Storage Bench/Hope Chest #1: The Initial Plans

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Blog entry by Tomcat1066 posted 01-11-2008 01:30 PM 3508 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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OK, so last night I sat down and drew out the plans for my sister-in-laws bench. As her family will be giving her stuff for her hope chest starting this coming Christmas, I figure this is the priority for me. The father-in-law’s flute case is secondary, because I don’t even know if he’d use the blasted thing.

After several problems getting the scan to load up, here is what I have so far:

Chest Plans

Sorry about the size. I had some difficulty there. I’m normally fairly tech savvy, but apparently not this time. Larger sized, and therefore more readable plans here.

The thing just doesn’t quite look right to me, and I’m not sure why. Obviously, these are initial plans, and therefore subject to change, but still.

Part of the problem may be that it’s kind of plain. I had toyed with the idea of making the legs curve up to the chest itself, have the outside edge continue the curve somewhat, then at the top of the chest body, have a more radical curve outward.

The problem with that is that my drawings sort of looked like ass. Not good at all. So, I came up with this idea. The legs would have all angles chamfered, and I’ve thought about using red oak for the legs and poplar for the body, to give it an interesting contrast and add interest to an otherwise plain piece.

Joints will be loose tenons, ala BeadLock probably. However, if I hit the lottery, it’s going to be straight Domino ;). The floor of the bench will be cedar planks with a 1/8” gap between them. They’ll be held in place with dowels.

My goals for this piece is to build a well constructed bench that can last for years and years, and that can blend in most design schemes later in my SIL’s life, as well using as little metal in the piece as humanly possible. Metal hinges, and that’s about it.

However, something in my gut says I’m screwing up somewhere. Luckily, I’m here with all you lumber jocks who can critique my plan. Any help you folks can give would be greatly appreciated. Next payday’s book will probably be on Sketchup, so I can figure out how the hell to use that program and have better pics and plans to share!

Sorry for the lack of an exploded view. That was just to far outside of what I really knew how to do.

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

4 comments so far

View gizmodyne's profile


1777 posts in 4060 days

#1 posted 01-11-2008 04:34 PM

It is a good start, you might think about how those panels are going to attach into the legs.

Sometimes when there are legs on a chest they build them with a frame and panel front. The legs form the frame along with two rails. Then you can tenon the rails into the legs and have a floating panel, that can even be plywood. You get more depth too.

Also you might try bringing those legs down a bit. Just over 1/4” might give a nice reveal.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3766 days

#2 posted 01-11-2008 04:39 PM

I’d looked at frame and panel, but there’s a couple of problems with that. One being that I have no clue how to do it with hand tools just yet. The one book I have with a similar bench is all about power tools, so it just doesn’t work for the direction I’m wanting to go. Check that, I may, but I’m not to sure yet.

However, I’ve got a book en route right now that should clear up a few of those mysteries for me.

Another issue is decent plywood. I haven’t been able to find any decent plywood that I’d consider using for a piece like this. So far, my only wood source as been Lowe’s. I’m not doing so hot on that front.

When you say “bring the legs down a bit”, are you talking about at the top? If so, I can definitely see 1/4” working pretty well. Just enough to show, but not enough to get in the way.

If not, then I’m lost. ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4047 days

#3 posted 01-12-2008 02:20 AM

If you cannot get decent ply . . . try buying D4S lumber (1×4 or 1×6 pine or poplar) and make panels from the boards. D4S boards will give you a board that has been finished on all 4 sides.

Pocket screws could be used to join the boards together to make panels (you know that I am kinda fond of pocket screws) OR you could use your mitre plane to make the boards into T&G and assemble the boadrs into panels.

If I have confused you . . . I’ll try and get some pics.

-- BLOG -

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3766 days

#4 posted 01-12-2008 04:06 AM

I hear what you’re saying Zuki. I’d planned on gluing poplar boards together with dowels for alignment to create the panels, rather than doing plywood. The ply was only for trying frame and panel style, which seemed more complicated over all.

However, please understand that help is appreciated ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

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