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Project Information

A shaker style "boarded" chest made from taphole maple. This was adapted from one in the (excellent) Thomas Moser book "How to Build Shaker Furniture" but I've made quite a few changes. I changed his overlay doors to inset ones (done with a bit of maloof-style added to the web frames) and used walnut plugs and square drawer pulls to add a bit of geometry (and pick up on the "square" motif). Chamfers everywhere. One thing I should have changed is the width of the drawers… it's pretty much impossible to piston fit them with the wood I used (so much movement over the seasons), so they rack a bit.

The boards were super wide and plain sawn, so basically it's been a nightmare to work with. You can see the original lumber in one of the photos. Had to fill all the tap holes first, but then pretty much every time I've cut a joint the wood has needed a few weeks to flatten back out: even cutting a rabbit caused movement. Note that the front and sides are cross grain, so the front panel is attached with just screws and it expands a full 1/4 inch over the seasons.

The whole thing is 40×40x20. The lid lifts on "stay put" hinges from Rockler (which I would recommend). Secondary wood is poplar (and the back is shiplapped). The floor of the main chest is cedar.

I dyed it with transtint, and finished it with Tried and True Danish oil. Sanded the raw wood to P180, then raised the grain and sanded back to P180. Then wiped on the finish. Rubbed the finish out with P1200 paper and the result was AMAZING. This is easily the best, smoothest finished I've ever done on any piece. Like silk. Renaissance Wax over top. The interior is unfinished and has a small till. Drawer sides were sanded to P320 and runners waxed with paraffin.

I'm embarrassed to say that this carcase has been lingering in my shop, unfinished, for a few years. The wood was so finicky that it was no pleasure to work with, and as the years went by, the piece became a real pain (takes up lots of room) and a source of real guilt. Since I was off for Christmas, I went down to the shop determined to finish the piece, and only then did I realize that I'd already done ALL the woodworking and just had to sand and finish. I had so much dread about it that I didn't even realize I was almost done! That's how much this thing has been an albatross for me.

Now that it's done, I'm super happy with it. It's a big piece and it looks great (in person, the wood is textured and complex, with bits of different types of figure throughout some tiger, some birds eye, knots, streaks from sap runs, etc…. pictures don't do it justice… and it's so far from "show piece" wood that I'm particularly pleased with how nice it looks.



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Beautiful wood but I'm not prepared to deal with that much movement. Probably will have issues with seasonal moisture changes to.