The Society of American Period Furniture Makers

Furniture Forms => Case Furniture => Topic started by: Tom M on January 02, 2014, 09:20:36 PM

Title: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Tom M on January 02, 2014, 09:20:36 PM
I've been wanting to make this small chest for several years. I thought I understood the construction reasonably well, but in starting a drawing and looking at the picture from "American Case Furniture" I'm thinking I might be wrong.  I'm including a link to a PDF file I put together to try and explain my dilemma in more detail. Basically I assumed the front of the box had cut-outs for the drawers. But closer examination of the picture makes me think the front might be assembled from three pieces. If that is the case I can't figure out how it would be held together.

Any suggestions? (Yale would let me see the original but that's almost 400 miles away...)

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/74428001/Table%20Chest%20Question.pdf

Thanks,
Tom
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Jeff L Headley on January 02, 2014, 09:38:10 PM
Tom, You have your front which runs down to above the drawer fronts with a center vertical grain drawer divider which is usually set in a rabbit ( not to be confused with a silly flea bitten varment) and your bottom which is hidden behind your front foot mold. On this small of chest your bottom might be fastened by many different methods. Your sides and back width ( heigth ) will be full size to your case size. Hope this makes sense.
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Jack Plane on January 02, 2014, 09:48:58 PM
This might make the construction clearer...
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Tom M on January 03, 2014, 10:58:16 AM
Jeff and Jack,

Thanks for your quick replies.  Based on your input this is how I interpret the front and side assembly:

I made a set of hinges in 2005 for this project. My father was an ornamental iron worker between high school and the Army, and he directed me on it. He passed away several months later, and this was the first time we did iron work together since I was in high school - great memory.
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Tom M on January 03, 2014, 10:59:00 AM
Front assembly
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: HSteier on January 06, 2014, 05:30:17 PM
Hi Tom

The chest has the appearance of a blanket chest. But I assume that it is a miniature. What are the approximate dimensions?

Howard Steier
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Jack Plane on January 06, 2014, 08:23:08 PM
Tom, the most common method that I have seen for attaching the base is to form a tongue along each end of the base (on the upper surface - in other words, just cut rebates along the underside) which is then glued into grooves in the sides. The dovetailed plinth helps keep it all together.
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Jeff Saylor on January 06, 2014, 08:52:04 PM
Tom,

I've measured two miniature blanket chests that had 2 drawers as yours does. The one was done with the end grain exposed, exactly as your illustration suggests.  The other had vertical face grain pieces that I assume were glued into a tongue on the side piece because there are no visible fasteners, no evidence of mortise layout, and they are full thickness (1/2").   The middle stile on both are mortise and tenoned.
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: msiemsen on January 06, 2014, 09:02:51 PM
I would expect the bottom was just nailed on and covered by molding. Your drawing would be nicer.
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Tom M on January 07, 2014, 10:44:29 AM
Howard,
The box is about 2 feet wide. Attached is a drawing I made several years ago. Now that I'm thinking it's time to start building it, I've been rethinking some of the details - as evidenced by my original post.

From the picture it does appear the end grain is exposed.

Mike,
If I understand you right you're thinking there is no front bottom face piece. The bottom of the box (secondary wood) could just be wider than the inside of the box? Can I assume the center stile would still be mortised into the bottom then?

Jeff,
Someone else sent me some pictures of small chests he's made, and one add verticle grain pieces covering the endgrain. I like the idea of a little tounge for glueing.

Jack,
When you say "attaching the base is to form a tongue along each end of the base" I assume by "base" you mean the bottom piece of the front assembly - not the bottom of the box? If I interpret this correctly I like it. There isn't room to do a full dovetail on the narrow piece. That's why in my picture I showed a pin from the side.

And just so everyone knows, I'm still a little uncertain as to the best approach (if there ever is a best approach). But thank you all for your responses. When I get everything firgured out I would be happy to post the drawing.

Tom
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Jack Plane on January 07, 2014, 02:58:54 PM
Tom, I was referring to the base board of the carcase. However, I was talking about full size mule chests and I think Mike's suggestion of simply nailing the base board on would be more appropriate for your small chest.
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: johnjesseph on February 16, 2014, 10:18:00 AM
Hi all,

You may be over thinking and over engineering. I think that the carcass is just a dovetailed box with the sides extending lower, as you have figured out. The true bottom of the chest in the upper part is rabbeted in, and is flush with the drawer opening top, if that makes sense. Acts as the drawer kickers also. The vertical mid piece is just for looks, does not go into the carcase very far. I am not sure about the nail there, maybe a red herring? I doubt there is a mortice there, it would interfere with the chest bottom. Besides, there is no shortage of nails in that piece, why make a deep difficult mortice for a non structural part? Time is money! It is possible that the rabbet could have been skipped on some of these and that bottom is just nailed in all around. I am editing here to say that the stile is likely haunched in, set in a dado or perhaps just nailed, although it would all be end grain.

Thanks for bringing this up!

Edit: Looking at this big picture (click on photo to enlarge), still not sure about the nail in the middle below the mid-molding.

http://yuagds.its.yale.edu/imgsvc?objectid=40814&size=3
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Mo Yarborough on February 17, 2014, 08:32:39 PM
I always enjoy a mystery and a good challenge as to the nature of making things.  After reading this thread, and wanting to build a beautiful blanket chest like the one discussed, however not a minature, I went to the public library today and checked out a book that has some similar explanation to the construction.

The Molding that surrounds the chest above the drawers...seemed to me to be hiding the screws attaching the floor of the chest.  So, as it has turned out...a chest similar in Georgia shows the very concept.

This book, "How to Make Colonial Furniture", by Franklin H. Gottshall the Industrial Instructor at Berry College outside Rome, Georgia has plans for many pieces, including a blanket chest which I have scanned and include here.  The vertical strut between the drawers in the  attached drawing shows a dovetail mortice, but the one you are showing in the Yale Photos looks to be a standard mortice with a pin.

I scanned it in PDF view but the file is too large @ 425kb, so the best I can do based on SAPFM 192kb maximum
is to scan it in .jpg so you will need to try an enlarge to view it.

Thanks for bringing this project up..it is a great one!

Mo
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: FrederickH on February 18, 2014, 09:19:34 AM
Tom, I've been looking for a late winter project and this chest looks like a good one. Do you have the overall dimensions and know where I can get a pair of hinges like you've shown (I have one, not two hinges). Rick
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: johnjesseph on February 18, 2014, 07:58:40 PM
I thought about this a while and dug through my correspondence- I knew I remembered a different, simple method for this. I will see if I can put up a sketch with some dimensions, maybe even make one and post pictures. Stay tuned. First woodworking I have done in a long time.
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Tom M on February 18, 2014, 09:32:12 PM
So everyone is going to build this before I do?

The hinges, which I made, are based on hinges Gene Landon had made for a Bible box which was presented to President Bush on July 4, 2001. Gene's were more elaborate, and as I recall were made by a blacksmith in York, PA.  When he taught the Bible Box at Olde Mill they simplified the design (He didn't want to reproduce the ones made for the President.) One of the people who took the class was kind enough to make a tracing of the hinge for me. I made a set using hot rolled steel with direction from my father who did ornamental iron work in the late 1940's before being drafted. I bought wrought nails and rivets from Bess at Olde Mill.

I would recommend you contact Bess at Olde Mill. I did look in some of the reproduction hardware catalogs and they do have similar hinges, but nothing with the filed details that make these so interesting.


More details:

Table chest with drawers
1760-1800
American black walnut, yellow poplar
39.4 x 65.3 x 29.9 cm (15 1/2 x 25 11/16 x 11 3/4 in. )
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
1930.2464
Geography: Made in Pennsylvania
Culture: American
Period: 18th century
Classification: Furniture
Status: Viewable by appointment
Bibliography: Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury, 1st ed., 3 vols. (Framingham, Mass.: Old American Company Publishers, 1928–33), n.p., no. 100.
Gerald W. R. Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1988), 57, 71–72, no. 13.
- See more at: http://artgallery.yale.edu/collections/objects/table-chest-drawers#sthash.But4DVxX.dpuf


Tom
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: msiemsen on February 19, 2014, 09:27:27 PM
I looked at the Gottshall drawing that was attached below. I doubt that the Pennsylvania chest pictured is made like that. For one thing I highly doubt that either chest was originally put together with screws and then plugged.
American Case Furniture, specific to this chest says," the (inside) bottom of the chest is a single board fitted to grooves in the sides. The drawers are separated by a small vertical block pinned to the front and tenoned through the bottom; behind it is a strip serving as a drawer guide.... The bottom of the object is again a single board, pinned to the sides.".
I take that to mean the the bottom is pinned on flush to the outside edge, the ends of the pins being visible when the chest is upside down. I drive these pins in at an angle (as I would nails ) to keep them from pulling out. You can see that the bottom runs past the sides in the attached photo of a chest attributed to the same shop by Yale. Remember there is no load on the very bottom of the chest other than the drawers.
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: msiemsen on February 19, 2014, 09:40:49 PM
I hate the small file size we are limited to.
Here is a shot of the drawers on this chest. The bottoms here are nailed on. American Case Furniture in the description of the other chest says the bottoms are trapped in a groove and the bottom is beveled to fit the groove with wooden pegs at the back to hold it in.
This one is "only" 54" wide.
Fisher Forge makes reasonably priced hardwarehttp://www.fisherforge.com/ (http://www.fisherforge.com/)
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: FrederickH on April 03, 2014, 07:52:23 PM
Can someone tell me how the molding(cove), under the lid, might be attached? From the photo, I'm seeing what looks like nails that attach this molding to the carcass, not the underside of the lid. I'm almost finished with a copy of this chest and am making the moldings for this chest.
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: msiemsen on April 03, 2014, 08:10:13 PM
From looking at the photo I would guess that you are right. I would say that they are pegs and not nails but the other moldings appear to have the same attachment
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: msiemsen on April 04, 2014, 01:45:30 AM
since it is a miniature it is also possible that the top is that thick or nearly so.
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Tom M on April 04, 2014, 08:49:04 AM
To me it looks like the molding is attached to the top.  If you look at the high resolution picture the Yale site (link in an earlier post) you can clearly see the molding surrounds the top. You can even see a slight mismatch of the front and side molding miter. The drawing I previously posted has it shown this way.

Tom
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: FrederickH on April 04, 2014, 09:33:56 AM
Tom, what I'm thinking of as being attached to the carcass must be the dowels showing through the cove molding and into the lid?
Title: Re: Table Chest with Drawers
Post by: Tom M on March 22, 2018, 03:39:30 PM
It's been almost four years since I started this topic, and I can finally report that I finished a smaller version of this table chest with drawers.

I worked up the final construction details based on several of the posts.  I started prepping wood the first week of December, and completed construction on Christmas morning. I mailed it in late January to our son who graduated last May and now lives in Seattle.

I originally had planned on two drawers, but my wife pointed out they would be very small.  I didn't like the looks of it with one drawer, so I made one drawer which looks like two.  All of the molding profiles were roughed out with the table saw or a block plane. and then scraped to the final profile with scrapers I made. The wood pegs which hold the bottom of the box in (below the drawer) and the skirt molding were made with a dowel plate.

This was a great project, and a lot more fun than making bathroom cabinets!  I still want to make the full size version in walnut with iron hinges - maybe by 2022!  I would be happy to supply a 3D model if anyone is interested.

Best regards,
Tom