The Smile Made It All Worthwhile!

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Project by sethwells posted 07-08-2014 07:45 PM 2137 views 12 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My son’s 6th birthday was on July 5th. For at least the entire week leading up to that date, I was up until midnight, or later, working to finish this pirate chest for him.

I realized that I put incredible restrictions on myself by trying to hide a project from my kids. My son wants to be involved in everything I do in the shop (which I love), but if I’m hiding it from him I can only work on it once he is in bed. Of course, that means that the rest of the kids in the neighborhood are also asleep, so definitely no loud saws can be used.

Anyway, it was a labor of love that he will hopefully treasure for many years to come. I looked at a bunch of pictures of pirate chests, but didn’t find any plans that were what I wanted. So, this chest was completely designed by me. I was a little bummed that I ran out of time before I was able to put in the false bottom “secret compartment,” but maybe that can be a post-mod.

It’s made out of pine with red oak trim (stained with dark walnut). Construction is simple glue and screw, but the trim hides all of that. I used masonry nails on the trim to give it that old-style look. Hardware was not exactly what I had envisioned, but it’s what I could find. I did find a really cool old-timey skeleton key lock off of Amazon, though, and he LOVES that!

I am pretty new to the woodworking hobby, so this project gave me TONS of learning opportunities. It also gave me reason to buy a few more tools and that’s always a good thing!!

Oh yeah, before I gave it to him I sketched out a really simple treasure map. I hid the chest in the backyard and just gave him the map and the keys in an envelope. It was a lot of fun helping him find the treasure. Then…the look on his face made it worth all of the effort!! Priceless.

24 comments so far

View RussInMichigan's profile


598 posts in 2287 days

#1 posted 07-08-2014 08:06 PM

Wonderful Dad!

Great chest and you’re right, that smile is worth it.

One thing I made for my son was a wooden sword for him to have at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. He was 12, then.

Have a great day.

View palaswood's profile


940 posts in 1258 days

#2 posted 07-08-2014 10:12 PM

“Yo ho ho! A pirate’s life for me…”

That made me smile. Bravo man. That is by far the coolest toy chest ever. Way to go!

A pirate chest is something I have been wanting to build for some time, and you really set a nice blueprint here.

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View JoeinGa's profile


7563 posts in 1514 days

#3 posted 07-08-2014 10:55 PM

Awesome job Dad!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Cricket's profile (online now)


1910 posts in 1099 days

#4 posted 07-08-2014 11:20 PM

Being a daddy. You’re doin’ it right.

Love this!

-- "Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours."

View hookfoot's profile


179 posts in 1456 days

#5 posted 07-08-2014 11:46 PM

You are right. The smile says it all. Wonderful.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 1055 days

#6 posted 07-09-2014 12:43 AM

Now that’s a humpback chest. Nice job, you’re Son will always remember the story behind it.

View changeoffocus's profile


457 posts in 1124 days

#7 posted 07-09-2014 12:49 AM

Looks like something right out of Disneyland, great job he will be thrilled.

View NormG's profile


5555 posts in 2510 days

#8 posted 07-09-2014 01:01 AM

That looks wonderful and I am sure he will have many things within it soon

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View hotncold's profile


762 posts in 1051 days

#9 posted 07-09-2014 01:37 AM

Great chest! Great story!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2197 days

#10 posted 07-09-2014 02:39 AM

Great job from a great dad!

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

View ColonelTravis's profile


1288 posts in 1401 days

#11 posted 07-09-2014 03:58 AM

Just fantastic, love little stories like this.

View oldnovice's profile


5798 posts in 2874 days

#12 posted 07-09-2014 05:41 AM

Good story to treasure about the treasure chest!
Really nice work!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View hunter71's profile


2791 posts in 2693 days

#13 posted 07-09-2014 10:25 AM

Very cool piece. Treasure for a lifetime.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View sethwells's profile


25 posts in 1581 days

#14 posted 07-09-2014 11:10 AM

Thank you all so much for your kind words! I can’t believe I made it onto the Daily Top 3. This is only the second woodworking project that I’ve ever built!

I didn’t put it in the original post, but I had been trolling this site for a few years before I ever even started woodworking. You guys have inspired me so much along the way.

The two greatest things about Lumberjocks: 1) Thousands of woodworkers building amazing projects to draw inspiration from. 2) Thousands of woodworkers building a positive, helpful woodworking community.

Thanks, guys!

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8417 posts in 2935 days

#15 posted 07-09-2014 12:39 PM

Beautiful story and beautiful chest. Way to go dad!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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