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Memorial Chest

Materials: white pine, walnut, holly, mixed veneers

Finish: shellac

Suppliers: Horton Brasses (lock), Brusso Hardware (hinges), E.L. Henson (banding), Northwood Casket Company (urns)

Construction Details

Needing a stable substrate for veneer that was period appropriate made quarter-sawn white pine a logical choice. Not being something readily available, I sorted through #2 common boards at the home center to find some boards taken from the very center of the tree. I removed the pith and glued them back together to get some nice straight grained material.



After dimensioning the side pieces, I rough beveled them, then used a guide block and wide chisel to pare down to 45 degrees, and used a moving fillester plane to rabbet the edges for the tops and bottoms. Note: I do not advise woodworking in slippers. 

I glued up the sides using banding clamps, added angled veneer slips to the corners for reinforcement, and glued in the top and bottom pieces to obtain a solid box. The top gets sawn off after veneering.

I rough sawed the feet and aprons from 4/4 stock, then ripped the aprons stock in half (less turning saw work), and used rasps and files to bring everything to final profile.

Applying veneer to the box using hot hide glue and a veneer hammer.

The fan is made from pieces of sand-shaded maple veneer. Then black veneer is added to fill out the rounded cutouts. The assembly is then glued to a piece of 1/16" stock and trimmed. The final step is to add stringing to the outside edge.

In  order to make the 'flowers in a basket' patera, I needed to saw 1/16" veneers of poplar, maple, and butternut (yes, you can do this with a hand saw). The veneers are assembled into a packet (with waster pieces on the top and bottom), a cartoon of the image applied, and the pieces sawn out one by one while keeping the fret saw perpendicular to the packet at all times, essentially making a jigsaw puzzle out of different species of wood.

Here is the cartoon with pieces numbered in order of cutting. 

Almost at the end of sawing out. Here you can clearly see the five layers of veneer.

All the sawn pieces less the background veneer that they get put into. The pieces are covered with newsprint to prevent breaking off the short grain while cutting. It will be removed after assembly.

View of the lid showing book-matched walnut burl veneer.

Two cremains urns fit comfortably inside the chest.

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