Blanket Chest completed months ago!

So, I fell off my promised blog updates. I apologize.

Here are some photos of the finished product. It was delivered to the customer and is now in use. As I mentioned in previous posts, I built two of these at once. I have one available for purchase if anyone is interested.

There were a lot of tricky pieces to this build. By far, the most interesting was making the individual ebony plugs. has the full video and instruction for those interested in how to do it...but for the non-woodworkers out there, know that it took over two full work days to cut, polish, and install those guys. 

Making these plugs really brought home for me something that I've observed in my artist friends for years: the ability to sit quietly and do repetitive work in the cause of the eventual beauty. Think of mosaics, patterns in pottery, tapestries, knitted patterns, etc. Making these kinds of things, in my experience, can ride on the continuum of satisfyingly therapeutic to painfully boring. The therapeutic portion comes first...maybe lasts an hour or so...then your brain wants to stop, find shortcuts, pay a kid to do it for you. But you remind yourself of the final product and how all of those details will come put on some music, or a podcast (or pay a kid to help?), and you persevere. One little piece at a make two, three, four--nope, that one's not right...throw it out...and finally, at the end of the day, after a full day of work, you have a paper cup full of little ebony plugs...

Not exactly a fulfilling day, but then again, I've spent entire days in the office arguing about who should send an email and whether we should say "likely" or "probably" so....

But imagine this piece without those would look OK...nice, even. You could hide the screws in any number of ways, or even use different joinery. But the wow factor of this piece is in those ebony plugs. I don't begrudge those plugs the two days I spent making them. Not only do they make the piece what it is, but the process brought home for me the real importance of the pedestrian work that goes into some of these pieces...and to a lot of handwork in general. It explains to me the serene looks on the faces of artists I have in mind when I picture them working.