Hope-chest from reclaimed wood – part 5: Lid work begins

Early on when I started writing about the Hope-chest I mentioned that I used an old piano part for the lid. Here is a picture of the lid and its original frame.

I have to admit that I tried hard to find a way to incorporate the frame in the new lid. But, after long deliberations I decided to use only the inner panel and to flank it with a new hard wood frame that I would build. The old panel was made from poplar and was covered with Mahogany veneer. I decided to clean and sand the veneer surface before continuing and building the new frame. I tried cleaning it with alcohol, as I suspected it had a shellac finish.

Indeed, shellac it was. So, after removing some of the top shellac layer (which smelled moldy) I resorted to a more aggressive technique of steel brush and sand paper.

Next, I cut the panel to size and looked for the right material to build the new frame around it. I had in my possession some old cherry parts that, in their previous life, used to be part of a specimen vitrine in the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology. The cherry parts were exceptionally dry, a fact that puzzled me. I was wondering if wood incorporated in furniture that housed a museum collection was intentionally dried to lower then 8% humidity… or perhaps the wood was so dry because the piece was housed in a archival-environment which is meant to be kept dry.

I milled and cut the old parts to dimensions. Then, I made a groove along the lid's edge and made matching tongs on all the lid's edges. 

Next time I will show how I finished the lid.

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Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.