Walnut and Sycamore Hope Chest

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Project by cracknpop posted 05-31-2012 02:58 AM 8378 views 32 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a walnut and quarter sawn sycamore hope chest I designed and built for my niece as a graduation gift. Having typically worked almost exclusively with red oak, I wanted to try something different. It is a rail and stile, flat panel construction with lock miter corner joints. Solid walnut top. Finished with an initial coat of tung oil rubbed in by hand and top coated with satin lacquer, sprayed 3 coats with light sanding in between each coat. Used 3 60# Lid-Stay Torsion hinges from Rockler which hold the top almost too well.

The center stiles created a bit of a challenge due to the arc in the top rail. I was able to cut the top of the stile on the miter saw, rout and then lightly sand to final fit. I wanted to be able to cut the arc in the rails in one set up rather than use bandsaw and flush router trim. The last picture shows the set up I made to use my palm router and straight upspiral bit to cut the arc in the end rails. Used the same set up for the longer front/back rails only with a much longer board (over 87” radius). Worked nicely, just as I expected.

I send out special thanks to LumberJocks sandhill, Wood-Mizer LT15, reedwood, and GrandpaLen for your thoughts and advice on my original design.

Feel free to share your thoughts… while I am quite pleased with the end result, I know I still have a lot to learn. Now to load it up and drive 12 hours to personally deliver it to my niece.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

36 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3403 days

#1 posted 05-31-2012 03:08 AM

Beautiful chest, really like the wood combo.

View Mark Shultz's profile

Mark Shultz

150 posts in 3194 days

#2 posted 05-31-2012 03:18 AM

I’d be interested in knowing the various dimensions you have running through the piece. I really like the design and may try a variant of it when i find the time.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6869 posts in 4784 days

#3 posted 05-31-2012 03:48 AM

Great job.

Very good workmanship.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View TomTinkerSum's profile


226 posts in 4639 days

#4 posted 05-31-2012 04:39 AM

Beautiful chest!! Thanks for sharing how you overcame obstacle of the great arch.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic.... :)

View a1Jim's profile


118090 posts in 4382 days

#5 posted 05-31-2012 05:25 AM

Very cool design , great wood and a super build.


View Ken90712's profile


17888 posts in 3993 days

#6 posted 05-31-2012 09:32 AM

Great job, really like the colors of this and the soft curves on the rails.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Granddaddy1's profile


182 posts in 3006 days

#7 posted 05-31-2012 02:37 PM

Beautiful! I really like the wood combination, and your design is great.

-- Ron Wilson - maker of fine firewood!

View cracknpop's profile


437 posts in 3153 days

#8 posted 05-31-2012 05:24 PM

Thank you for your kind comments.

Mark, regarding the dimensions, if you use Sketch-up, I would be willing to send you the file.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View Nselimis's profile


13 posts in 4058 days

#9 posted 05-31-2012 07:01 PM

I love the look of this chest (its been on the hony to do list for a while) if you could share the sketch-up file that would be awsome!

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3232 days

#10 posted 05-31-2012 08:38 PM

The level of accuracy in this piece is an example for all of us to follow. Thr selection of wood is superb.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 3641 days

#11 posted 05-31-2012 08:59 PM


-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 5023 days

#12 posted 05-31-2012 09:04 PM

Great wood combination, design, and craftsmanship!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4477 days

#13 posted 05-31-2012 11:35 PM

Beautiful hope chest!

View chrisstef's profile


18098 posts in 3811 days

#14 posted 06-01-2012 12:16 AM

Im really into the QS Sycamore. Very very nice project.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3495 days

#15 posted 06-01-2012 01:20 AM

Absolutely beautiful! The curves make it unique and the combination of qs sycamore and walnut is perfect. You did an outstanding job on this piece and she will treasure it.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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