Pennsylvania Blanket Chest Newark DE
New Castle, DE
New Castle, DE
Pennsylvania Blanket Chest
Pennsylvania Blanket Chest
The beauty of hand-cut dovetails without the toil.
by Jon Stumbras
I’ve always admired old Pennsylvania blanket chests. The detailing is fantastic, from the molded tops to the scalloped bases. But for me, it’s the hand-cut dovetails that really make the old chests special. As much as I admire the look, there’s no way I have the time to develop the skill to hand-cut large-panel dovetails. Fortunately, I’ve discovered the Leigh dovetail jig. It’s given me the ability I’ve always longed for. Now I can create a timeless hand-crafted beauty, like this blanket chest, with relative ease.
The Leigh Jig
If you like dovetails, you’ll love the Leigh jig. I used the Leigh D4-24 jig because it has all the features this project demands:
• capacity for stock up to 24 in. wide and more than 3/4 in. thick (photo, below right).
• variable dovetail size and spacing for a hand-cut look (photo, below right).
• ability to cut through dovetails on the chest and half-blind dovetails on the drawers (photo at right and Fig. A, below).
The Leigh jig, on the market for more than 20 years, has a proven track record of dependability and accuracy. A fully featured jig like this will seem a bit complicated at first. Fortunately, the Leigh comes with an excellent manual. With a little practice, you’ll be able to add dovetails to your list of skills. If you take your time with each setup, label your pieces and use test pieces, you’ll have no trouble building this wonderful chest.
The Leigh D4-24 jig is well suited for this project. Adjustable fingers allow you to customize the size and spacing of your dovetails for a hand-cut look. It has capacity for boards up to 24 in. wide and more than 3/4 in. thick, which is necessary for a large project like this. Plus, it will cut both through dovetails for the case and half-blind dovetails for the drawers.
Prepare the Chest Panels
Although traditional blanket chests were often made from 7/8-in. stock, we milled our lumber to 13/16 in. That allowed us to use 4/4 stock, which was much less expensive than 5/4 material. It also allowed us to use the Leigh router bits that produce a smaller dovetail that more closely resembles the hand-cut look found on the original chests. You can use 3/4-in. stock to build this chest, but you’ll have to modify the dimensions on a few parts.
1. Joint and plane all the solid wood to 13/16 in.
2. Glue up four panels (A, B, C in Fig. B, below; Photo 1). Keep the biscuits far enough in from the ends to allow for trimming to final length and for the 13/16-in.-deep dovetails. Make a poplar practice panel to be used later.
3. Rip and crosscut the panels to final dimension.
Set Up the Jig
Philadelphia Flower Show 2018
Dates: 3/4/2018 – 3/11/2018
Pennsylvania Convention Center Philadelphia
1101 Arch Street
The Philadelphia Flower Show, internationally recognized as one of the nation's premiere events as well as the oldest and largest indoor show of its kind, is produced by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. PHS has more than 15,000 members throughout the country, offers hundreds of educational programs year-round, and is considered the nationâ�TMs leading authority on urban renewal through greening. PHS's acclaimed Philadelphia Green program restores neighborhood parks, creates community gardens, conducts large scale tree plantings, revitalizes vacant land, engages thousands of citizens in community development activities and maintains treasured public landscapes. Its greening efforts are modeled in many cities across the country.Not sure if you want to exhibit at or attend the Philadelphia Flower Show 2018? See the panels below to get the information you need to make an informed decision.All information in Events In America is deemed to be accurate at the time we add it,and we take steps to verify all details and update our records when new information is provided, but as people, events and circumstances change, we caution users to independently confirm all information. EventsInAmerica.com and Events In America LLC make no guarantee of accuracy and assume no liability for inaccurate information.