Cherry Viking Chest

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Project by james3one posted 03-07-2015 10:08 PM 4586 views 11 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a Viking age chest made out of a single board of Cherry. Except for the hinges and rare earth magnets it is correct for the period. The bottom cants out at about 5 degrees on all four sides(Keeps it stable on a longboat). Front and sides meet at a half-lap and the bottom is set in with stopped and through tenons at each end. Sides, face and bottom are secured with maple pegs. The hardware is held in place with clenched cut nails. The top is slightly curved so the straps on the hinges had to be hammered into the same shape.

It’s finished with a thin coat of Boiled Linseed Oil(Tried and True) and a single coat of wax. The through tenon is a little more through than the original(Found in a bog in Mastermyr) but provides a nice hand hold.

This is one of those random, spur of the moment projects that just happened to work out. I didn’t have a cut list, or my usual computer model. I understood the design and joinery needed and that’s all. I allowed the angles to be determined as they came up. Length of parts based a little on aesthetics but mostly on how much wood there was. I don’t recommend doing a project of any sort by the seat of one’s pants, but, that having been said it was really fun to do and I was really pleased at how well this came out. I didn’t have the hardware I wanted but time continued to march on. Needed this to get out the door, so I made due. Half way into this I decided where it was going to go, which drove things on. If you get the chance, let a project run itself. It’s very liberating and just a bit inspiring.


-- James, Tulsa OK,

14 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


5588 posts in 3450 days

#1 posted 03-07-2015 11:40 PM

Very nice project

View visualj's profile


36 posts in 3012 days

#2 posted 03-07-2015 11:52 PM

When I first saw that tool chest I knew I had to make one.

I made a mock up out of pine to test the angles, but never got to the one out of oak…

Looks good out of cherry, though.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24649 posts in 5137 days

#3 posted 03-08-2015 03:30 AM

Nice work. Was that long chest for a specific purpose?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View james3one's profile


59 posts in 4234 days

#4 posted 03-08-2015 04:35 AM

It’s close to 18” long, 4-1/2” deep, nearly 7” tall and none too large on the inside. This is a jewelry chest for a talented silversmith.

-- James, Tulsa OK,

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4328 days

#5 posted 03-08-2015 12:18 PM

That really looks nice. It’s also very interesting.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Tom Regnier's profile

Tom Regnier

535 posts in 4008 days

#6 posted 03-08-2015 01:53 PM

A real eye catching piece…nicely done. I like the half lap joinery and the clenched cut nails…did you do anything special or just hammer them shut.

View james3one's profile


59 posts in 4234 days

#7 posted 03-08-2015 03:09 PM

Tom, I was a little concerned about damage to the Cherry so I took an inexpensive screwdriver and filed a small channel in the end, just the size of the nails. I used that to bend the nails over. For the inside of the chest I also drilled enough of a hole to get the nails started into the wood. Then hammered them home. That worked so well i’ve continued to use that method.

-- James, Tulsa OK,

View a1Jim's profile


118321 posts in 5039 days

#8 posted 03-08-2015 03:09 PM

A unique idea well done.


View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4609 days

#9 posted 03-08-2015 07:21 PM

Great looking chest! It’ll make a great home for the jewelry!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View jdh122's profile


1282 posts in 4279 days

#10 posted 03-08-2015 09:35 PM

Great job on the chest.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 3332 days

#11 posted 03-09-2015 05:15 AM

Very cool! Gotta add this one to my make list.

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Ivan's profile


17284 posts in 4329 days

#12 posted 03-09-2015 01:03 PM

Box looks very authentic and rustic. Those iron hinges are just the ’’cherry on a cake’’!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View lumberdog's profile


249 posts in 4729 days

#13 posted 03-09-2015 01:35 PM

Great job on the box, where did you find the hinges you used ?

-- Measure twice, cut once, then force it to fit.

View james3one's profile


59 posts in 4234 days

#14 posted 03-09-2015 01:54 PM

Lumberdog: Lee Valley. They have some nice ‘Antique’ strap hinges. I’ve gone to them for this as well as my tool box.

-- James, Tulsa OK,

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