Pirate Chest

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Project by versa posted 10-28-2009 03:28 PM 4734 views 11 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is one of my first ‘real’ projects I did. I only used a miter saw, japanese flush cut saw, chisel, hammer, sandblaster, and sander to make it. Its made out of red oak that I payed way to much for, stained walnut. I hand cut the dovetails (first attempt), both for the sides and the hidden dovetails to start the top. For the Skull I bought a sandblaster and some resist paper, glued the paper to the project, printed out a picture and glued it to the resist, then used an exacto knife to cut away the resist prior to sand blasting it for an hour. I chiseled in all of the metal hardware, I really like the heavy rusted iron handles I got for the project, not too fond of the thin rusted hinges though as they bent. As I did not have a tablesaw I sanded the boards for the top so they would fit close enough before using putty to fill the gaps. Unfortunately, when I pounded in the nails for the black iron bands some of the putty broke up, causing the stain already applied to be uneven. I shellaced and waxed it for a finish.

Its got a few problems, but overall, as a learning tool I learned alot of new techniques making it and am happy with the results. I spent 3 months making this one, my next one took me 2 weeks.

17 comments so far

View gagewestern's profile


308 posts in 3313 days

#1 posted 10-28-2009 03:30 PM

very cool

-- gagewestern

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3611 days

#2 posted 10-28-2009 03:31 PM

aww…. thats’ what I WAS GOING TO SAY!

very cool indeed!

I like the authentic look it has. touche

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View nmkidd's profile


758 posts in 3135 days

#3 posted 10-28-2009 03:39 PM

Arrrrgh Matey! Is this be where the grog is stored?

Great chest….particularly like the selection of hardware. Keep up the good work and Welcome to LJs.

-- Doug, New Mexico.......the only stupid question is one that is never asked!........don't fix it, if it ain't broke!

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3676 days

#4 posted 10-28-2009 03:45 PM

Awesome… I’m really liking that skull and crossbones. The chuncky hardware makes it really cool…. nicely done!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Zelbar's profile


74 posts in 3503 days

#5 posted 10-28-2009 05:21 PM

I am with the rest of them. Very cool. The errors just make it look more authentic. Good Job.

-- With more power you can make toothpicks faster

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#6 posted 10-28-2009 05:41 PM

this is great cool idea

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Dudley's profile


742 posts in 3223 days

#7 posted 10-28-2009 06:48 PM

Very neat. BZ

-- Dudley Young USN Retired. Sebastian, Fl.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4123 days

#8 posted 10-28-2009 11:41 PM

I like it.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3696 days

#9 posted 10-29-2009 03:17 AM

I want to make a couple of these for my twin grandsons for Christmas – my daughter says they are into pirates and ships. I’ve searched and searched but can’t find a formula for figuring out the bevel on the rounded top pieces; even looked under coopering, coopered chests, etc. Suppose I’ll have to draw it out full size and then figure the angles from the drawing but seems to me if you draw lines from the center point, that the angles on each piece will be different.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3248 days

#10 posted 10-29-2009 04:30 AM

That’s really a neat chest. I like all the details and your hardware is really unique, where did you find that?

-- John @

View versa's profile


29 posts in 3096 days

#11 posted 10-29-2009 05:02 AM

Thank you all for your comments,
Jim, for this one I just rough sanded till each piece fit over the side. For my other one I took a more scientific approach. All of the angles you use have to equal up to 180 degrees (half a circle). So if you want a very rounded one like this each angle should be the same, so you take the number of pieces you want and divide 180 by that number and you get the the angle each piece needs to fit to the next one with, divide that in half and you have the angle you need to cut. If you want a more rounded part near the bottom with a large enough flat spot at the top to sit on you just increase the angles near the bottom and decrease the angles near the top, always keeping all the angles equaling 180 degrees. The hard part is figuring out how big each piece needs to be to get it to fit with the bottom piece. For that I use trigonometry, sin,cos, tan. After I have figured out the angles I use trig to find out how much each piece goes up and how much it goes over, think of each piece as a right triangle, with all of the X axis of each triangle equaling the depth of the bottom of the box. Then I rough sand to get it just right for final dimensions.

Huff, I got them from van dykes:

View studiousmatt's profile


43 posts in 3313 days

#12 posted 10-29-2009 02:42 PM

that is really cool. I think that the rustic old world feel makes it look like I immagined a treasure chest in the books I read as a kid

really cool

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3696 days

#13 posted 10-30-2009 03:25 PM

Versa, thanks for the info. I guess if you wanted to use a portion of the circle (an arc), not the entire half circle, you could do the same thing with say 160 deg. I found some posts on the Australian Woodworking Forum but when they started talking about chords, radians, etc. I realized how much I have lost since high school geometry 40+ years ago! I did like this idea, though – test pieces.

Again nice job on the chests and thanks for the help. Guess I had best get cracking if I am going to have them done by Christmas!


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 3084 days

#14 posted 11-11-2009 06:59 AM

I do like the effect the skull has on the chest. I would of never thought of using a sand blaster. The metal bands are a great touch which makes the chest looks like it been lifted off of a pirate ship.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View hasbeen99's profile


183 posts in 3502 days

#15 posted 11-12-2009 02:34 AM

Very cool, and the skull and crossed swords along with the heavy black iron hardware really makes the project. Great job!

-- "The only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself in love." --Galatians 5:6

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