A Book Review by Aaron Gesicki
Title: Chest of Drawers
Author: Bill Hylton
Published by: Taunton
P.O. Box 5506
Newtown, CT 06470-5506
Price Softcover: $24.95
224 color pages
Chests of drawers are curious pieces for furniture makers. They
are an opportunity to show off the builder's eye for design,
construction expertise and individual workmanship, the final
result is usually put in a bedroom, the second most private room
in the house. They are also deceptively simple, being just a
box, but also complex, in that they are a big box filled with
small boxes. This makes for great opportunity for variations
of design, proportion and balance, choices of joinery and species,
as well as opportunity for decorative embellishments. Finally,
it's all about function - having organized, user-friendly space
to store stuff.
The book is soft cover, 217 pages. After a nice, short introduction,
the author gets right to it. The opening chapter is Chest-Building
Basics. The author discusses case design, construction, dividers,
back, top, base, moldings, and assembly. The second chapter,
Drawer-Building Basics, discusses the drawer parts, wood choices,
construction, finishing, and drawer support.
Then there are seven chapters of projects. Each chapter is one
individual project, thoroughly documented, illustrated and explained.
The projects are the author's documentation of pieces designed
and built by well-known artisans, and are very much high-class
pieces of furniture.
The projects are:
* Pennsylvania Dutch Chest - by Harry L. Smith. Essentially a
well made blanket chest.
* Contemporary Chest - by Ken Burton. A slightly oriental-looking
* Bow-Front Chest - by Mark Edmundson. A smallish, four-high,
deceptively challenging chest.
* Double Dresser - by Mark Edmundson. A simple, elegant, four-high,
* Triple Dresser - by Michael Seward. A big project, with some
innovative construction to prevent sagging.
* Queen Anne Chest on Frame - by Glen Huey. A five-high chest
on a cabriole-legged frame. An heirloom.
* Tall Chest - by the author. A big, six-high chest. An elegant
Country look, easy to build.
This book is what project books should be - good designs, very
well illustrated and documented, with a clear explanation of
the areas of design or construction that are likely to be unfamiliar
to the novice.
I found the layout, text, and
style to be easy to follow. The projects are very attractive,
and where daunting, are still approachable because the amount
of explanation is more than enough.
Everyone needs chests of drawers
in their residence. We have to have a place to store stuff. No
one will go unsatisfied with this project's book. It has at least
one design for every taste, from Spartan and Shaker to Queen
Anne elegance. If you want to build Chests of Drawers, this book
will get you started towards a high level of accomplishment.
I like this book.
Aaron A. Gesicki
Editor's Note: The Taunton Press has graciously donated
several books for review which are passed on to our members free
of charge in exchange for thoughtful, honest reviews. Here is
to their page on this book. And you can usually find their titles
at a discount from Barnes