My wife has another assignment for me. This, of course, is what we woodworkers live for. We get to spend time in the shop building stuff, earn brownie points by delighting our loved ones with the product of our ingenuity, and maybe pick up an new tool or two along the way. What’s not to like?
This time, the project is a blanket chest to go at the end of the bed. I realize that there are plenty of plans for these out there but, if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I’ve just got to change things up – can’t help it. I decided that this was a perfect time to design my own chest. I also realized that this would also be a great time to give you a glimpse into how my thought processes work (scary, I know) as I go through the process step-by-step from initial concept to completed chest.
I started by listing the features my wife wanted in her chest. This would provide the basic framework for the project that we would flesh out as we went. Her basic list was:
- Frame-and-panel construction.
- Raised panels.
- Padded top.
- A solid plinth base – no feet.
- Should be extra-long to harmonize with the king-size bed.
That’s a pretty short list, but don’t be deceived – my wife is not very good at details. These have to be established slowly through repeated conversations and preliminary sketches. The next step was to show her examples of existing pieces so that she could point out things that she liked or disliked. For this, I turned to my trusty image browser, Cooliris. If you haven’t tried this free program or its Firefox plugin, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It allows you to rapidly scan through related images based on your search parameters. After scanning several hundred pictures, I had enough to get the ball rolling.
My drawing skills are poor, but hopefully they get the point across. I haven’t troubled myself to learn Sketchup yet, but can at least transmit the general idea through sketches. This is my starting point: a basic three-panel chest with an overhanging top and a partial rail to retain the cushion. For simplicity’s sake, I left off the basic shape of the plinth until the design gets more refined.
I’ll keep you updated as the design process goes forward. There are a lot of design elements to be established, and no doubt the basic framework will be altered significantly before we’re ready to build. The devil, as they say, is in the details. Stay tuned!