The Yokozuna Chest!

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Project by Lemongrasspicker posted 11-19-2018 04:14 PM 2264 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

If you prefer not to read, the video is here:

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This project was a BIG one for my little space. There were a few reasons I wanted to build something like this was two fold. I needed some more storage for things like shoes/clothing in my apartment and such but I also wanted to build something out of solid Ash.

Ash is one of my favorite woods, and sadly it’s being wiped out rapidly by the emerald ash borer (do a search, it’s pretty tragic what is happening). This project was a bucket list item for me since I had wanted to make a sort of hope chest/foot locker item. But I also wanted to do it out of ash before it gets either too expensive to be practical or it becomes endangered/extinct (it is a possibility).

The chest is entirely joinery, I messed up on one of the handle pieces and ended up having to dowel it to lock it in place.

This was a really big job, arguably the hardest part was cutting the boards down to thickness. They started out at 7/8 and ended up at 5/8 for each piece except the floor which I left at 6/8. Doing this by hand was a 10k calorie workout but if I hadn’t done it the chest would’ve been far too heavy to be practical. The patterns that the herashi kanna leaves is really pleasant I think. For the boards I left the inside bits patterned and didn’t smooth them out. Has a cool effect on the feel of the piece.

The joinery was laid out to maximize the amount of visible grain. So no “through joinery” or any exposed joinery end bits. All of it was done with sliding dovetails, wedged blind mortise and tenons, and and blind mortise and tenon. The only place where I had to alter my plans was where I screwed up one of the “handle” bits and had to use dowels to fix it. The joinery is not perfect, but I don’t have all day to cut one joint, so I have to make the most of my time and that includes working quickly.

For the floor piece I used the only piece that had a knot in it. The grain was still insane.

And some closeups of the ash figure. I absolutely love the grain on these pieces and I was fortunate enough to find these boards. Once they had been finish planed the grain really popped nicely. I did not use any sandpaper on this piece.

All in all I’ll say that I am very glad that this build is complete. It was a huge amount of work for me in my little space. The whole thing was done with only the tools that fit in my little traditional toolbox plus the planing board.

Thanks for reading/watching! This one should last a while. Domo


7 comments so far

View Andre's profile


4574 posts in 2923 days

#1 posted 11-19-2018 06:32 PM

Very good project! Ash is a great wood to work with I agree, really like the hidden joinery, may have to give that a try when I have the chance.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View ohwoodeye's profile (online now)


2643 posts in 4270 days

#2 posted 11-19-2018 07:30 PM

There’s a reason we created electricity… we wouldn’t have to struggle with hand tools.
Nice build either way.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View swirt's profile


6274 posts in 4089 days

#3 posted 11-20-2018 02:23 AM

Nice project and nice handwork.

-- Galootish log blog,

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 3129 days

#4 posted 11-20-2018 03:49 AM

That ash looks very nice. Great made such fine work of it. I just finished my first of these and I can’t wait to make more.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View RLA1974's profile


19 posts in 1688 days

#5 posted 11-20-2018 04:07 PM

Looks great. Love your videos.

View recycle1943's profile


5484 posts in 2739 days

#6 posted 11-20-2018 04:26 PM

good looking project

several things that keep me from replicating, electric, patience and most importantly – Talent !

I’m positive I would have found a lumber yard to plane them down

-- 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 Lemongrasspicker's profile


123 posts in 1613 days

#7 posted 11-21-2018 01:17 AM

Thank you for the kind words gentlemen. If I had an electric planer it’d probably be my most used tool next to my kanna. A nice positive is that once I was done with the planing a friend commented “Your arms are looking like tree trunks”


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