Townsend Document Chest and Queen Anne Foot Stool Projects Under Way

Steve Branam

Active member
I'm building a Townsend document chest as part of Al Breed's program for the Guild of NH Woodworkers, Period Furniture Group. This will be a nearly two-year program and series of blog posts:

I'm also building Mickey Callahan's Queen Anne foot stool (downloadable from SAPFM site member section plans) for submission to the SAPFM CHS exhibition. The  deadline is fast approaching, so this will be a short series of posts:


Well-known member

I really enjoyed your posts about progress; particularly your fortitude in resawing boards by hand. I must admit, I do not need to do it to be persuaded to use a bandsaw; partly because as a child I have to deal with poor tools my father kept about  for home repair; particularly saws that seemed to wear their way through the wood. But "good on ya".

It is quite an unusual piece; especially the feet.

I take it the center section of the chest has a series of some sort of pidgeonholes. Do you have any idea functionally what sort of documents or possessions that part of the chest was intended to store or protect ?


Steve Branam

Active member
Thanks! Yes, the center section has pigeonholes very similar to those in Townsend's fall-front desk. I've located several references to the chest, but none talk about its use, just its design and construction details and provenance. The pigeonholes look to be of a size suitable for correspondence envelopes.


Well-known member
Steve -

If you examine antiques, it's rare to see the back side of the leg block "finished" the way it turns out if you 4-square the leg blanks with planes (the exception is Goddard/Townsend furniture, where it is difficult to find any unfinished surfaces).  Typically, these surfaces are left rough from the saw.  The same is often true for the back side of the aprons on a piece of furniture.  Even the underside of the aprons and knee blocks are rough - the back side edge is typically chamfered with a chisel to remove the blow-out from the use of a bow saw.

I'm not saying this is a "right" vs. "wrong" sort of thing, but it may considerably speed the work if planing is minimized, and does distinguish a reproduction that is truly made by hand vs. made with powered woodworking tools.


Well-known member
Agrees, on 18th century american furniture what i see most often on the back side of boards is rough plane marks, on the edges would be saw marks. For whatever reason most cabinetmakers just didnt concern themselves with unseen surfaces. When examining a piece this is the first thing i look for and if these tool marks are not there, right away i suspect the piece is not period.

Steve Branam

Active member
The foot stool is complete. There are 6 blog posts in the series.


  • Queen Anne Foot Stool Right Resized.jpg
    Queen Anne Foot Stool Right Resized.jpg
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