Walnut and Sycamore Hope Chest

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Project by cracknpop posted 05-31-2012 02:58 AM 4425 views 26 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a walnut and quarter sawn sycamore hope chest I designed and built for my niece as a graduation gift. Having typically worked almost exclusively with red oak, I wanted to try something different. It is a rail and stile, flat panel construction with lock miter corner joints. Solid walnut top. Finished with an initial coat of tung oil rubbed in by hand and top coated with satin lacquer, sprayed 3 coats with light sanding in between each coat. Used 3 60# Lid-Stay Torsion hinges from Rockler which hold the top almost too well.

The center stiles created a bit of a challenge due to the arc in the top rail. I was able to cut the top of the stile on the miter saw, rout and then lightly sand to final fit. I wanted to be able to cut the arc in the rails in one set up rather than use bandsaw and flush router trim. The last picture shows the set up I made to use my palm router and straight upspiral bit to cut the arc in the end rails. Used the same set up for the longer front/back rails only with a much longer board (over 87” radius). Worked nicely, just as I expected.

I send out special thanks to LumberJocks sandhill, Wood-Mizer LT15, reedwood, and GrandpaLen for your thoughts and advice on my original design.

Feel free to share your thoughts… while I am quite pleased with the end result, I know I still have a lot to learn. Now to load it up and drive 12 hours to personally deliver it to my niece.

-- Rick

34 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


5837 posts in 1689 days

#1 posted 05-31-2012 03:08 AM

Beautiful chest, really like the wood combo.

View Mark Shultz's profile

Mark Shultz

65 posts in 1480 days

#2 posted 05-31-2012 03:18 AM

I’d be interested in knowing the various dimensions you have running through the piece. I really like the design and may try a variant of it when i find the time.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6793 posts in 3070 days

#3 posted 05-31-2012 03:48 AM

Great job.

Very good workmanship.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View TomTinkerSum's profile


225 posts in 2925 days

#4 posted 05-31-2012 04:39 AM

Beautiful chest!! Thanks for sharing how you overcame obstacle of the great arch.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic.... :)

View a1Jim's profile


113832 posts in 2667 days

#5 posted 05-31-2012 05:25 AM

Very cool design , great wood and a super build.

-- Custom furniture

View Ken90712's profile


16042 posts in 2279 days

#6 posted 05-31-2012 09:32 AM

Great job, really like the colors of this and the soft curves on the rails.

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

View Granddaddy1's profile


181 posts in 1292 days

#7 posted 05-31-2012 02:37 PM

Beautiful! I really like the wood combination, and your design is great.

-- Ron Wilson - maker of fine firewood!

View cracknpop's profile


137 posts in 1439 days

#8 posted 05-31-2012 05:24 PM

Thank you for your kind comments.

Mark, regarding the dimensions, if you use Sketch-up, I would be willing to send you the file.

-- Rick

View Nselimis's profile


13 posts in 2344 days

#9 posted 05-31-2012 07:01 PM

I love the look of this chest (its been on the hony to do list for a while) if you could share the sketch-up file that would be awsome!

View exelectrician's profile


2304 posts in 1518 days

#10 posted 05-31-2012 08:38 PM

The level of accuracy in this piece is an example for all of us to follow. Thr selection of wood is superb.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View spunwood's profile


1194 posts in 1926 days

#11 posted 05-31-2012 08:59 PM


-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3309 days

#12 posted 05-31-2012 09:04 PM

Great wood combination, design, and craftsmanship!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2763 days

#13 posted 05-31-2012 11:35 PM

Beautiful hope chest!

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


13590 posts in 2097 days

#14 posted 06-01-2012 12:16 AM

Im really into the QS Sycamore. Very very nice project.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View gfadvm's profile


13944 posts in 1780 days

#15 posted 06-01-2012 01:20 AM

Absolutely beautiful! The curves make it unique and the combination of qs sycamore and walnut is perfect. You did an outstanding job on this piece and she will treasure it.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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