Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 7/21/02

A Book Review by Aaron Gesicki

Title: Chest of Drawers

Bill Hylton

Published by: Taunton Press

P.O. Box 5506
Newtown, CT 06470-5506
ISBN 1-56158-422-3
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 six-high chest.
* Bow-Front Chest - by Mark Edmundson. A smallish, four-high, deceptively challenging chest.
* Double Dresser - by Mark Edmundson. A simple, elegant, four-high, budget-minded chest.
* 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 the link to their page on this book. And you can usually find their titles at a discount from Barnes And Noble

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