I love building campaign chests. There are so many variations on the form that I have yet to build two that are even similar. This week, I start on the most involved set of campaign chests yet.
It’s a three-tiered version, which is based on one owned by John Nicholson (1821-1857) and now owned by the National Army Museum, London. Nicholson was first commissioned into the Bengal Infantry in 1839 and spent his entire career in India. I saw the chest in person during my research for “Campaign Furniture.”
In addition to the challenge of building three cases, the customer also requested I make the transit cases for the chests. This was a job I simply could not turn down – I have always wanted to make these transit cases.
The transit cases were used to protect the fine cabinetry when moving camp. When you arrived at your destination, the empty transit cases could be used as a wardrobe or for other storage.
The biggest challenge with this project will be to manage my time. There are a lot of dovetails in this project and acres of surface area to handplane. I’ll need to be quick if I don’t want to lose money on this one.
But I’m up for it. With our machine room and bench room fully operational and organized, there will be very little faffing.
This customer also has been quite patient with me. I had hoped to build this project during the summer, but my life was tossed in the briar patch when my father died in February, and I became the executor of his estate (I now have two trusts to manage, one estate, three attorneys and three CPAs. It’s like having a fourth job.)
This project is way overdue. But here goes.
— Christopher Schwarz