Thursday, June 08, 2006

Back To The Drawing Board

OK, here we are again, making things. Children's toybox/footlocker things. And here's a kinda sorta example of just the sort of thing we can use to get the style of the thing. It's too big. Don't worry about that. It's got two drawers. Don't worry about that. My scanner stinks, and it didn't capture the magnificent color of the thing properly. Don't worry about that. It's entirely through dovetailed along each corner, which will make the box more expensive than starting a laboratory, doing biological research, reanimating the corpse of a Shaker, and asking him to make it. Don't worry about that either.

Don't worry; be happy. These are all modest problems. The part we don't have a problem with trumps them all; the thing is sublime. Marvelous. Neat-O. The rest is conversation.

To review, the picture is from The Encyclopedia of Shaker Furniture by Timothy Rieman and Jean M. Burks. It's a coffee table book that weighs more and costs more than a coffee table. It's chock-a block full of marvelous pictures of Shaker furniture and the Shakers themselves. It weighs about twenty pounds. You can buy a copy right here, if you like:

There's a sort of decaffeinated coffee table version of the book too, if you're not feeling flush, and want to save some money to spend, on, oh, I don't know, Sippican Cottage furniture or something, here's a link for it:

The notation in the book mentions that this Shaker piece looks vaguely non- Shaker. The diamond shaped escutcheons for the keyhole and the dovetailed box are considered "worldy," details. Shakers called the rest of us "the world." It's a fine example of american country furniture style, however worldly it might be. Let's monkey around with it.

First, we'll make one drawer. That'll keep the cost down, and two aren't really that important. We just want to keep the bottom of the thing from being where little toys go to languish and die the death of being ignored.

Second, we're going to lose the dovetails. They're expensive to execute, and they're overkill in this instance. Dovetails are part of a tradition of woodworking that goes back before high quality glue was available. They form a mechanical bond that holds together well without any adhesive, hence their appeal. And they look neat. But the thing we''re making need to be affordable, and not too fancy. We'll dovetail the drawer sides, to impress the neighbors. We'll use simple rabbett joints at the corner of the box itslef for strength with simplicity.

We'll change the dimension from the original 26" high x41" wide x 22"deep. It' s too big. The original is not for a child. The Shakers raised children but didn't have any themselves, hence the scarcity of Shakers these days. We're in the know about chldren so we can make this a better size for a kid's needs. Let's try 22"high x 36" wide x 15" deep.

We'll monkey around with it some more tomorrow. Ow! Paper cut. Woodworking sure is dangerous. I'm going to go use the table saw; it's safer.

1 comment:

Ruth Anne Adams said...

As Nahm-the-carpenter reminds: make sure you wear your safety glasses.