A William III Ash Chest-on-Stand – Part Two

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.

William_&_Mary_charger_c1690_01aFig. 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).

ash_veneer_01aFig. 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).

151102_feather_banding_01aFig. 3. Some of the 8-1/2″ (216mm) long, 17/32″ (13.5mm) thick diagonally-sawn ash blocks.

151102_feather_banding_02aFig. 4. Glued and cramped feather stock.

The 40″ long, 1″ wide feather stock was sawn into 3/32″ (2.4mm) thick banding (fig. 5).

wiiiacos_181115_01aFig. 5. Loosely veneered, feather- and crossbanded carcase side.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in Case Furniture, Furniture Making, Furniture Timbers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to A William III Ash Chest-on-Stand – Part Two

  1. Joe M says:

    Once the veneer has been cut from the board, do you thickness sand it or run through a planer…The surface of the cut veneer looks very smooth and at a very uniform thickness.


  2. Sylvain says:

    Does this mean the veneer has one smooth face and one rough one? No need for a toothed plane then?


    • Jack Plane says:

      Yes; and in theory, yes, though in practice, it can vary. I lay the veneer for plain panels and crossbanding sawn-side down, but when book-matching leaves of veneer, I tooth both sides of one leaf and the sawn side of the matched leaf.



  3. Paul Murphy says:

    That really is some good looking veneer! I’m very impressed.


  4. hughjengine says:

    William always looked surprised when he saw his identical twin brother, Mary.


  5. Mark Cass says:

    I like the way the mitres stay strictly 45 degrees even with the wider end cross banding. A top job as ever Mr Plane.


  6. Richard says:

    I can only source very thin veneers and am considering sawing my own on the bandsaw to free me from this handicap. If one is limited to a capacity of cutting 8″ veneers would this cover most applications in your opinion ? Is it a realistic prospect for a veneer cutting novice to achieve success quickly on the bandsaw, I have a thicknesser to complete the process as you describe but am nervous of wasting stock I can’t afford to waste !

    And thank you for your kindness of sharing your skills.


    • Jack Plane says:

      Eight-inch wide veneer will satisfy most requirements to circa 1730.

      If you are adept at setting up the bandsaw properly and with a (almost) new blade, then you shouldn’t encounter any problems. However, I would suggest practicing cutting a few leaves of something you can afford to sacrifice – especially if you have installed a brand new blade.



  7. Pingback: Picture This CXXXVIII | Pegs and 'Tails

I welcome your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s