Keeping Chest--Plans from Charles Neil

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Project by grace123 posted 03-04-2018 05:27 AM 2221 views 3 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this chest for my grandson who just turned 8 years of age and is ready to be baptized. As each of our grandchildren has reached this birthday and baptism, I have made a keeping chest for them. I have followed the plans from Charles Neil for each chest. This chest is made from cherry. I decided to be brave and give dovetails a shot. This is my first attempt at cutting dovetails by hand. The chest is 18 inches long and 14 inches wide. I chiseled the name of my grandson on the front. It was fun to build. The grandson who will next turn 8 is already telling me how he would like me to make his chest.

15 comments so far

View Rich's profile


5609 posts in 1360 days

#1 posted 03-04-2018 06:09 AM

Beautiful work. You can’t go wrong with a Charles Neil design.

It sounds like it’s time for the next one. Can’t wait to see it.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Kelster58's profile


759 posts in 1311 days

#2 posted 03-04-2018 01:35 PM

That is very nice !! GREAT job !!

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16695 posts in 3389 days

#3 posted 03-04-2018 01:54 PM

Grace, those dovetail cuts in Picture 6… the way there’s cut, the joint has no holding power. Tails need to be wides at the end grain and narrow at the baseline. Here’s a pic that might make it clearer than my lame description.

The carving is wonderful, and I love the finish. For first-time dovetails, the fit is great. Hope this helps.

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

View BB1's profile


1639 posts in 1619 days

#4 posted 03-04-2018 02:10 PM

Beautiful keepsake. What a wonderful tradition.

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3575 days

#5 posted 03-04-2018 04:15 PM

Very beautiful, and your Grandson will love and charrish it. This is a fine piece to be handed down and kept in the family. Very nicely done

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Sylvain's profile


1043 posts in 3270 days

#6 posted 03-04-2018 04:29 PM

The joint are tight.
I like the finish.
The carving is great.

Could you explain how you did the feet, please.

I am afraid Smitty is right. Yours is a variety of finger joints
But … only woodworkers will see it.

Don’t be disappointed, its a great gift.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3638 days

#7 posted 03-04-2018 05:14 PM

This chest is so beautiful and nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Joe's profile


527 posts in 1858 days

#8 posted 03-04-2018 05:30 PM

You made your grandson a wonderful treasure. He will love for his chest long after your gone. What a great Job, your skill is amazing!

-- CurleyJoe, "You only learn from your mistakes"

View theoldfart's profile


11629 posts in 3222 days

#9 posted 03-04-2018 07:24 PM

Grace, really nice work. The bracket feet are well done as is the carving.
The more dovetails you do the better they’ll get. I keep a couple of my less than spectacular attempts on my bench as a reminder to check my layouts before cutting.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30550 posts in 3109 days

#10 posted 03-04-2018 07:36 PM

Very nice work

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View grace123's profile


258 posts in 3533 days

#11 posted 03-04-2018 07:59 PM

To Smitty_Cabinetshop:

Thank you for your input. I appreciate the opportunity to learn to improve the quality of my work. I will get busy on researching the proper way to lay out dovetails. Thanks.

View grace123's profile


258 posts in 3533 days

#12 posted 03-05-2018 03:09 AM

To Sylvain:

Here is a scanned image of the template from Charles Neil’s plans for a keeping chest. How to make the bracket feet:
Depending on the scale of your project, you of course want to make the feet to a nice proportion. You begin by making a nice concave on the material for the feet. I have a large router bit that makes a pleasing concave. You can also use a table saw to do cove cutting. Also consider doing a round over on what will be the top edge of the feet. Also, it is good to be sure to have enough length in the wood so you don’t run short and try to make your cove match. I made a permanent template from 1/4 inch plywood. I glued a paper pattern on the plywood and cut that out with a band saw. Then you can place the pattern face up and face to get two mirror image pieces for each bracket foot. Then trace the pattern on the flat side (meaning the side opposite the cove). Be sure to draw the pattern in pairs. Then cut out each piece (you will need eight, one pair per bracket foot) with a band saw or scroll saw. I like to use a Forstner bit to drill the circular portion because it gives very nice shape, better than I can cut. After you have cut the pairs, make a 45 degree miter cut on the straight edge of each pair and glue. After the glue dries sand as needed.

View Oldtool's profile


2955 posts in 2962 days

#13 posted 03-05-2018 07:57 PM

Very nice, this is a beautiful build.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View SteveGaskins's profile


762 posts in 3358 days

#14 posted 03-11-2018 12:55 AM

Nice chest. Love the feet.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View Sylvain's profile


1043 posts in 3270 days

#15 posted 03-12-2018 02:51 PM

Thank you again.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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