Line & Berry Chest of Drawers


Though not traditional, router patterns make quick work of the inlay.
By Glen D. Huey
Pages: 32-41

From the December 2010 issue # 187
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In southeastern Pennsylvania, just northwest of Philadelphia, is Chester County. It was one of the original three counties formed by William Penn in 1682, under a charter signed by King Charles II. In 1729, a large portion of the western county was split off to become Lancaster County, and in 1789, the southeastern townships closest to Philadelphia were organized as Delaware County. That left Chester County as we find it today.

Throughout the 1700s, Chester County furniture makers produced pieces with unique surface decoration, such as the line and berry inlay shown on this chest. Furniture makers of the period scribed inter-connected half-circles into the surface. The design was scratched using a compass, which is why the process is often referred to as “compass inlay.” Sometimes, at the termination of those circles, small groupings of round berries completed the design. This decoration reached a popularity peak in the 1740s.

ARTICLE: A router makes quick work of the door inlay for a spice box Glen built in 2001-2002.
WEB SITE: Discover more about Chester County furniture.
IN OUR STORE: November 2008 Popular Woodworking (#172).
TO BUY: Ready-made string and other inlay supplies.
IN OUR STORE: Steve Latta’s DVDs on traditional methods to make line and berry  inlay.


From the December 2010 issue # 187
Buy this issue now