A Box: Miniature Shaker Chest - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-22-2012, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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A Box: Miniature Shaker Chest

So I wanted to make my 85 year old grandmother something out of wood for her as a gift. I talked to her and she said she could use a little box for her USPS postal mail.

I thought it would be neat to make a little miniature shaker chest as the box, inner dimensions being 12" x 6.5" x 5", which would accommodate the largest of letters (according to the maximum letter size the USPS specifies on their web site).

I drew up something in google sketchup just now, with Shaker style that my brain has amassed from viewing various plans for different Shaker furniture. It is basically 4 frames with their components M&T together; the four frames meeting each other in just a simple glued butt joint. The top I'll make solid from a few strips of joined wood; same for the base. I'll put 1/8" thick panels in each of the frame squares.



I have a question though, how do I secure the bottom to this?--using those buttons you make?

Also, is this the way the Shakers really did it? That is joining the frames just by butting them together and gluing? No dowels?
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 06:37 AM
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That looks very nice. I wish I could answer your question. I'm sure your grandmother will love it.

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post #3 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 07:04 AM
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I think there are several ways to attach the bottom. Some would capture it in grooves like a drawer bottom, some would attach wood ledges under it and then screw up through the ledges into the bottom to hold it. I would capture it in grooves if I had my druthers. I don't think the shakers would have used butt joints on the ends. They built simple but they also built to last. For the purpose of holding mail it'll probably hold, but the basic butt joint is the weakest of all the joints short of end grain to end grain. If you want a simple clean look you would get more strength from mitered ends. Obviously finger joints or dovetails would be another step up, but I don't know what options you have. Just remember that if you use solid panels in the sides and bottom to allow for some movement however you attach them so they don't expand and contract in your frames. If you are using 1/8" thin sides the movement will be minimal but there is always some.
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 07:43 AM
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comments and observations

The tenons are not usually notched, like you are indicating, but are butted into the legs. The sides and faces are butted, but you show an additional "leg" forming a corner. If it were me, and I wanted to keep the "frame" style of construction, I would miter/bevel the legs at the corners. Only a fine joint line would show that way. Usually the legs are square and the aprons and stretchers are mortised and butted into them rather than each side being a "frame" onto itself.
Nothing wrong with your method, it's just not as traditional.
The tenons can also go through the legs and show.
As far as the bottom either a dado/groove or ledges as mentioned will be fine. My preference would be a groove.
Nice, thoughtful gift. bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 03-24-2012 at 12:43 AM.
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. I'll use a dado for the bottom. Regarding the M&T's, I didn't draw them out in the drawing program.. I just drew enough to make a cutting list. They well be classic blind M&T joints. That is, I'll have to make 4 cuts for each tenon (2 crosscuts and 2 cheek rips per each).

The whole idea of butting the two frames together came from the Time Life The Art of Woodworking Shaker Furniture book I read--the Pie Safe cabinet in that book. When i read the plans for this I immediately thought it was a very weak joint but the person who wrote the article seemed to be very knowledgeable regarding Shaker tradition; so I drew this plan up like I did to try and keep it traditional (to the best of my pee brained knowledge, lol).Anyways.. I could always dovetail the two frames together, but I don't recall seeing any Shaker joinry like that.. that is two frames dovetailed together. I could use a solid square leg I guess, like you would with a shaker dining table and tongue & groove join the "inner apron frame" to the legs.

Regarding the panels, they will be dado'd in but not glued--so they can expand and contract due to humidity changes.

EDIT: just found this on the web; one that looks similar to my design:
http://www.erikorganic.com/bedroom/c...t-shaker.shtml
They join the two frames like I do somehow.. Don't know if it is a miter joint or if they use pocketholes on the inside. I am guessing miter.. perhaps I should just miter them together as suggested.

Last edited by woodgeekess; 03-23-2012 at 09:15 AM.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Would it be ridiculous to use white oak for this gift? Or should I use the traditional cherry? I have white oak on hand (which I got for free). I am leaning towards the white oak because I am guessing the Shakers used whatever they had excess of.
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post #7 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Just dimensioned the first piece of lumber for this project--the 11" x 1" x 3/8" thick white oak rail for the front and back frames--it's nice and glossy ready for finishing! I am saving all the shavings from my hand plane in a gallon zip lock bag, to use as packing material for when I ship the Shaker Frame Chest to her--it seems like it would be a lovely touch, the shavings all being from the chest I made her. I am also considering making a shipping crate out of wood for it to ship it in--I wonder if the Post Office will ship something in a wooden crate versus a cardboard box?

EDIT: WOW!--I am having so much fun with woodworking. This is my first real project where I am using hand tools for cutting and dimensioning/milling lumber. It's on a small scale but same principles. I am just using a backsaw, stanly #5 jack and a shoot board (which is also functioning as a bench hook for planing the sides and faces of the length of these rails). I just matched a second piece very easily to my reference rail. They are pretty much an exact match and square. I can tell I am really gonna like woodworking with hand tools! :)

Last edited by woodgeekess; 03-23-2012 at 02:37 PM.
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post #8 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 03:08 PM
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That's cool to hear your enthusiasm. I think white oak will make for a very nice minichest. Do post some pics when you get a chance.
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post #9 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
I would miter/bevel the legs bill
Bevel is what I should have said, not miter. Thank you Bill.
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post #10 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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That's cool to hear your enthusiasm. I think white oak will make for a very nice minichest. Do post some pics when you get a chance.
Ok so this is my setup and all the tools I am using. Using the shooting board for squaring off the ends and it also functions as a bench hook for planing the sides and faces. Those are 3 dimensioned pieces so far--all of which are polished from the plane and are pretty much the same size to within a thousandth or two.



Btw, I just picked up that 13" 16tpi rip pattern, not too heavily set, backsaw today at home depot for $9.50. The teeth go straight down so it cuts on both the push and pull. The teeth are not hardened and I am going to tweak (lessen) the set and file the teeth angling them towards the front of the saw for a cut on the push. I might buy another one of these and set up the teeth for crosscut. Also, I might buy a third one and lop off 3" and make it a dovetail saw--again modifying the teeth. Has a hardwood handle.. Don't know how good the steel is but at this price I can sharpen it more often if I have to! :) I guess I can make new handle(s) for these backsaw(s) as well if needed.

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post #11 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 05:22 PM
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this is a pretty small project



The scale of your project reminded me of this bench mockup I made. Are you really going to mortise and tenon all those aprons and stretchers into the legs?...Woah! That means some really fine detail work. You have my admiration.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #12 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Are you really going to mortise and tenon all those aprons and stretchers into the legs?...Woah! That means some really fine detail work. You have my admiration.
That bench is cute! :)

Yeah I am gonna M&T all of em lol. This is going to take some time but it will be a good learning process and my grandmother will get the finest box/chest she's ever had :)

Oh and btw, I decided I am going to thru-dovetail the stiles together (the legs).

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post #13 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a tenon on one of the 11" x 1" x 3/8" aprons :) (This is actually the first blind/closed tenon I've ever cut)

The big piece of wood it is sitting on is the stile for its frame (the stile/leg taper at the bottom yet to be cut)


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post #14 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 07:43 PM
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I'm guessin' that's a lower stretcher...

Because you don't need a shoulder on the top surface if you want that flush with the top of the leg. There will be no strength if you mortise so close to the top edge. Just a stopped mortise and open on the end will be better...JMO.

Kinda like this, but with a tenon:


corner tongue and groove --- A joint that can't figure out whether it is a blind mortise and tenon joint, a stopped tongue and groove joint, or a shouldered dado joint and which decided that it was none of the above and damned well needed its own name, by gum! It's very useful for joining table rails to the legs. Best shown by examples, so see below. Not shown is that this kind of joint is normally supported by a corner brace.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 03-23-2012 at 07:45 PM.
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post #15 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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woodnthings: thanks I see what you are talking about. I'll probably still just do a close/bind tenon but on the top apron the mortise will start 3/8" down instead of 1/8" and the tenon will just be a little less wide. Thanks for pointing out that.
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post #16 of 18 Old 03-24-2012, 12:19 AM
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More please...
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post #17 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
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More please...
"Is that you Oliver?"

Kevin.

“There are no secrets in woodworking, and everything should be shared.” Sam Maloof
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post #18 of 18 Old 03-26-2012, 04:06 AM
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Of course!
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