Two of a Kind Hope Chest

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Project by eztrigger posted 04-18-2018 02:08 PM 1180 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s been forever since I posted, as I’ve found out that having kids makes it tough to get into the wood shop! You might say this chest is the second in a series of chests I am building for my kids, although I think the series ends here… After having built one in cherry for my first daughter, I wanted to go a different direction for my second daughter. This chest is made from solid walnut with the exception of the floor which is cedar planks over walnut slats. I started with a picture I found in “Blanket Chests” by Scott Gibson/Peter Turner. I modified the profiles for the legs and the side panels and replaced the flooring with cedar paneling, but the remainder is largely copied from that book.

This was my first in-depth use of sketchup for a project, and I found that to be really helpful in getting profiles printed out for the curves on the legs as well as getting all the dimension right on the joinery. It was also quite helpful in developing a cut list and laying out how many boards to purchase in what sizes.

Most of the build was pretty straightforward, although there were certainly a few mishaps along the way. My first attempt at the paneling was to saw and bookmatch a large piece of 8/4 board. When this turned in to way too much sapwood, I decided to attempt a book matched thick veneer. That also ended in disaster with the center glue line failing because I believe I clamped it up incorrectly and the thing swelled and buckled in the center! In the end I reverted to two plain boards as the panel and let the CNC lettering be the showcase. The letters are birds-eye maple, but I don’t think you can really see any figure due to their thin dimensions.

The other mishap was just misjudgment about the right way to cut breadboard tenons. In trying to cut them on the table saw with the fence on the far end of the lid(I know, wrong), I managed to get the saw to grab the piece and throw it, leaving a nasty scar on the lid. This lead to a long process of cutting thick veneer and re-facing two of the boards on the lid. I learned quite a bit about the best way to cut breadboard end tenons in that process.


the lid ready for veneer

one of the veneer pieces. I used a dovetail bit to cut the straight line on the lid and the veneer so the two would interlock when gluing down. I also had to use a fairly elaborate clamping caul system to get good pressure on the whole thing, as I don’t have a vacuum bag.

One of the more interesting parts for me was figuring out how to get rockler’s torsion hinges installed. They are supposed to fit 3/4” material, and this piece is 7/8” material. In the end, I made a router jig and cut shallow grooves in the back of the top rail to allow the hinge barrell a place to sit. I am quite satisfied with that approach to using those hinges on material too think for their design. I also had to make custom spacers for the lid side of the hinge since the legs rise 1/8” above the rails and keep the lid from getting close enough for the hinges. This worked well using the hinge bodies as guides for a pattern bit on the router(use painter’s tape to protect the hinge from the router bit bearing).

This project was supposed to be completed for her first birthday, but didn’t end up finishing until her 2nd. Ouch. Better late than never, right? Ah well, I hope you enjoy viewing, and Happy Woodworking.

-- "Some get spiritual 'cause they see the light, and some 'cause they feel the heat." --Ray Wiley Hubbard

5 comments so far

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4367 days

#1 posted 04-18-2018 06:53 PM

Great work, thanks for posting

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View wrenchhead's profile


234 posts in 3937 days

#2 posted 04-18-2018 10:02 PM

They both look great! I really like the breadboard ends and the panel design on the walnut one.

-- I could quit if I wanted

View Richard's profile


11309 posts in 3806 days

#3 posted 04-19-2018 01:08 AM

Very Nice Indeed & Well Done! Thanks for all of the Detail!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View eztrigger's profile


162 posts in 2700 days

#4 posted 04-19-2018 12:59 PM

thanks all! I enjoy watching everyone else’s posts, so it’s good to pay back a little every now and then.

-- "Some get spiritual 'cause they see the light, and some 'cause they feel the heat." --Ray Wiley Hubbard

View fllatlander's profile


5 posts in 4001 days

#5 posted 03-06-2019 02:24 PM

Really like the walnut chest!

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