Antique Sea Chest Shadow Box

  • Advertise with us
Project by Tim_CPWD posted 06-17-2016 07:00 AM 2787 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was recently commissioned by a customer to build a shadowbox inside an antique trunk. This trunk or Sea chest was restored by a company called “The Pirates Lair” and shipped to my shop. I was asked to design a storage compartment that provided areas for 3 different sets of uniforms under a shadowbox. I was also asked to design the shadowbox to hold a saber and scabbard that could be easily accessed by the owner at any time. In the design that you see both the saber and scabbard are sitting on custom wood mounts that I designed. Embedded in each mount are earth magnets. The magnets hold both pieces in place. I was confident that this design would work well with the saber but pleasantly surprised when I found that the scabbard was made with enough metal for the magnets to hold well also. The solution for easy access to the saber lies in the removal of the glass on top. I designed this so that after lifting the shadow box out of the sea chest like a big tray you can simply slide the glass out the back. No tools required. This was a fun project with a number of design challenges. The chest itself was far from square so I had to adjust the overall size of the shadowbox a couple times to account for this. It also had some old metal strap mounts riveted to the back top edge of the inside. This made it a bit difficult to work around. However after some trial and error I was able to achieve a snug fit that still allowed the shadow box to be lifted out easily. The chest itself was made from pine but the insert I made for the uniforms and the shadowbox itself were made out of cherry.

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca.

12 comments so far

View majuvla's profile


13620 posts in 3107 days

#1 posted 06-17-2016 07:01 AM

I like it’s rustic design and lot of metal parts look realy great.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2532 days

#2 posted 06-17-2016 12:17 PM

Very attractive.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View jeffswildwood's profile (online now)


3673 posts in 2217 days

#3 posted 06-17-2016 12:18 PM

excellent job on this. I bet it really was a challenge.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 4046 days

#4 posted 06-17-2016 01:44 PM

BZ! In Navy signal parlance that means: Well Done!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View MilFlyer's profile


941 posts in 1911 days

#5 posted 06-17-2016 04:28 PM

Fantastic look and it blends well with the rest of the chest. Nicely done!

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View BurlyBob's profile


6032 posts in 2505 days

#6 posted 06-17-2016 04:33 PM

That’s really awesome.

View Grumpy's profile


24823 posts in 4090 days

#7 posted 06-17-2016 10:07 PM

A great combination Tim, well done.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Ken90712's profile


17616 posts in 3428 days

#8 posted 06-18-2016 02:33 AM

Bravo Zulu….. Great gift for a true warrior! To make Chief in the teams mean he’s a very special person thru and thru…. Great job on this project.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View DonB's profile


541 posts in 2932 days

#9 posted 06-18-2016 11:32 AM

Ditto for all the above comments. Unique presentation. Well crafted. This gent obviously earned this presentation. Thank him for his service. Smooth winds and following seas.

-- DonB

View Roger's profile


20965 posts in 3043 days

#10 posted 06-18-2016 11:29 PM

I really like it.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View macell_76's profile


5 posts in 528 days

#11 posted 08-11-2017 05:53 AM

What are the dimensions for chest? It is very nice and solid looking.

View Tim_CPWD 's profile


375 posts in 1484 days

#12 posted 08-11-2017 07:35 AM

Macell_76 I don’t know the exact dimensions of the sea chest are as I didn’t build it. If memory serves me correct I think it was approximately 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep. The sea chest was an antique refurbished by a company called The Pirates Lair. A customer purchased it and shipped it to me and asked me to build a custom shadowbox inside. I built the shadowbox portion and the supporting storage structure underneath.

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics