Solid Walnut Gaming, Coffee, Wine Rack, Glass Rack, Cat Hiding, Puzzle (sequence) chest or table.

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Project by Eric M. Saperstein posted 07-08-2009 04:34 AM 5177 views 8 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Yes – you read the description correctly.

This is one of those projects that gained momentum in requirements as it developed. The initial requirement was basically a chess board in a coffee table. That’s simple enough – or so one would think. (NOT!)

Well when you put such a project into the minds of a myself, and our client, both having creative tenancy and slightly warped personalities in terms of sense of humor and other factors, then throw a few other influences into play things begin to get complicated.

A glass of wine with a game of chess – sounds good – so lets keep a place for a few bottles handy, some glasses of course those are required. The unit holds four bottles positioned on their sides, and a drawer for the tools of the trade. The glass rack easily holds 4 red wine glasses in a line. Hey what about storing the chess pieces? There’s space left, so drawers sound good.

OH BTW … client requests can you make it at least 4” off the ground the cat likes to hide from the dog and torment back and forth as the dog can not get under the 4” but the cat can. I then get another suggestion “Hey why not make an access hole for the cat to hide inside?” .... someone wasn’t fully familiar with the fact that opening your mouth around us with an idea often ends in such an idea manifesting itself in reality. SO … the cat tunnel was designed in behind the drawers. Access portals were cut into the base of the piece on each end to allow fast entrance and exit.

Meanwhile our client is mentioning the idea of a puzzle box … too time intensive I figured … until he releases the deadline we’d originally agreed on giving us a whole year to build this piece. We then delivered it personally to Atlanta on our way out to Texas. (We’re based in NJ)

Anyway – so the puzzle concept. Yeah – this entire chest is one giant locking sequenced puzzle full of secret compartments. The first photo shows the assembled chest – the second shows all the parts and pieces that slide, pull, push, eject, or otherwise extract from the piece.

Given the time allowances we engaged our evil sense of humor and created what took our client about an hour to unravel when we dropped it off. I sent a few status images – and knowing he was a computer guy I made sure I merged layers and eliminated any chance of him removing the little “censored” blocks i put over key areas of the status photos. I didn’t think it would be any fun if he knew in advance how the puzzle was set!

I forget exactly how many compartments are in the piece, we just kept adding and adding them until we ran out of time. The order of events is quite intricate to open them all. If you ever have some time on your hands and some spare wood – building something like this is a fun project.

Material is mostly solid American black walnut, we did cheat and buy the chess board. A few of the internal components are plywood just as it made sense for the wide spances. Approximate measurements around 48” x 30” x 24”

The compartments for the chess pieces are flocked for a soft storage location.

Is it a table or a chest? I don’t really know … does it really matter?

Finish is natural – hand rubbed Waterlox tung oil.

More on this project:

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

17 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#1 posted 07-08-2009 04:37 AM

What no can opener? LOL Interesting.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3674 days

#2 posted 07-08-2009 05:03 AM

Jim, checkers go with beer :-)) Interesting piece.

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

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3589 days

#3 posted 07-08-2009 05:57 AM

Amazingly beautiful piece of pieces. Great photos too!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3246 days

#4 posted 07-08-2009 06:57 AM

Had we had another few weeks – there may just have been a fridge in it … I have designs … which BTW w/ me often means a CAD drawing in my head ... to setup one with an inset ice maker and I think I can setup a spot for a tap. If we could put in a mini-fridge too you could easily store beer, ice, limes, chill some wine, etc.

Its just my ideas always take time and money – commodities often coming short of the requirements for a project like this!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3981 days

#5 posted 07-08-2009 07:06 AM

This is great .. I like your style

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3674 days

#6 posted 07-08-2009 09:37 AM

That is a bar, not a table :-))

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

View SteveE's profile


56 posts in 3508 days

#7 posted 07-08-2009 02:54 PM

That is objectively awesome

-- Measure twice, cut once, bang into place

View mmh's profile


3676 posts in 3721 days

#8 posted 07-08-2009 05:17 PM

Very neat! The black walnut is beautiful. I love the cat hideout. Does this come with directions on how to drive it?

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

View Jeff Dubofsky's profile

Jeff Dubofsky

52 posts in 3252 days

#9 posted 07-08-2009 11:31 PM

I think I’d need my 6 year old to help me figure out how to put it all back together! Super unique idea, and definitely a great conversation piece. Looks great!

-- jdubo, Hartland Wisconsin..."If you see a flaw in my work take a (big) step back!"

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3246 days

#10 posted 07-09-2009 01:57 AM

Yes – definitely triggers conversation when someone is told to try and open it. I’d figure it would be funny if they were startled by a cat inside as well …

Hmmmm … Bar … yes – I guess I should add that to the description too huh?

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4245 days

#11 posted 07-09-2009 05:36 PM

One word, AWESOME! This piece is over the top. Kudos to you. Ingenious and funny but also beautiful. Love the walnut.

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

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4104 days

#12 posted 07-10-2009 05:58 PM

The lack of an integrated coffee machine disappoints me!

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3246 days

#13 posted 07-10-2009 06:08 PM

Ooooh, good point … I’ll have to design that into the 2010 model.

We can do one with the strait brewer and maybe a Juan Valdez signature model that grinds the beans fresh?

Hmmm … thinking about this further and combining with my concepts for a wet bar implementation in a headboard I’d like build myself … that design should probably have a coffee maker too …

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3339 days

#14 posted 07-10-2009 06:24 PM

well , i for one ,
am very happy ,
that they let you out
of the institution that you were in !
welcome home !
great work ,
devious mind at work !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3246 days

#15 posted 08-16-2009 07:33 AM

Glad to be back – but I do have to check myself back in from time to time so I can process new ideas!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

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