The lock on this blanket chest requires a two-tier open mortise that's time-consuming but not difficult to cut. (See photo, right.) To lay out the mortise, hold the lock in place against the inside of the front, and tap the back plate with a mallet. This will cause the locating pin to make a slight indentation in the wood. Drill a small hole for the locating pin to align the lock.
Scribe around the body of the lock and chisel out the recess for the body. Then scribe the outline for the back plate, chisel out its recess, and deepen the body recess so that the back plate fits flush with the wood surface. Then complete the keyhole and drill pilot holes for the lock's installation screws. To cut out the keyhole, first drill out most of the waste, then use a coping saw to remove the wedge-shaped piece between the holes.
tenons. This allows the top to move while still remaining tightly pinned to the breadboard ends. Once this is done, glue and clamp the miter joints, install the pegs and plane them flush. Spread glue only on the mitercd end and the first half of the tongue. To finish the lid, drill holes for the strap hinges and install the mating lock hardware.
My strategy is to approximate the 200-year-old patina of Geer's chest as closely as possible. I could use boiled linseed oil and wait a couple of centuries, but instead I mimic the patina with dye stain and then apply shellac. Dye stain is an excellent way to add color without obscuring nice figure. I know that dyes
Mortising the lock. The lock fits into <1 two-tiered mortise. First, mortise tor the body of the lock; then carefully mortise for the hack plate.
fade over time, but I'm betting that the maple will balance this out by developing a patina of its own.
Raise the grain twice on the outside of the chest, and sand with 220-grit sandpaper. Then brush on a half-strength concentration of Behlen's Colonial Maple Ultra Penetrating dye. (See Sources.) Alcohol dyes can leave lap marks if you're not careiul; the trick is to work quickly and try to get everything coated before one section dries. Let the dye dry for a day before applying shellac.
1 mix my own shellac. T his ensures freshness and lets me control the color by combining different grades of flakes. To make enough shellac for this chest, mix 3 ounces each of button lac and orange shellac with 1 quart of denatured alcohol.
Hardware—escutcheons (Esc-C-36), pulls (C-36), iron hinges (H37-C50) and locks—is available from Ball & Ball Hardware, (800) 222-7277. Circle #607
251-gram-strength hide glue is available from Bjorn Industries, (704)364-1186. Circle #60ti
Urea is available at drugstores.
Liquid hide glue and shellac flakes are available from Woodcraft, (800)225-1153. Circle #609
Behlen's aniline dyes are available from Garrett Wade. (800)-(>45-9292. Circle #610
Avoid excessive brushing on the first couple of coats—it can draw the dye out of the wood and leave streaks in the shellac finish. Im the first coat dry completely before applying the second. You can buff the second coat lightly with 0000 steel wool if necessary, but be careful not to rub through the finish. Apply five more coats of shellac, sanding between the third and fifth coat with 320-grit stearatcd paper. After the final coat, rub the chest down with 0000 steel wool and apply a coat of paste wax. Installing the hardware is the last step—and the most satisfying. ▲
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