Painting a Taunton Chest

When it came to finishing my Taunton chest, somewhere along the way my brain just quit functioning. I decided early on that I was going to paint my chest. No. I don’t have that kind of experience. Sure I’ve painted a few pieces of furniture, but nothing with a design – I simply slapped on the color and manipulated it a bit using wet rags and a torch. That’s pretty much it.

(Fig. 1) With two simple computer programs, one free and the other available for $10 a month, you can transition a photo into a painting pattern for furniture.

To pull off this feat, I knew that I needed to develop a pattern for the design – surely I couldn’t just freehand the decoration, which is how I suspect the maker of the antique piece, Robert Crosman, did. For my pattern I turned to a couple of computer programs. I used Adobe Photoshop and SketchUp Make. Photoshop can be purchased for around $10 per month, and SketchUp Make is free (Fig. 1).

After arriving at a pattern I needed to transfer it to the project, keeping the scene consistent as it flowed over the drawers and chest front. Lastly, and probably the most important part of the finish would be to paint the lines, birds and flowers. What the hell was I thinking?

The one thing I had in my favor was that the paint work on the original was not of the quality of Rembrandt or Chagall. Crosman’s work was very nice, surely better than my attempt, but it is what is called a “ten-footer” in the car world. It looks great from about ten feet away. Up close, however, you could tell it was not by the hands of a Master. I hoped I could pull it off.

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8 thoughts on “Painting a Taunton Chest

  1. Excellent article from a master craftsman.
    Thanks Glen.
    The instructions are clear, easy to follow and make trying this method easy.
    Your piece came out great !

    1. Thanks, Eric. If I had a second to paint, it would be better. Practice. Who’d a thunk it?

  2. Did you surface mount the hinges? What type of locking system holds the lid down?
    A rookie with rookie questions

    1. Steve,

      These are not rookie questions. I should have covered that in the presentation. The hinges are specified in the presentation on building the chest. They are simple butt hinges that are inset into the top and case back – just as you would hang a door. I chose not to lock the lid. The escutcheon is there for looks only. Please send photos of your chest when you’ve completed the work.

  3. I am ordering beading router bits to make the trim. I have to dovetail the drawers. I have the case made.

  4. Reminds me of “tole painting” —

    Similar patterns, different technique.

  5. Glen
    I should resend the picture. My wife touched up the painting I did and it looks great. She was kind and did not complain about my artistic painting ability. I think she is going to use the chest as a toy box/storage container.
    Thanks for a nice project

    1. Please send it. I know my Taunton Chest would look better if a real painter gave a go.

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