Hand and eye folks, suggested proportions for 6-board chest?

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Forum topic by JohnMcClure posted 09-10-2018 12:52 PM 775 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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839 posts in 1242 days

09-10-2018 12:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: six-board chest chest box proportions hand and eye design ratio question

I’m suddenly obsessed with this Nooristan (Afghanistan) tusk-tenoned 6-board chest. I think I’ll make a tiny version as an elegant jewelry box… or maybe a sizeable version as a toybox…

Question for proportion-based designers:
In such a chest, what would be good proportions for the 3 primary dimensions of the box?
Also, the box portion is raised off the ground by a bit – is there a proportional rule governing that as, say, a fraction of the box depth?

I’ve never based designs off any particular proportion before, or plans – just made my own judgments. But here lately SWMBO has called my decisions into question with statements like “That’s too beefy”, or “That skirt is too wide for that top” or “It looks like a box”. Hoping to avoid that for the next few pieces!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

5 replies so far

View Firewood's profile


1050 posts in 2236 days

#1 posted 09-10-2018 01:18 PM

John. Try sketching it using the golden ratio and see how the proportions look. Use it for the box height (box + space below) and use the height * 1.61803399 to determine the length. The ratio may or may not be able to determine the depth.

If you have more images of the chest, you can take measurements off the photos and test how close the original is to the ratio.

Hope this helps

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

View Kazooman's profile


1408 posts in 2554 days

#2 posted 09-10-2018 01:57 PM

You can get close to some of the proportions from the one photo you posted. Measure the total height and the height of the leg at the front corner. That will be a good measure for those proportions. The viewpoint of the picture is close to being right at 45 degrees to the front and sides so perspective issues should not be a problem. Measuring them from the photo should give a pretty close figure for their proportions. Combine with Mike’s golden ration to set the length to height ratio and you have a good idea of the overall proportions. If you are making a small box you could very easily make a full scale mock up using corrugated cardboard from an old box and some tape. Get SWMBO to sign off on the overall size and proportions and then go make some sawdust.

View Rich's profile


5132 posts in 1191 days

#3 posted 09-10-2018 03:53 PM

The easiest thing to do is take the ratios from the photo itself. Using xScope on my Mac and pixels as a unit, the height, minus the lid is 850. The distance from the floor to the chest is 250, leaving 600 for the depth of the chest, minus the lid.

The front, accounting for the 36º angle due to the perspective, is 960 and the depth front to back is 620.

Interestingly, the ratio of the dimensions of the front of the chest is 960/600, or 1.6, which is the golden ratio.

If you’d like me to pull any other numbers from it, just ask.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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#4 posted 09-10-2018 05:16 PM

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


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#5 posted 09-10-2018 05:48 PM

^ That site also provided the following dimensions: 160×112 x 77 cm.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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