I admire the everyday ordinary furniture from the past, particularly from before the Industrial Revolution, what’s known as vernacular furniture. The makers are usually unnamed, often not professionals. I like it because of its directness, honesty and functionality. It tends to be kind of minimal and spare for reasons of cost. It is striking how the dictates or slogans of Modernism align with those of the vernacular or craft: “less is more,” “form follows function,” and so on. It’s ironic because Modernism typically saw itself as release from the bondage of tradition.
He took a few minutes out from his class with chairmaker Peter Galbert to show me some of the details.
Some details to note that you might consider for your own chest:
1. His sliding tills are rabbeted on the ends and ride on narrow hardwood runners – not the wide and stepped pieces I use. This saves on material. To remove the lower till, Richard made the top runners removable by securing them with dowels only.
2. Also in the till department, he added one divider in each till, which is inserted with a sliding dovetail. It’s a nice touch.
3. The sawtill for backsaws is at the back of the chest but is one solid block of wood, which will protect the entire sawplate of each tool.
4. He attached his rack of Irwin bits to the front wall of his chest and is removable.
All in all, it’s a great chest and carried all the tools he needed for his classes.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. For a SketchUp drawing of the traveling version of this chest, visit the 3D Warehouse here.