I am never without something to occupy myself, but spring is a particularly active time of the year: Horses, foals (currently five, with another three due imminently), tree planting, tree watering, keeping the greens in order and a myriad of other little jobs about the place keep this old Plane busy. Natheless, I have found time periodically to work some ash – though with a slightly different approach to my normal methodology.
Several pieces of town furniture I have copied from the second half of the eighteenth-century have been made with nicely fitting, smooth-running drawers. However, this chest-on-stand hails from a much earlier period and with a more provincial pedigree.
The overall proportions of the chest-on-stand are delightful, but like other commodities of the period, they were often naively or loosely executed (fig.1). That’s not to say they were poorly made; they were fashionably made by accomplished craftsmen (by the standards of the day), though inaccuracies and imperfections abound.
Fig. 1. Naively painted (but utterly charming) blue-dash charger depicting William and Mary, circa 1690.
Constructing an ash chest-on-stand loosely without it looking like a novice’s first attempt presents its own challenges – not the least of which is using properly seasoned wood in place of the original’s (partially?) air-dried wood (all will be revealed in the book).
I made the period-correct carcase from pine and then sawed a few 10″ wide leaves of ash veneer (fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Leaves of 3/32″ (2.4mm) thick ash veneer.
Virtually every panel of this article is bounded with cross- and featherbanding, which amounts to a considerable yardage of feathers (figs. 3 & 4).
Fig. 3. Some of the 8-1/2″ (216mm) long, 17/32″ (13.5mm) thick diagonally-sawn ash blocks.
Fig. 4. Glued and cramped feather stock.
The 40″ long, 1″ wide feather stock was sawn into 3/32″ (2.4mm) thick banding (fig. 5).
Fig. 5. Loosely veneered, feather- and crossbanded carcase side.