Many of us missed out on the 1994 first edition of “The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton”, only to see used copies go for $125 or more. The Tools and Trades History Society has published an expanded 2nd edition that you can purchase at Tools for Working Wood ( www.toolsforworkingwood.com). The Seaton Chest represents a cabinetmaker’s set of 200 tools from the 18th century. This is an excellent resource for those us who collect tools and have been working on assembling our own set. The 2nd edition includes expanded research from the folks at Colonial Williamsburg as well as dimensional details of many of the tools. Those of us who attended the 2008 woodworking symposium at Colonial Williamsburg were able to get drawings of the chest. This edition includes that same material allowing you build a replica chest and many of the tools included. The saws from the original chest are available as reproductions from Wenzloff & Sons (www.wenzloffandsons.com). In the photo above is a picture of one of available dovetail saws. Anyone working on building a complete set of 18th century tools for woodworking would appreciate and should own this book.
Picture of the three bases after making the mortises / tenons and testing each fit prior to glue up and assembly.
In our last post we had completed the front leg profiles. Below are pictures showing the process of relieving the profile to be flush with the front rail where the leather will be applied.
Before laying out and creating the mortises the back legs need to be planed as a pair together to insure the same dimensions and surfaces are consistent. Below is a picture using a square to ensure the area to layout the mortises are 90 degrees to the bottom leg surface. As you plane the pair of legs to the final surface finish you want to check this periodically.
The mortises for the back legs are 3/8″ from the outside edge and exit the rear at 5/8″. Below is the process I use for creating the tenons for the side rails.
Notice the smooth surface created by striking the layout line with a knife. This makes for easy chisel work to finish the surface and a clean fit upon assembly. Almost always we undercut the surface as this ensures a tight fit and appearance. Below are pictures of cutting the tenons to size. We cut a bit oversize and sneak up on the final fit with a plane , rasps and floats.