Pirate Treasure Chest

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Project by chopnhack posted 10-31-2012 02:48 AM 7758 views 9 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Done in time for Halloween!!! The boys wanted to be pirates this year and naturally needed a treasure chest to collect their booty from the neighborhood! LOL My search for plans yielded a few plans that were free but nothing fit the bill. I really wanted something special and the youngest watches a show that has a treasure chest in it and he wanted it to be that shape. A few quick renderings in sketchup and some tweaking in the shop for proportions and a box joint jig later and we have a chest! Well it wasn’t really that fast…. The main pieces were cut out very quickly, the coopering of the top is another story. If only I had a pair of dividers…. I did the top by carefully marking and fitting each piece using a block plane and sandpaper. I needed to use a dremel to carefully grind the underside of the slats to allow the side supports of the top to “notch” into the top slats as the slats started around the upper curve. Around the lower curve, the underside of the slats needed to be relieved to follow the curve. Fun, but time consuming and I probably should have jointed the slats first….

I used Transtint dyes and some van dyke brown glaze with shellac as the finish. The shellac was rubbed down with fine steel wool to take the sheen down a few notches.

The brass latch in the front was improved upon by adding a small plastic “washer” cut out of a thin sheet of plastic from an electrical tape box cover. It stuck to the new finish well and allows the brass lock to pivot smoothly.

Thanks for looking, hope you liked it!

-- Sneaking up on the line....

13 comments so far

View sethwells's profile


25 posts in 3355 days

#1 posted 10-31-2012 03:17 PM

Great pirate chest! Could the show that your youngest watches be….Jake and the Neverland Pirates? ‘Cause it looks like the one in that show (I have a 4-year-old little boy – I think that is required watching).

What did you use to fasten the top slats? Are those some kind of special nails?

I’m interested in making a pirate chest (or two) and would love to see the plans for this one – if you wouldn’t mind sharing.

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 3675 days

#2 posted 10-31-2012 05:09 PM

Thanks Seth! And yes, you guessed it! I didn’t have time to do any banding or anything else, but at least the shape is correct. The slats are shaped and glued to the top’s side supports. Each slat was clamped down to the side supports and to each other for at least 30 minutes. Don’t let the nails deceive you, they are only there for decoration and were added after the final shaping and sanding of the top. The nails are masonry fluted nails, not cut nails. There are really no plans per say as I did a few renderings and went from there.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3765 days

#3 posted 10-31-2012 05:11 PM

Great job! My little girl seems to be developing a fondness for all things pirate. I bet I’ll end up making something similar before long.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3456 days

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

Keeping your plates full for the halloween.
Both your works – pirate’s chest and the anchor are proof of your excellent craftsmanship.

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3778 days

#5 posted 11-03-2012 03:46 PM

I really like the look of this chest, it’s an instant antique. The nail work really makes it shine and the slightly rough construction helps out with the fantasy I’m sure. Any idea why (historically) the lid has such a high curve to it? It’s an iconic shape yet I can’t see any obvious reason for it.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 3675 days

#6 posted 11-04-2012 01:12 AM

Thanks guys!

Gene thanks for picking up on the details! The slightly rough construction was not by design, but rather virtue of my limited time, skill and work holding surfaces. I found myself shaping the top slats with a block plane and holding the slats as I shaped them :O It seemed the only way to achieve a rounding effect to the underside of certain slats.

To your question, I do not have a definitive answer. My conjecture is that the domed tops:
1. Kept water out by allowing it to run off.
2. The shape was stronger than a flat top and may have been used to sit on.
4. The domed top allowed for more storage.

Thanks for finding my project, I am always amazed at and follow what you post. Very inspiring work :-)

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View HorizontalMike's profile


7933 posts in 4194 days

#7 posted 12-02-2012 02:57 PM

Wow! Very cool, and a very nice job on that top! Wooden dowels?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 3675 days

#8 posted 12-02-2012 03:08 PM

Thanks Mike! The chest was made out of two 1×12’s and a plywood bottom. The top was made up of narrow slats that I beveled together using a hand plane.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View GaryCN's profile


507 posts in 5215 days

#9 posted 10-16-2013 03:49 PM

Can you post the sketchup schematic that you made?

-- Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4147 days

#10 posted 10-16-2013 04:03 PM

This is a very attractive chest. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 3675 days

#11 posted 10-20-2013 01:13 AM

Thanks guys.

Gary, here are some more photos. I tried to upload the sketchup file, but trimble doesn’t support the free version being uploaded to the 3d warehouse anymore?? Let me know if you have any other questions.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View Hillid435's profile


2 posts in 2504 days

#12 posted 01-19-2015 03:42 AM

Hi, do you have plans available for the Pirate Treasure Chest? If so please email me at [email protected] thanks!

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 3675 days

#13 posted 01-19-2015 03:47 AM

Hi, do you have plans available? If so please email me at [email protected] thanks!

- Hillid435

No plans per se, use your judgement on proportions and I can help you along the way.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

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