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Hope chest and the closing class

When I think of all the friends around the globe working wood, I wonder how trees keep up with supply. George is here from the USA with his friend John and they tell me of storm-dropped trees 4’ in diameter pretty much for the taking. People owning Woodmizer resaw bandsaws for resawing logs make short shrift in creating salvageable wood from any calamitous weather, yet we workers of wood in other climes (especially the UK) often pay through the nose for our wood supply.

My oak Hope Chest made good progress and so too my students over the weekend. Keith, from London, has been following the Paul Sellers’ blog on making my hope chest before he came, but this weekend he was able to see progress for himself.

We all had a a great workshop and once again I am amazed at the diverse backgrounds from both the US and the UK. With no power tools we converse greatly back and forth throughout each day.

I have complete the superstructure of the frame this weekend and so I am finally ready to scrape the surfaces of each planed piece as necessary, sand each component part  and then assemble the whole. This week I will shape the raised panels and install them and the whole can then be glued up and clamped.



I can’t imagine much greater joy than assembling framed structures like this, but I think more and more I understand why. The root word for joinery is harmos, from which derive the word harmony. Harmony is really about order and creating joints demands order in a variety of ways. Self discipline is the first order. It’s this that places the highest demand on the craftsman for perseverance and endurance make high demands on an artisan. Self control is the second order. Here sound judgement meets the critical edge of the chisel  and the fine toothed tenon saw. Moreover, thrust, pressure and direction each partner control. Accuracy follows close second to sharpness. Sharpness demands order in the finest degree because decision demands the sensitivity to know when sharpness dulls and its presence gone. The final group in order demands the sequence of layout, tools and cuts that lead to the ordered steps that expedite the work.

Here’s my Hope Chest standing on all four legs. Soon the panels will be split, book-matched, glued up, raised,fielded and fitted into the grooves. After that I will make the framed lid, set the recessed hinges, fit the inside floor and create a sliding tray with dovetailed corners.

All that’s left after that is the drawer. I really want to spend time on this as it’s such a critical aspect for new furniture makers and woodworkers to master the reals skills of creating true half-lap dovetails. I have a very unique technique I developed for drawer construction that will really enhance the joinery skills of my students so keep up to date this week and I will try to post on progress each day until completed.

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