Medieval Hutch Chest

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Project by oldwolf posted 1346 days ago 4604 views 14 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As a second hobby I am a member of a group that does medieval reenactment, every year we give a members appreciation gift to the individual that has shown the most growth and or dedication. Traditionally I have been asked to construct an appropriate gift.

The deserving member this year is teaching himself to blacksmith, I wanted to design and build a project that would represent the strength and reliability that goes with this endeavor. What came from that was this “hutch” chest.

In medieval times the hutch chest worked as a transition style piece that lived for a couple of hundred years until technology changed, Early chests were six board chest varieties, good for a while but with poorer joinery techniques that made their life spans shortish, Then came the hutch style chest with a front and back panel joined to the legs with a pined tongue and groove joint. The pinned joint was much more stable and added longevity to the piece. This was a dominant form from the 13th to around the 15th century until it was overtaken by the technically superior Joined Chest (for a look at excellent joined chests take a look at Peter Follansbee’s work)

This chest was made from rough sawn white oak a full inch thick to begin with. It was dimensioned, flattened, and smoothed by hand. Some power tools were used in the production of the piece as well but still a lot of hand work and boy oh boy did this white oak make me earn this one. I finished it with two coats of danish oil

I am really really proud of this piece, it took about a week and a half of sweat and work on weekends and after work hours but it was worth it, My favorite part is the handles on the sides made of oak and through mortised through the legs.

I have covered the complete build in high detail on my blog you can certainly go and visit there to see more details. The link is here:

I guess I should say at the time I’m putting this up I don’t have the complete build posted on the blog, There are two or three more posts and the entire build will be up in 3 days at most. If you’re interested keep checking in.

Thanks for lookin’

-- Oldwolf -

13 comments so far

View oldwolf's profile


100 posts in 1764 days

#1 posted 1346 days ago

damn I do this all the time, forgot the measurements, over all 15” tall counting the inch thick lid, 26” wide and 12 1/2” deep.

Sorry for the omission


-- Oldwolf -

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

950 posts in 2319 days

#2 posted 1346 days ago

that is something I’m looking for for a long time. I’going to build similar chest. Thanks for sharing this nice project.

-- Jiri

View Ken90712's profile


14544 posts in 1695 days

#3 posted 1345 days ago

Nice chest, thing looks solid! Interesting lines, well done.

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

View stefang's profile


11828 posts in 1841 days

#4 posted 1345 days ago

Nice work and a beautiful result. The recipient has to be happy with it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Thor's profile


110 posts in 2783 days

#5 posted 1345 days ago

I appreciate the efforts towards historical references. The blog was very informative. The gift of such a piece was very generous.

View workerinwood's profile


2675 posts in 1574 days

#6 posted 1345 days ago

Great job, beautiful !

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View aurora's profile


202 posts in 1759 days

#7 posted 1345 days ago

wolfman, great chest !! i loved your website and your chronicling of this project. thanks for sharing this wonderful project. how much did the chest weigh ?

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 1810 days

#8 posted 1345 days ago

That is a real nice project, great idea!

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 1447 days

#9 posted 1345 days ago

I like plenty! Solid build and very nice write up. You may feel proud!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View TJ65's profile


1347 posts in 1556 days

#10 posted 1345 days ago

What an interesting piece and so was the blurb to go along with it.
You must have a lot of fun researching how people made things back then.
And to do it all by hand really makes you appreciate technology!!!!! :-)
I love the handles and the carving on the front looks great too.
It would be a very practical box, one to keep.

-- Theresa,

View oldwolf's profile


100 posts in 1764 days

#11 posted 1343 days ago

Thank you everyone for taking a look and for all the support and comments

Aurora – one thing I wanted to do but forgot until after it was in the new owner’s hands was weigh it, but let me tell you it was heavy. I would guess 40 to 50 lbs. or so. I wouldn’t want to stub my toe on it that’s for sure.

Theresa – I would have loved to keep this one, but it was destined to another loving home from the get go. I may have to make another though. . .

-- Oldwolf -

View Kean's profile


54 posts in 1068 days

#12 posted 1064 days ago

I know you posted this ages ago, but I had to comment anyway. Very nice! I’m currently working on a Clamp Front Ark Top chest, a similar design.

Shire of Frosted Hills, East Kingdom

-- Kean - It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

View randomray's profile


111 posts in 1531 days

#13 posted 848 days ago

Nice looking chest .

-- Anybody can break something it takes skill to make or repair stuff .

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