Solid Hickory Toy Chest with Triple Heart Inlay

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Project by JeremyT posted 02-06-2016 05:45 PM 1876 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started this project before my daughter was born and now at 11 months I am finally finished.
Working in short bursts I think I spent as much time dragging equipment out and putting it away as I did shaping the wood. This is by far my most involved project to date and I learned a ton about woodworking and wood movement in the process. I can attest that hickory is hard on jointer / planer knives and chisels.
The 4 side panels were made with a Freud ogee raised panel set. The lower rails were made extra wide for the final embellishments which were created with a jig saw and finished with a spindle sander and hand files. The legs were rough cut on the band saw and shaped with rasps, files, and hand sanding. Panels are joined to the legs with 4 dominoes on each side for a total of 32. The box floor is solid hickory set in a groove in the lower rails and reinforced with a single domino in the center of each end to accommodate outward expansion / contraction. After making the lid it set on my bench top for awhile and I noticed substantial cupping that seemed to change direction every few days.
I decided to reinforce with slats elongating the outer screw holes for movement. I shaped the lid to mimic the overall shape of the box with protruding legs but it still needed something. I opted for the triple heart inlay each signifying a family member. The hearts are made from mahogany, sapele, and cherry. Joining the lid to the box turned out to be the most difficult part of the project. Because the legs protrude I had to locate hinges that would allow the lid to overhang and rotate beyond the legs so the lid could open. I found the solution in face-mounted euro-style cabinet hinges and used 5 for the 14lb. lid. Then came the task of lid supports. I really wanted a soft-close feature since this is a toy chest for my baby girl. Hours of Internet searching revealed that my lid is too heavy for most options available. Also, because the European hinges are offset backwards to cover the tops of the legs the geometry of most options just will not work. Finally I found Hafele online and took one last stab at it with their Maxi Lid Stays. I was not able to utilize the soft close attachment because the mounting location conflicted with the rail / panel junction; but the lid stays work great and are strong enough that the soft close feature will not be missed.
The finish is General Finishes gel stain with four coats of water-based poly.

-- Jeremy - San Antonio, TX

6 comments so far

View recycle1943's profile


5281 posts in 2671 days

#1 posted 02-06-2016 06:40 PM

One beautiful piece of furniture – your attention to detail is duly noted and will surely be appreciatedby her, probably not for a couple years but it will come about.
(as will the top 3) imho

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View LesB's profile


2944 posts in 4492 days

#2 posted 02-06-2016 06:46 PM

Nice work. The inlays were great. I have used similar ones and enjoy doing them.
At first I wondered why you would work with such difficult wood but then I checked your profile and saw where you live. That explains a lot. LOL

-- Les B, Oregon

View socrbent's profile


1040 posts in 3319 days

#3 posted 02-06-2016 08:23 PM

Great execution and details. Was it careful wood selection or the finish that makes the hickory look even color?

-- socrbent Ohio

View JeremyT's profile


33 posts in 2743 days

#4 posted 02-06-2016 10:52 PM

Socrbent – Mostly wood selection – I spent a lot of time arranging the boards for the panels. I much preferred the natural wood but I pre-stained the raised portion of the panels prior to assembly so I was committed. The finish definitely evened everything out…and greatly reduced the impact of the inlay colors. Lesson learned.

-- Jeremy - San Antonio, TX

View Boxguy's profile


2894 posts in 3317 days

#5 posted 02-07-2016 04:10 AM

Jeremy, I like the lines in this piece…especially the feet. It will be bulky, but I wonder if a door closer would help? Nice work. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View oltexasboy1's profile


257 posts in 2754 days

#6 posted 02-07-2016 06:05 PM

Very nice especially out of Hickory. I know what the weather is like in San Antonio and was amazed that the wood behaved as well as it seems to. Good job.

-- "The pursuit of perfection often yields excellence"

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