Blanket chest

DECREE OF DIFFICULTY: medium TIME TO MAKE: 40 hours

Chests were the most common pieces of furniture used in the Middle Ages. Their prime function was storage, but they also served as seats, tables and even beds. At that time only the rich could afford furniture, and because many of them travelled from one dwelling to another, chests were very practical. They would carry their belongings strapped to the backs of horses, and when they stopped for the night use them as furniture.

Many other items of furniture were developed from these chests, but in their original form they are still popular today. This blanket chest would be recognizable to a citizen of the Middle Ages, as it is a design that has stood the test of time.

CUTTING

LIST 1

CARCASS

Base (1)

Plywood

28V2 x 131/8 x 3/iein (724 x 333 x 4mm)

Long base supports (2)

Pine

281/2 x V2 x ton (724 x 12 x 12mm)

Short base supports (2)

Pine

12V8xV2xton (308 x 12 x 12mm)

Long sides (2)

Pre-jointed pine board

30 5c 14 x 3/4in (762 x 356 x 18mm)

Short sides (2)

Pre-jointed pine board

145/8 x 14 x 3/4in (371 x 356 x 18mm)

Lid (1)

Pre-jointed pine board

31V2 x 16 x 3/4in (800 x 406 x 18mm)

Battens (3)

Pine

13V4 x 1 \ x 3/4in (337 x 41 x 18mm)

PLINTH

Short sides (2)

Pine

161/8 x 3\ x 3/4in (409 x 82 x 18mm)

Long sides (2)

Pine

31 \ x 3V4 x 3/4¡n (800 x 82 x 18mm)

Corner braces (4)

Pine

2Vz x 2V2 x 3/4in (64 x 64 x 18mm)

ALSO REQUIRED:

Brass piano hinge (1)

28ton (724mm)

Brass ball catch (1)

Brass lid stay (1)

Brass lid stay (1)

CONSTRUCTION

CARCASS

1 Cut the four sides to width and length and plane all the edges square and flat. Mark each of the sides to indicate the top edge and the outside of each piece; also mark the adjacent edges that will be joined together. Make dovetails on these edges (see Figs 13.4, 13.5, 13.6; see also page 18). From Fig 13.3 it can be seen that the tails are much wider than the pins. This is for appearances and to emphasize the hand-made look, as in most machine-made dovetails the pins and tails are the same width. Fit the joints together and make any necessary adjustments, but do not glue.

2 Now slope the top edge of the back of the chest to house the piano hinge. To help get the correct slope, set a marking gauge to the thickness of the hinge knuckle and use this to scribe a line along the outside of the top edge. Plane down the edge to the line on one side only to make the correct-sized gap for the hinge. (It is usual to recess a hinge into both the lid and the side, but that is not possible in this case because the lid overhangs the back of the chest.)

3 Glue the sides and clamp with sash cramps while the glue sets. Before this happens, take care to ensure that the carcass is square by measuring the diagonals.

Clean up the joints with a plane, and fill any gaps in the joints and blemishes on the board with a proprietary pine-coloured plastic wood. When dry, smooth the entire carcass with a random orbital sander.

FIG 13.1

Front view with dimensions.

31 ton (ROOmm}

c

a

u C

-1

C C C C r

X______

Side view and section with dimensions.

Square section to support base

Plywood base

FIG 13.3

Carcass construction.

FIG 13.3

Carcass construction.

Square section to support base

Plywood base

FIG 13.4

Marking the slope of the tails with a sliding bevel.

4 To get the correct size for the base, invert the carcass on to the plywood sheet and draw around the inside edge of it with a pencil. An identification mark made on one edge of the carcass and one edge of the plywood base will make it easier to fit them together later. Cut around the pencil outline with a panel saw and smooth the edges with glasspaper.

FIG 13.5

Cleaning out the corners of the tails with a bevel-edged chisel.

FIG 13.4

Marking the slope of the tails with a sliding bevel.

FIG 13.6

Chopping out the waste between the pins with a bevel-edged, chisel.

Corner braces for plinth

FIG 13.6

Chopping out the waste between the pins with a bevel-edged, chisel.

Corner braces for plinth

FIG 13.7

Plinth construction and corner brace dimensions.

5 Cut the long and short base supports to length to fit around the inside bottom edge of the carcass. Pin and glue them into place to support the base, then pin and glue the base on to them.

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