Custom Hand Carved Solid Cherry Safari Chest

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Project by Eric M. Saperstein posted 07-05-2009 07:39 AM 1999 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When the time comes to commemorate your passions there are a variety of ways to immortalize them into an heirloom. Some commission a portrait, many take photographs, a few write songs or keep journals and almost everyone tells stories. Braking for the norm, consider a masterpiece in wood.

This “Safari Chest”, a solid cherry chest features elk, black bear and whitetail deer hand carved in relief with carefully burned detail and acrylic coloration. When you return from a hunt, dock after a voyage at sea, land on native soil after a journey abroad, or just simply like woodworking, a personal hand carved chest featuring your favorite themes will always welcome you home.

The carving patterns are composites created from Lora S. Irish ( designs – we frequently use her creatures, trees, and other features in our layouts. A woodcarver is only as good as the pattern they start with, and Lora is one of the best pattern artists for wildlife and landscape designs. This is posted as a tip to all carvings – never feel restricted to one pattern, one artist, one theme! Take whatever comes by that looks like it may work, you have a computer, you may have a copy machine or scanner? We mirror, scale, twist, and otherwise modify all sorts of base drawings to develop our scenes.

The chest itself is a basic design, four panel faces, a bottom, and a lid. The carving scenes are on the long faces and the lid. The internals are setup with two floating trays and an open space. We had the hinges custom made to compensate for the overhang of the lid and provide support spread out over the frame sections without having to penetrate the carved panels. This allowed all the panels to float freely.

The detail work is burned in. The paint is primarily acrylic washes and tints and the whole thing is antiqued with a golden oak stain (over the acrylic) and then hand rubbed with a Waterlox tung oil finish.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

8 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4125 days

#1 posted 07-05-2009 01:25 PM

another extraordinary piece. Definitely a special piece as it becomes a book of story

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3212 days

#2 posted 07-05-2009 02:25 PM

Chip Chats Feature article on this project:

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3541 days

#3 posted 07-06-2009 01:22 AM

Nice rustic piece

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3738 days

#4 posted 07-06-2009 08:55 AM

You are a true craftsman of your craft. It reminds me of the wildlife scenes in my sand blasted gun cabinets. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3212 days

#5 posted 07-08-2009 03:53 AM

Thanks for the feedback !

I have a friend that does carved glass with a sand blaster:

Does some amazing stuff!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View mmh's profile


3676 posts in 3686 days

#6 posted 07-09-2009 06:21 AM

Nicely done. You truly love your craft!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Tom O'Brien's profile

Tom O'Brien

108 posts in 3909 days

#7 posted 12-26-2009 07:57 PM

This is a striking piece of work. The scenes are well composed, and it draws the eye immediately. Eric, you are VERY good at this!

-- Every project is a learning opportunity, every error a design opportunity

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3549 days

#8 posted 12-26-2009 08:14 PM

A beautiful heirloom, and work of art.When I was in germany “where I lived for 5 years” , I saw many such chests and the were sometimes hundreds of years old.Really wonderful.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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