Monday, March 7, 2016

Woodworking Weekend

Mama had a big weekend!  She was gone for more than 48-hours at a weekend-long woodworking class at Old Sturbridge Village.  She's exhausted--she thinks her arms will fall off--but she brought home a gorgeous "hope" chest.

See, even the cat likes it.

  • It's bigger than I thought--3' long, about 2' tall, more than a foot wide.
  • The instructor led them through the OSV collection and then a slideshow on the history of the chest to give them ideas for their own.  Points of interest:  long chests are probably older; chests then started to have a drawer underneath, then more drawers, then it was a "chest of drawers"; the backs weren't usually finished, because they were never seen; cabinetmakers made fancy furniture with polish and inlays and carpenters did rougher work.
  • The course focused on historical woodworking, so there were no power tools and, when possible, they did everything by hand.
  • While the instructor had cut many of the pieces beforehand, Mama still had to saw the legs all on her own.  And the details that she included with the legs, which included two overcuts and some lovely scrolls so that it kind of looks like a star.
  • The nails were provided (apparently, nails are really hard--with the sturdy point and the head), but she made the rivets at a forge herself.  This turned out harder than she expected.  And she even burned her hand a bit.  
  • She scalloped the edges with a chisel and made a molding along the top rim to make it fancy, both techniques she saw in the historical examples.
  • There's a till, or little box inside. 
  • And a secret compartment!
  • And she sanded the whole thing by hand.  She desired a rustic look, including some rough bits and cracks, which don't affect the structure of it.  
  • She made the paint herself--some parts shellac, some parts denatured alcohol, some parts red coloring, which is natural (the Prussian blue, however, was the first synthetic color; she painted the till blue.)
  • And there are some mystery letters stamped around the box, only visible if you really look.  
  • Finally, her maker's mark is on the lower right front corner.
We love it.  She's so proud.   (Though, she's not yet sure that it will be her new hobby.)

Now, only to find the perfect spot for it . . . . 

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