Dovetails With Stories

Dovetail from my walnut jete table
Dovetails on a sea chest from the 1860’s
I recently had the opportunity to take a close-up look at the dovetails on this sea chest, which I estimate to be at least 150 years old. The tails are at a steeper angle than those that I usually employ– making for a stronger joint, but with a higher potential for failure should the sides of the tail shear off.  To survive the ravages of passage by sea, the corners are nailed as well as dovetailed.  This chest was clearly made to survive a rough journey, and it has stood up well.

I was asked to repair the top, where the area below the hinges had ripped out, and to make a new lid for the interior till.  It was a treat to examine and restore the handiwork of someone of my own ilk from six generations ago, and to imagine the stories that have accumulated inside.  It lends me a glimpse of someone years from now enjoying my joinery and working to maintain and restore the furnishings I’ve built. I can only, humbly, hope that we are taking such care of the world as to make that possible in 150 years, and that you my faithful customers are filling your drawers and chests with stories.

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