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Keepsake Curved Lid Trunk

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Project by Lenny posted 11-06-2014 09:33 PM 1730 views 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of my recent project posts was a bed that took me years to complete. This is a keepsake trunk that also took years to complete but for a different reason. In early 2011 I saw an ad on Craigslist for some VERY old chestnut boards. How old? How about 1799 old! To make this story as short as possible, I ended up buying 19 good sized boards that had been floorboards in a house built in 1799. The seller assured me it was chestnut when I commented that it looked a lot like oak. He was part of the crew that tore down the house and he showed me a picture of it along with a 1799 marker that had been inscribed at one corner of the house. Ah, there’s the rub! I later learned that it was/is in fact red oak, but not before I had begun making this trunk. I completed the lid and stopped everything to drown in my sorrow. It was not until recently that I picked up the project again when I resolved that I had already put a good amount of time and work into it and that it would still make a beautiful trunk. I plan to post a blog to provide additional information and photos on the wood, the coopering process and the hot pipe bending process.

The overall dimensions of the chest are 22” long by 12” wide by 14-3/4” high to the top of the curved lid. Credit for the design goes to Garrett Glaser who made the trunk for American Woodworker magazine (issue #149, Aug/Sept 2010).

A tricky aspect of the project was bending the “straps” for the lid. The author recommended hot pipe bending. I made the jig necessary to hold the propane burner inside the galvanized pipe. It takes a certain touch and I ruined a few pieces before getting it right. Glaser used meranti (aka, Phillipine mahogany, aka luaun) for the straps. A friend gave me a piece for the project but I was unable to get it supple enough to bend; it kept cracking. I resawed some walnut, making extra pieces, and eventually got the hang of the bending technique.

Glaser installed a key escutcheon for decorative purposes only. I had an old lock and key taken out of a sideboard drawer. I decided to use it for the trunk. Not until I had it installed did I realize it would not hold the lid locked since the locking bar simply goes straight up! I may be changing this out for a hasp. The first lid stay I bought was not of sufficient strength to keep the lid from slamming closed. The newer, heavy duty one seems to prevent the lid from closing all the way. A hasp will pull it tight.

The finish is Bush oil. Besides its age, I like the nail holes and staining of the wood…patina, if you will. It’s interesting to think how many families, or generations of the same family, walked across the boards. How many children played on the floor? If old boards could only talk!

UPDATE: I posted a blog: “Techniques”: http://lumberjocks.com/Lenny/blog/43077

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI





17 comments so far

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7798 posts in 2769 days


#1 posted 11-06-2014 09:50 PM

ive got some chestnut oak too lenny…LOL…SO SORRY BUD, THAT HAD TO BE A REAL BAD POKE….but you sure did a beautiful job here, your the second buddy to make a curved lid on a project, and its really getting to me….ive got a few projects to finish and then its going to be some box making…ive got christmas to take care of….and i need to make some heirloom projects…you did a fantastic job…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View littlecope's profile

littlecope

3055 posts in 2968 days


#2 posted 11-06-2014 10:13 PM

Nothing wrong with Red Oak my Friend, and nothing wrong with this Fine Trunk you’ve made either!
Nice determination on your part, bringing the project back to the front burner, and sticking to it when the bending didn’t go your way… Excellent Work!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Woodwrecker's profile

Woodwrecker

3928 posts in 3041 days


#3 posted 11-06-2014 10:19 PM

Nice job Lenny !
Top to bottom that chest spells class.
Your level of craftsmanship just keeps getting higher and higher.

-- Eric, central Florida

View Lenny's profile

Lenny

1489 posts in 2993 days


#4 posted 11-06-2014 10:23 PM

Thanks Grizz. Speaking of that second buddy…thanks Mike. Sometimes things don’t go our way but we have to push through it.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Lenny's profile

Lenny

1489 posts in 2993 days


#5 posted 11-06-2014 10:24 PM

Thank you Eric. Much appreciated.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

5257 posts in 3348 days


#6 posted 11-07-2014 12:04 AM

Hey Lenny,
That is sweet. I have not seen finger joints on a curve before – neat.
The wood looks warm. I like it. And I am not usually a fan of red oak – this looks different.
And I like the way the top starts out vertical and then curves. That is a nice design detail.

Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View blackcherry's profile

blackcherry

3313 posts in 3289 days


#7 posted 11-07-2014 12:52 AM

This came out FAB. Lenny ! I bet this was quite a challenge but you’ve came out on top, nice work….BC

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

5241 posts in 1509 days


#8 posted 11-07-2014 12:53 AM

Well executed and nice work on the detail. The work on the straps are awesome.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Lenny's profile

Lenny

1489 posts in 2993 days


#9 posted 11-07-2014 01:18 AM

Thanks Steve. The finger joints cut into the lid was pretty straightforward. You set up stop blocks and basically push the lid through your dado blades. Cutting the fingers on the lid endcaps presented some issues and required precision. Thanks Wilson and doubleDD.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View mike1950's profile

mike1950

360 posts in 1264 days


#10 posted 11-07-2014 01:43 AM

VERY VERY nice trunk. Beautiful old growth red oak.

-- "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."– Albert Einstein

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17672 posts in 3142 days


#11 posted 11-07-2014 02:22 AM

It came out really nice.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View moonls's profile

moonls

412 posts in 2452 days


#12 posted 11-07-2014 02:51 PM

I applaud your problem solving of this difficult project. What a beautiful treasure chest!

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View Lenny's profile

Lenny

1489 posts in 2993 days


#13 posted 11-07-2014 04:14 PM

Thank you Mike, Bob and Lorna.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Roger's profile

Roger

19881 posts in 2270 days


#14 posted 11-08-2014 01:05 AM

This chest is outstanding Lenny! WowZa!! I like everything about it. Very detailed, and lotsa love put into this. It’s way cool that wood is that old. Very very cool

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View Lenny's profile

Lenny

1489 posts in 2993 days


#15 posted 11-08-2014 02:04 AM

Thank you Roger.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

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