Hope Chest

Plain Jane

Plain Jane

Well, I plum near forgot about this, but I was going through some of my shop pics tonight when I came across this simple beauty.

Earlier in the evening I was sitting out in the shop, feet up on the welding table, browsing a Highland Tool catalog, when it occurred to me that… I wasn’t doing anything.  Nothing.  The music was on, the lights were on, and there I was, sitting on me arse, completely at peace with my immobility.

You see, I have just completed the most prolific couple months the Bronze Oak Leaf has yet seen, and now I find myself in the unfamiliar situation of wondering what to do next.

I promised my sister a steel/wood coffee table.  Well, it took a year, but, check.

I promised my sister-in -law a hope chest for her daughter’s High School graduation gift.  A mad dash from mid-May to June 6, but, check.

And I promised myself a solid week saturated with woodworking at chair camp.  CHECK.

In between, I tried, and mostly failed, to take care of some of the house/husband/father work that piles up around your ears this time of year.  Well, I should get an “A” for effort at least.

Anyway, later on I was browsing some shop pics when I remembered how well this chest turned out, and some of the pics reminded me of some of the things I wanted to say about it.




Feet; before profiling

First of all, the joinery.  I called this chest Plain Jane because that’s what it is.  The lumber (white oak) is nice, but not flashy.  So the joinery had to be.  I’m happy to say that, for the first time, I had to patch no dovetails on a box.  None.  The glue helped out on some of the very minor problem areas, swelling the wood and closing tiny gaps, but all-in-all, not too shabby.

Even the dovetailed feet turned out perfect.


The bottom I decided to fancy-up a bit, and I made it frame-and-panel.  Simple rabbet cut in the box, some glue and screws, and a bottom that should stay put.  A nice touch.


The feet were different on this.  I took my cue from Glen Huey and made my feet just like a chest I saw him build.  Simple, stout, and should last a long time.


The applied molding around the base of the box covers up the tops of the feet, and the block nailed into the feet lends support directly to the corner of the chest.  It also projects ~1/8″ below the feet so it takes all the abuse from sliding around the floor.

The lid turned out nice, too.  It’s my first attempt at breadboard ends, and I did them the traditional way, with a 3/8″ tongue the entire width, and three 1-1/4″ tenons mortised and pegged into the ends.  That top is staying flat.


I even took half a Saturday and made a crosscut sled that allowed me to cut the sides and top with no fuss.  It killed me to give up that Saturday morning; the deadline was fast-approaching.  But it was well worth it.  I can now crosscut panels up to around 23″ wide.

I used simple butt hinges and a half-mortise lock from Horton Brasses.  Not a flashy chest at all, but it did appeal to my simple nature.

Well, the evening wasn’t a total wash.  My daughter came out to hang with me a bit, and I got the bright idea to sharpen my antique scythe and cut the hillside next to the shop.  After a good sweat was worked up, I figured that little burst of energy made up for my earlier slothfulness.  There’s just no rest for the wicked.

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About Sam

Young, good-looking, manly--you get the picture. Novice woodworker with just too much rolling around upstairs to keep to myself. Random thoughts, philosophical questions, the occasional flash of insight or just dumb luck that needs to be shared with anyone who cares.
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1 Response to Hope Chest

  1. Dad says:

    An exemplary effort worthy of endless praise. The best I’ve ever done is I once made a toothpick out of white oak, as I remember, while splitting firewood. Now go and be slothful for awhile.

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