Saturday 9 November 2013

Getting a handle on it.

You will probably have gathered by now that one of my interests is 17th century joined furniture of  England and New England, so I was very happy to acquire and read this book last week.

Full of back story to the woodworking going on in Ipswich Massachusetts in its early years as a colony and some suggestions about English woodworking of the same period. There are details of construction which differentiate the hand of Thomas Dennis/William Searle from other joiners working in New England at the time. For instance the use of half inch tenons on the ends of the rails. It is possible that either of them (if indeed they both originated in Devon, England) would have carried this habit when they emigrated to New England, meaning that any chest made here in Devon, and ascribed to them may have those half inch tenons. I will have to get another look at the Dennis chest I am using as inspiration for the current chest I am working on, to see if this is so.

Anyway, my chest is going to have half inch rail tenons, so this week I dug out my half inch mortice chisel and gave it a sharpen.

With this split in the handle I didn't hold much hope for the pounding I was about to give it.

And sure enough, half way through the second mortice, it gave up the ghost - or should I say ghosts; the ghosts of  Mr. Sedlen and Mr. Lake RIP. I wonder when and where they used this chisel!

A small chunk of well-seasoned ash, a couple of  sections of scaffold bar and we have the new uberhandle. I don't think I'm going to split this one in a hurry.

Also following the advice of Mr. Tarule, although I haven't had a problem with it before, I cut all the tenons first the other day, to give them maximum time for drying out before the chest is drawbored. Using the newly handled half inch chisel I chopped the mortices for the front frame of the chest today.

All achieved in the warmth provided by my new woodburner. Thanks Judy!

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