Walnut and Sycamore Hope Chest

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Project by cracknpop posted 05-31-2012 02:58 AM 6805 views 31 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 - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

34 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


7055 posts in 2804 days

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

Beautiful chest, really like the wood combo.

View Mark Shultz's profile

Mark Shultz

117 posts in 2596 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

6866 posts in 4185 days

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

Great job.

Very good workmanship.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View TomTinkerSum's profile


226 posts in 4041 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


117342 posts in 3783 days

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

Very cool design , great wood and a super build.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Ken90712's profile


17594 posts in 3395 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


182 posts in 2407 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


335 posts in 2555 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 - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View Nselimis's profile


13 posts in 3460 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


2328 posts in 2633 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


1202 posts in 3042 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


16281 posts in 4424 days

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

Great wood combination, design, and craftsmanship!

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3879 days

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

Beautiful hope chest!

View chrisstef's profile


17771 posts in 3212 days

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

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

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2896 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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