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Woodwork 

Winter 2013-2014

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Hope-chest from reclaimed wood - part 5: Lid work begins

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Early on when I started writing about the Hope-chest I mentioned that I used an old piano part for the lid. Here is a picture of the lid and its original frame.

I have to admit that I tried hard to find a way to incorporate the frame in the new lid. But, after long deliberations I decided to use only the inner panel and to flank it with a new hard wood frame that I would build. The old panel was made from poplar and was covered with Mahogany veneer. I decided to clean and sand the veneer surface before continuing and building the new frame. I tried cleaning it with alcohol, as I suspected it had a shellac finish.

Indeed, shellac it was. So, after removing some of the top shellac layer (which smelled moldy) I resorted to a more aggressive technique of steel brush and sand paper.

Next, I cut the panel to size and looked for the right material to build the new frame around it. I had in my possession some old cherry parts that, in their previous life, used to be part of a specimen vitrine in the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology. The cherry parts were exceptionally dry, a fact that puzzled me. I was wondering if wood incorporated in furniture that housed a museum collection was intentionally dried to lower then 8% humidity... or perhaps the wood was so dry because the piece was housed in a archival-environment which is meant to be kept dry.

I milled and cut the old parts to dimensions. Then, I made a groove along the lid's edge and made matching tongs on all the lid's edges. 

Next time I will show how I finished the lid.

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