Cherry blanket chest with Peter Turner!
Seth in For Customers
, Maker Spotlight on July 20, 2010
When I’m not trying to keep our blog full of interesting and helpful information for consumers and subscribers alike, I am tweeting, digging, stumbling, and facebooking trying to get the custom word out there to the masses. One facebook page in particular stuck out at me, mainly because of the great photos, detailed updates, and fantastic work being done by CustomMade‘s own Peter Turner. I contacted Peter hoping we could use some of his content for a blog post, and here we are! I tried to write a bunch about Peter, but to be honest, his words work much better than mine do! So without further adieu, I’d love to let Peter’s own words first introduce himself, and secondly guide you through one piece which especially caught my eye. Enjoy!
20 years ago, my hands prompted me to start working with wood. I was living in Boston and investigated the North Bennet Street School. There it was suggested that I get some experience first before applying to the school. That’s exactly what I did and I never returned to apply. Back before litigation became so popular, every shop that I worked in allowed me access to the machinery, before and after work, for my own projects. I learned to build furniture from the people I worked with and through my own curiosity.
Probably about a quarter of the CD’s in my shop are circa 1972, my last year of high school. Like my musical preferences, the forms and proportions that I favor often float in from my past. I work to commission, designing and building contemporary, hardwood furniture. Tradition enters through the forms, joinery and care that shape my process. I build pieces that I love with the aim that they in turn, find others who share this feeling. My goal is that every piece precisely meets the needs and desires of each client in a form that uplifts.
This year, I was asked to participate in the New Hampshire Furniture Masters’
auction as an invited artist. I’ve been on the faculty of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship
for the past 10 years. I started writing for Fine Woodworking at about the same time. Through writing, teaching and making I continue to explore this craft that is at times consuming yet constantly rewarding.
I work at my home in South Portland, Maine. We’re 5 minutes from the center of Portland and 5 minutes from the beach. The 2-car garage that I work in measures 23’ x 27’. These photos show some of my steps in building a cherry blanket chest that I delivered last week. The commission grew out of a 5-year relationship but was prompted by my Fine Woodworking article in issue #203 from Feb. 2009.
The cherry frame for the FW Blanket Chest by Peter S. Turner Furnituremaker at CustomMade.com
I began this chest using cherry on hand, while waiting for a check to cover the balance of the necessary lumber. This is the frame that will be the bottom once its panels are installed. Starting out, the exploded drawing from the Fine Woodworking article helped me to reacquaint myself.
"The first photo to show the enclosed form" of the FW Blanket Chest by Peter S. Turner Furnituremaker at CustomMade.com
This is the first photo that showed the enclosed form. None of the curves have been cut but one can get a clear feel for the mass. It’s exciting when a piece starts to look like something. The frames are flatsawn, the panels quartered. I’m trying for panels that are slightly lighter in color than their frame.
The work in progress, the FW Blanket Chest by Peter S. Turner Furnituremaker at CustomMade.com
I inherited my daughter’s old digital camera. It’s turned me into a much improved communicator. I keep the camera mounted on a tripod and pop a couple photos that document the daily developments. As a piece progresses, clients receive periodic photos via email. In this dry-fit, the front and back have received all their internal grooves.
Made for the second time, the FW Blanket Chest by Peter S. Turner Furnituremaker at CustomMade.com
Here the chest is assembled with bottom in place and the guides for its sliding, lift-out tray are in clamps. Building this piece for the second time was such a pleasure. Small changes made the form more enjoyable to me. Everything went together so nicely.
The FW Blanket Chest (and a few old friends) by Peter S. Turner Furnituremaker at CustomMade.com
This is one of my favorite photos. I love this angle on the chest and the background is full of my friends. This is all from West Virginian cherry. The top is made up of 3 boards from 2 sequential planks. The color and figure are evenly consistent. This wood has a reassuring density.
More of Peter’s work can be found on his Facebook page, as well as his CustomMade.com profile. Add him on Facebook and show him some love! Do you have a project you’d like to share with us?? Please contact us, we’d love to write about you!!