Presented by Lee Gratton
North Bennet Street School in Boston is one America’s oldest ‘Artisans’ colleges. It was established in 1881 and runs a total of 7 different programs, one of which is a prestigious 2 Year Furniture Making Course. It is a ‘hand skilled’ based program centred around the designs of the 18th Century.
At some point of the program, students must participate in a proficiency test. This test has been conducted for nearly 50 years now and requires the student to make an 18th Century Candle Box from Mahogany as quickly as they can. There is no score at the end of the test, just a verbal assessment based on time and accuracy.
Alastair Boell – (Founder of the Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking) undertook this test in 2004 when he was a student there, and still feels that it remains a beautiful and memorable project that proudly sits on his brother’s mantle.
In the 1700s candles were mostly made of animal fat and as such, often attracted rats and other vermin! Consequently, candles were often kept in boxes. This particular box that you will be making through the term is an exact copy of such a ‘New England’ 18th Century Candle Box.
We are lucky enough to have Figured Mahogany for this project. Mahogany is one of the greatest timbers of the world to work with! It hand planes and dovetails beautifully!
There is a VERY strong emphasis on hand tools with very little machining to be done, if any. You will learn practical tips for laying out and practicing accurate ‘half lap’ dove tails. These are distinctly different from ‘through’ dovetails, which we have covered in our earlier Foot Stool course. You will also be introduced to basic hand planning techniques and how to set up a hand plane accurately. At the end of the course, we will also cover applying a natural oil finish or French Polish.
This Candle Box is a wonderful functional item or a beautiful gift for somebody special!
We look forward to seeing you at this Beginner’s Course – Make an 18th Century Candle Box!