically for that chest. However, when I began to seriously consider building it, I wanted it to be true to the original, but the plans in my project book had a number of modifications to make it easier to build. Luckily, the project book contained enough information on the original piece that I was able (with the help of some Wood Central members) to track down more information.
Elder Richard McNemar built the original box in 1808 for his son Benjamin's tools. It is now in the museum of the Warrne County (Ohio) Historical Society. Christian Becksvoort describes it and provides photographs in his book, “The Shaker Legacy”. So I set out to make a copy of this chest. It certainly satisfied the requirements of the class: it has over 100 dovetails!
The chest is walnut throughout, except the drawer sides, which are quarter-sawn oak. The vertical partitions are in tapered sliding dovetails. The long horizontal partition is in a stopped dado with two tiny through tenons to hold it in place. Unfortunately, I did not notice that the two short horizontal partitions also had through tenons, so they are in tapered sliding dovetails.
The chest is used as a jewelry box. The dimensions are 36" x 7 3/4" x 8 5/8". The finish is Waterlox satin over shellac. The drawers all have Pacific Silvercloth lining. Two drawers have silvercloth-covered foam inserts for rings and earrings.. . . Johanna Johanson
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