Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything


Treasure. Your kids have treasure.

It’s no wonder they love stories about pirates. Well, Patchy the Pirate, anyway, until they’re a little older. Then it’s Kidnapped; Swiss Family Robinson; Robinson Crusoe; Treasure Island; 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. The Pirate Trial of Mary Bonny and Ann Read.

SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.

I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow–a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember him looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards:

“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest– Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

Robert Louis Stevenson- Treasure Island

Able seaman or corsair, the trusty locker is always there, for your Hot Wheels or Bratz or crayons if not your cutlass, doubloons, and sextant. And any kid needs a place for their treasures, someplace not too neat, where you can rummage around like a little attic looking for something you’ve forgotten to catch your eye and capture your interest. And so we make the box.

Can’t be too high from the floor to the lid, or the little one’s can’t reach in. Can’t be too low, or they tumble in while they’re fishing around in there.

The one drawer is the best part of this one. All the little bits and pieces of things that go to the bottome of the toy box and languish, unseen forever can go in the drawer and stay handy, and puzzles have a place to live too. Little ones love to operate drawers and doors and lids anyway, and so they can get busy with the drawer and the lid before they get busy for real.

We can make this out of poplar, an affordable hardwood that paints up well, or perhaps Eastern White Pine for lightness. Solid wood, we want to think about your kid’s kids. No plywood except maybe the drawer bottom. Egad, no particle board. Particle board furniture is junk, and always will be. It won’t hold a fastener. It disintegrates if it gets wet. It outgasses formaldehyde for a long time. It will be in the dumpster before it stops smelling like a glue factory and your kid is in junior high.

We’ll paint the exterior, and rough it up a bit, as it will get that way anyway, and might as well look like it’s been to Fiji and back right away. Inside, we’ll use the original lacquer- shellac. It’s interesting stuff; made from the discarded shell of an insect, the lac bug, the flakes gathered and dissolved in pure alcohol. Once it’s dry, it’s edible, so no worries about that. We’ll put an anti-slam closer on the top.

It needs a drawer pull and some sort of handles on the side. We’ll scour the hardware companies for just the right things. But that’s the thing, right there, at least in prototpe form. We need working drawings, and then we build a prototype to see if it’s any good, and tweak it if it’s not.

Or burn it if it’s really not.

5 Responses

  1. Can you send me your prototype for a test drive? I have a significant need for such an item. Can your paint come in pretty little girl pink or lavender?

    Price point??

  2. Behold the power of teh intarnets!
    It doesn’t exist yet, and yet it is in demand! The perfect product.

    I need to actually make one to see what it costs, to determine the price. I’m betting between 325 and 375.

    As far as a color, you can get one any color, because you’re swell and your children are my second favorite children on earth.

    Hmm, apparently I need another color for the catalog. I’m thinking a dusty kind of rose. Like the lightest color in a variegated brick. Not red mixed with white. That’s pepto-bismol. Burnt siena mixed with white. Hmm…

    All the best ideas come from the customers.

  3. A little pricey, but for a Sippican heirloom, it’s worth it.

    Seriously. We’ll test drive that puppy. Girls can be surprisingly hard on furniture in ways that you wouldn’t imagine in boys.

  4. Here’s another idea that we’ll be in the market for soon: bunk beds.

    Did the Shakers use bunk beds?

  5. Hi Ruth Anne- Blogger keeps eating my remarks. Grrrrrrr.

    Bunk beds nicht nein Sippican. I hate to say it, but I’ve been warned off them- Lawsuits galore.

    Shakers never made them, AFAIK. They used to make trundle beds, which are kind of neat.

    They had all sorts of other nifty beds. They had one for invalids with a captured ball in a raceway along the bedrail, so the recuperating person could roll the ball back and forth and pass the time.

    Even though they were celibate, they raised foundlings and the children of their converts. They made lovely cradles and small beds too. They had a fairly well known version of the “cannonball” bed, with round knobs on top of low bedposts.

    For some reason, Shakers had a tradition of painting all their beds bottle green . No one knows why.

    I’ll make a prototype of the toychest next week, and show everybody how it turns out. But the Adams get the first one if they want it.

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