Treasure chest

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Project by ffej posted 06-29-2007 05:44 AM 2060 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a chest I made for a friend who did me a big favor. Apparently his wife is really into pirates.

I tried to find some plans on the internet, but ended up just making my own.

It’s made from poplar and has box joints at the corners.

The half-round lid is made from 6 strips cut at 15 degrees on each side (total 180 deg).
The slats (for the lid) are held together with biscuits, and then pinned with 1/4” dowels to the side pieces.

I tried a layered finish, something I have seen Norm doing lately…
First I stained the whole thing red. (It looked horrible at first but I perservered :-)
I followed that with a couple coats of walnut gel-stain and finally a wiping poly.

I got a lot of compliments, so I am making another one.

This time I’m going for a more rustic look.
That’s a whole different story yet to be finished.

-- Jeff - Pflugerville, TX

15 comments so far

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4073 days

#1 posted 06-29-2007 06:04 AM

very cool…very inventive to make your own…turned out great…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4135 days

#2 posted 06-29-2007 06:39 AM

I bet you got a lot of compliments! Great lloking chest and wonderful work.


View TreeBones's profile


1827 posts in 4019 days

#3 posted 06-29-2007 03:48 PM

Nice job. I want to build one now.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4157 days

#4 posted 06-29-2007 07:09 PM

Great job Jeff. I bet a number of kids would like that chest too.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4214 days

#5 posted 06-29-2007 08:54 PM

Good looking chest.

I guess next he’ll want you to make a peg leg for him. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4243 days

#6 posted 06-29-2007 09:29 PM

Very cool looking pirates chest. You should have made her day. Nice work on the corners and lid. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4060 days

#7 posted 06-29-2007 10:25 PM

Arrrr, fine job, Matey!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4307 days

#8 posted 06-30-2007 12:43 AM

Fine job! Great looking hardware. How hard was it to line up the locking mechanism? I’ve never done one of those.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4173 days

#9 posted 06-30-2007 12:54 AM

Nice work. I just love small wooden boxes!

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4082 days

#10 posted 06-30-2007 06:23 AM

Nice job…really looks great. Did you drink his rum and pillage the village?

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4157 days

#11 posted 06-30-2007 12:50 PM


I’m guessing that she’ll be using it on “Talk Like a Pirate Day” in Sept.
(Not that I know anything about it).

You’ve done the task well—it looks very piratee.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Larry's profile


200 posts in 4207 days

#12 posted 07-01-2007 02:32 AM

great job – now that a Pirate’s chest… but where is the gold?

-- "Have you hugged your pet today?" ---------- Larry

View ffej's profile


16 posts in 3982 days

#13 posted 07-01-2007 09:53 PM

Thanks for the kind words.

It’s been a while, but I remember the lock was fairly easy to line up. I dont remenber the details, but I remember using double stick tape and some ingenuity.

I do remember some wailing and gnashing of teeth trying to get the top lined up..
Matter of fact, I just finished a second one (a more rustic version), and I the lid is way off center.

Aargh :-}

-- Jeff - Pflugerville, TX

View Lesa's profile


1 post in 3822 days

#14 posted 12-05-2007 02:50 PM

Hi, we have a task to make a chest very similar but will not be able to do the box joints – can you tell me another way to put the corners together for someone with very limited experince. We would not have taken on this project but my father started this for my son and is now refined to his bed and can’t even tell us what his plans were. All we have are the ends that he cut which are wider at one end than the other and was suppose to have a lid like yours. I don’t know why but the ends were cut from a piece of wood bigger than what he had for the front and back – which makes the grain go in different directions (and I don’t know if that is going to be a problem) ie side up &down, f&b side to side. We are working with 3/4 walnut.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!!!

And of course we are trying to get this made before Christmas!!! HA! :P

View ffej's profile


16 posts in 3982 days

#15 posted 12-06-2007 04:00 AM

Hi Lesa,
Sorry to hear about your Dad.

About the corner joints … I made a second chest without the box joints, I glued a ‘cleat’ into the inside of the corner joint. Instead of using a square piece of wood, I made the cleat by tipping the table saw to 45 degrees and cutting 4 strips from 3/4” wood. (This made the strips a triangular shape if viewed from the top). Then I glued them into the corners. I flushed the top of the strips with the top of the chest and left them about 3/4” short from the bottom, to allow for a full size bottom—I know that sounds complicated, and it wasn’t exactly easy…

Since the grain is running opposite directions, I would say the easiest way would be to drive screws from the front and back into the side pieces (counter-sinking of course). The side grain (on the side pieces) would hold screws very well. Since your wood is dark, you could use black drywall screws and they wouldn’t be too noticeable.

The cross grain wood could cause the front or back to split… I’d recommend elongating the holes on the front and back very slightly to allow for wood movement.

Good luck with the project!


-- Jeff - Pflugerville, TX

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