Robert Groover groover at
Thu Mar 2 22:57:57 PST 1995

> > Seriously, there's been very little change in a plain wooden chest for
> > millenia.  Other than going from leather hinges to metal and from wooden pegs
> > to metal nails, they're still pretty much the same.
> I do not know if I will be able to use wooden pegs, but certainly shall
> try. What I am more concerned with is the type of joints to use. Are all
> of the boxes to just be butt joints (ie flat long grain to flat short
> grain?) or am I able to use such things as finger joints? What type of
> fastener to keep them closed? What type of handles? Most importantly,
> where can I look for this information?
There is some information in histories of furniture-making - I have one 
(not ready to hand) with some illustrations of 13th-century chests, and 
more with each passing century.  
I found the earlier pieces to be surprisingly different, but the 
differences aren't so surprising once you think about them: when steel 
isn't readily available, woodworking methods would have to avoid 
extensive use of saws or planes.  (Not that they didn't exist, but think 
about resharpening after every cut...)
Also, when virgin wood is all around, people didn't have to join 
What techniques you see would depend on century and class: the stuff that 
survives is likely to be the showpieces.  The earlier or lower-class you 
go, the more use of hewing techniques (broadax + froe) I would 
expect to see.
One of the Frankowski SF books plausibly suggests that burning was used 
to make hollow objects (e.g. to make a beehive you split a big log, burn 
out the centers of the two sides, then put them back together)
Also, the price of nails was higher when each was made by hand - so not 
many were used (trunnels only for the lower classes).

Hope this is of some use! E-mail me direct if you want to get more specific.

Robert Groover
groover at
PGP key on request
patents at

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list