After building a half-dozen versions of The Schoolbox from “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker,” I’m beginning to dial in the design of the small chest to suit my taste.
I am still enamored with the overall proportions and scale of the chest, but I’ve tweaked the decorative details. Here’s a summary of my alterations.
1. Instead of a flat chamfer on the mitered base moulding, I switched to a 3/8” square ovolo. Also instead of mitering the corners, I dovetail them and carve the corners with a chisel.
2. On the lid, I use a cove (made with a No. 6 round) instead of a chamfer. These two changes to the mouldings make the chest look more like a nice piece of furniture than a traveling chest for a kid heading off to boarding school.
3. I’ve not yet found strap hinges that I like that are the right size – the ones I used on the first version are too big. Until I get a blacksmith to make me some, I’ve switched to these gorgeous iron butt hinges from Whitechapel Ltd. They come with great old-school screws.
4. I added two small iron chest lifts. They look nice and make the chest easier to pick up and move. The ones shown on the chest are vintage, but Horton Brasses make lifts that look exactly the same and are the same small size. Click here.
I’ll be building another one of these Schoolboxes at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking Sept. 4-8, so I’ll have another opportunity to try some other changes, perhaps to the dovetail spacing. There are still a couple spots open in the class. More details are here.
— Christopher Schwarz