Celebrate Hope Chest

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Project by Jonathan Szczepanski posted 02-02-2010 03:54 AM 8189 views 61 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this chest for Hope Rising, a charity that helps local non-profits in the D.C. region. At Celebrate Hope, their annual fund raising event, they auction off donated items from local businesses and individuals. I decided to make this chest, because I thought it fit right in with their theme.

52โ€ x 20โ€ x 20โ€

Walnut – Top, Base, Chest bottom, Miter-Keys accent, Trim around panels (Harvested from around the corner. The guy had it sitting in his shed for five years after he had it cut from his yard. Score!)
Hard Maple – Sides stiles and rails
Quilted maple veneer – Panels on MDF core
Maple Plywood – Back of chest.

Brass piano hinge
Brass lid supports

Wipe-on Poly (I used the Marc Spagnolo’s “A Simple Varnish Finish” from The Woodwhisperer )

Time spent building:
Much too long. I made some mistakes – don’t we all – as well as design changes mid-stream. Originally I was going to use walnut plywood with solid walnut frame for the top. I had it made, but I just didn’t like the way it looked. I replaced it with a solid walnut with breadboard ends.

Top – Simple breadboard ends with a tenon on the main panel and groove on the end caps.
Chest sides – Simple frame and panel construction, Mitered and miter keys for the corners. The back panel is rabbeted into the sides.
Chest bottom – Individual boards are ship-lapped to each other, the ends are tongue and grooved into the sides. None of the boards are glued so that the boards can expand and contract.
Base – The feet are two individual boards, glued together at 90 degrees. Then half of the material is removed from the inside top half to create a shelf for the stretchers to sit. They are then face glued to the stretchers. To create the space between the base and chest – I wanted it to look like it was floating – I then faced glued and screwed a spacer piece onto the back of the stretchers for the chest to sit on.

New Techniques:
Miter Keys, Veneered panels, Bookmatching, Breadboard panel, Design of the foot, shipped-lapped boards.

Tools used:
Tablesaw, jointer, planer, drill press, miter saw, ryoba, shoulder plane, block plane, jointer plane, smoothing plane, scraper, random orbit sander, bench chisels

-- Jonathan

31 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117786 posts in 4139 days

#1 posted 02-02-2010 03:58 AM

Wow that’s one cool design and a great build plus super woods.

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 4071 days

#2 posted 02-02-2010 03:59 AM

Extremely classy looking. Good work.

-- Router รจ ancora il mio nome.

View CanalboatJim's profile


201 posts in 4067 days

#3 posted 02-02-2010 04:10 AM

Absolutely gorgeous. What a lucky charity to have you as a patron.

-- Jim Westbrooks

View woodworm's profile


14476 posts in 4153 days

#4 posted 02-02-2010 04:10 AM

Very very nice looking chest. I appreciate you great work!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4235 days

#5 posted 02-02-2010 04:24 AM

Nice hope chest!

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 4051 days

#6 posted 02-02-2010 04:30 AM

Wow. Wow.

That is stunning.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View kosta's profile


946 posts in 3917 days

#7 posted 02-02-2010 05:00 AM

damn that look good

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12785 posts in 3719 days

#8 posted 02-02-2010 05:15 AM

great looking project… love the straight lines….

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View Vick's profile


49 posts in 3606 days

#9 posted 02-02-2010 05:43 AM

Very nice job!

-- Good energy perpetuates good energy!

View DraftsmanRick's profile


112 posts in 3622 days

#10 posted 02-02-2010 06:24 AM

There are alot of nice projects on here. Once in awhile i see something that makes me say WOW. Yours did it.

-- Jesus was a carpenter

View norwood's profile


303 posts in 3632 days

#11 posted 02-02-2010 06:58 AM

nice work well done

-- of all the things Ive lost in life i miss my mind the most

View SheriDi's profile


147 posts in 3866 days

#12 posted 02-02-2010 08:15 AM

Beautiful Jonathan! I love your choice of woods. What finish did you use?

I presume you designed it yourself? If so did you use Sketchup or another design program?

-- A Veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life. That is beyond honor

View Ken90712's profile


17794 posts in 3751 days

#13 posted 02-02-2010 11:53 AM

One of the best I have looked at on here! A project to be proud of ! Would like to have looked at more pics like the inside.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View NYWW's profile


12 posts in 3942 days

#14 posted 02-02-2010 01:13 PM

That is a really wondeful design. It looks fantastic. Great wood choices as well.

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 4471 days

#15 posted 02-02-2010 01:23 PM


AWESOME job and for a great cause. Of course I added this to My Favorites list so that I can steal your design. I partlicularly like the way you raised the casework off of the bottom rails. Adds a nice relief.

Question: Do you have any pics of the inside?

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

showing 1 through 15 of 31 comments

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