Mud Chest

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Project by Bertha posted 02-20-2018 01:39 AM 2108 views 3 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wanted to make a doorside chest to hold shoes and coats. It’s made of local cherry and wormy chestnut and a fair amount of hand tools were used.

Here we go. Let the milling begin. I’ll make the case 3/4 and the inset panels 1/4 inch.

Going a little curvy on the arms. I designed them from some Shaker photos. I’ll use 3/4” square and round M/T (will make sense later). I should mention that I want this to come apart into 2 sections. I had to factor in what will tend to stay fit with gravity; and what should require hardware.

This is the greatest thing ever. Die grinder around $50 at harbor freight. Basically a handle-less router with a 1/4 inch collet. I chunked a rasp bit into it. Faster than a shave but not as cool.

I finished these first b/c I don’t generally like curves.

I breadboarded the top b/c you know that thing’s going to cup and piss you off.

I made a dovetail saw and bragged about giving it no set. Well, here I am prepping it for set. Choked like Christef on a date.

You know the drill, throughs all around. My saw works great now with some set.

This lid is going to take a lot of weight so even with the breadboard, I wanted a strong crossmember. Just dovetailed some random scrap in.

I wanted the lid 1/2 inch proud so I could nudge it up with a foot if my hands were full. I used a stainless piano hinge that I had to cut.

OK, well I’m not using a penetrating oil this time. I want this to be fairly rustic with the defects & toolsmarks standing out. I tried everything but I settled on 1) transtint red mahogany in alcohol for grain raise; knocked it down; 2) Amber buttonlac with Transfast dark walnut in alcohol; 3) finally wipe-on strength poly with transfast dark walnut. No wax yet, but I’ll probably use black briwax.

made feet.

Glued up a bunch of 1/4” chestnut panels.

Dry fit. The chestnut will only get tinted poly.

Just rail and stile bits on the router table. Everything fit as expected.

Before I started turning, I prepared a lathe tool.

I found the Sorby turnmaster head at the woodcraft clearance rack for like $10. I bought 5 of them, sorry. I then just got some carbide inserts, mostly off the interwebz. Orange osage and you’ve got a tool for $20 or so.

It’ll even tackle a tagua nut.

Spindles with a 3/4” tenon.

3/4” square tenon for the arms.

So here’s the deal, I’m going to permanently attach the arm to the back, permanently attach the spindle to the base, but leave the round tenon in the arm unglued. I cut some 1/4” steel plate and attached the back to the base, as well. I didn’t take pictures but although overkill, it comes apart pretty easily.

Clearance could have been a serious issue but I kept in in mind. Splayed the spindles out at 5 degrees.

Turned some buns with a 3/4” round tenon to cap the through tenon. I like the shaker chairs with this feature. Anyhow, it wasn’t needed but it’s bubinga.

Ran some base moulding (power) and pinned it on.

I’ve got a thing for hooks and I pick up cool ones when I see them. Most are cast but a couple are smithed. I’ve got one on the way from Etsy to fill that gap.

Functional piece but I had some fun with it. I was very limited on dimensions b/c I need to keep the hallway to a guest bedroom wheelchair accessible. Thanks for looking.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

28 comments so far

View lysdexic's profile


5349 posts in 3785 days

#1 posted 02-20-2018 02:08 AM

That’s is a lot of work but what a great piece of furniture to show for it. Timeless.

You need one more hook to the left. The imbalance kills me.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - nobodhi_here

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26458 posts in 4268 days

#2 posted 02-20-2018 02:22 AM

Nice work on the chest. Great joinery!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3855 days

#3 posted 02-20-2018 02:23 AM

lol. I’ve got one in the mail from a blacksmith your neck o the woods. It drives me absolutely batty, too.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View lysdexic's profile


5349 posts in 3785 days

#4 posted 02-20-2018 02:36 AM

Completely off topic, but I have to ask. How is it that you ended up with 4 single gang light switches arranged vertically?

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - nobodhi_here

View balidoug's profile


524 posts in 3641 days

#5 posted 02-20-2018 03:21 AM

A fabulous piece and an inspiring post. Great joinery, and wonderful commentary. thanks for the inspiration.

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View TechRedneck's profile


770 posts in 4019 days

#6 posted 02-20-2018 03:26 AM

Hey Neighbor! Nice work there….
I better not show this to the wife, she has been asking for one of those for a while. I am glad to see you making good use of all that chestnut.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2648 days

#7 posted 02-20-2018 03:41 AM

I’m gonna apologize first. Then I’m going to spurt on the top :)

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View WhattheChuck's profile


464 posts in 4723 days

#8 posted 02-20-2018 05:59 AM

Great piece—I’ve been thinking ‘coat rack’ for a while…

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


21687 posts in 4838 days

#9 posted 02-20-2018 09:11 AM

Awesome work. Looks like a Top 3 from here.

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

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3855 days

#10 posted 02-20-2018 12:08 PM

Thanks guys!
Lysdexic, regarding the gangs, I have no Earthly idea. They were like that when I bought the house and it would be a really wide board to replace. The same setup is on the door to the rear porch. They just control outdoor lights and it seems like it would be more trouble drilling the logs for individual boxes, rather than a single multi. Until I go all electronic, it will remain a mystery.

Tech, I’ve got to get in touch with you. My wood situation is pathetic. I ordered some wood from Woodsource (sp?) online and it was taking forever to arrive. I looked into it and my work firewall had blocked the Paypal payment. So no wood and some embarrassment.

Fridge, it’s fap-proof poly. Way ahead of you.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4627 days

#11 posted 02-20-2018 12:56 PM

haha i was wondering about that no-set saw :-)

i like the idea of extending to lip of the lid for easy open… good thinking.

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3855 days

#12 posted 02-20-2018 01:03 PM

Thanks, Aaron. I started out with the entire top extended out but it not only looked weird, it exposed those corners at shin/knee height. I don’t have a good track record of injury and my dog already jumps into my large coffee table/chest.

I forgot the bottom, so I’ll post some pictures. I wanted the bottom removable, so I had to trim the back above the strike line to let the bottom slide out. I recycled the shelf from a bought piece of furniture that I removed to fit my htpc inside. I also had to remove the rear portion of the feet, so I blocked it. Ah, the pictures will make more sense.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17435 posts in 3781 days

#13 posted 02-20-2018 01:03 PM

A fine mud chest, Al. The finish choices were brilliant as well. I did miss the part where you attached the back panel to the four-sided chest. That’s done to allow disassembly, so I’m guessing screws? And, how’d the feet attach?

So many questions…

Nice Job!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Porchfish's profile


862 posts in 3695 days

#14 posted 02-20-2018 01:42 PM

Nice work ! My wife often says “my name is mud” so I guess I too should have a mud chest ! Might be a little late for me. So I think I’ll just admire your instead !

Goodony’a !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4029 days

#15 posted 02-20-2018 02:13 PM

Bertha, I’ve seen one of these in an antique shop and it was very similar to your reproduction. You did a wonderful job on this project.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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