17th Century Chest in Walnut

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Project by james3one posted 02-17-2019 01:19 PM 928 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a faithful copy of what i’m guessing to be a mid-1600’s English Oak chest. All done by hand, including the moulding. I used locally sourced Walnut, some of which had to be laminated to make boards wide enough for the project. I used regular cotter pins to make the hinges. I heated them up to a good red, then let them cool slowly. Nicely annealed to help them bend easier. Given the seasoned wood(original was done in green wood) I had to cut the channels that the legs of the pins rested in. Those twisted ring hinges(gemmels) actually work well. The original chest had a hand forged lock which I chose to leave off. Wasn’t going to make the investment and i’m certainly not going to take up blacksmithing. The original oak chest can be seen in some of the pics. I used brad nails to secure all the joints, just like the original. Again, because of the seasoned wood, I pre-drilled all the nail holes. Most of the stock is at about 3/8” thick. Thin but strong. Feels rock solid. Rabbet joints create the carcass and the bottom is just nailed on. I stayed away from the corners so the bottom had some room to expand and contract. Nails can be very forgiving. I use scrap for the moulding so I couldn’t span the front without joining two pieces, just like the original.

The finish is Tried and Trued danish, real boiled linseed oil. The inside was pre-finished with a coat of shellac.

-- James, Tulsa OK,

2 comments so far

View AJ1104's profile


1017 posts in 2330 days

#1 posted 02-19-2019 02:21 AM

Nice chest. You did a great job following the original.

-- AJ

View WoodSpanker's profile


560 posts in 4063 days

#2 posted 03-01-2019 04:04 AM

carbon copy. Well done!

-- Adventure? Heh! Excitement? Heh! A Woodworker craves not these things!

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