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Seachest

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Project by dclark1943 posted 789 days ago 3085 views 11 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While visiting my sister and brother in law recently, they asked if I wanted some old barn wood that was stacked behind their garage. I said ” sure, and I’ll build you a box in payment” so that was the start of this sea chest. I did a little searching for idea’s on the web and sure enough found a great plan that you see here from “marlinspike.com”. This is a six board chest, as these boards were up to 19” wide ! They were first cut northern wisconsin pine and were just over 1” thick, well weathered and full of worm tracks and square nail holes. All of which added to the character once it was surfaced. I did the surfacing on the drum sander so as not to knock out any of the knots. The hardware on the box was ordered from a specialty firm on the east coast and is hand wrought iron—awesome hinges. the “beckets” or handles are made from regular rope, and the cleats are cherry wood. True to tradition the bottom is fastened with ringed bronze nails, and the corners are dovetailed. As the chest is tapered the dovetails were just a little tricky. I used a leigh dovetail jig to cut them. The chest has a “till” which was used as a place for small items, and although not shown in any of the photo’s I did install a lock on the chest. These chests were tapered to provide stability when the ship was moving around, and there are skids under the chest so water could run under and it could dry out. The lid has a lip also to shed water. These chests were made to sit at the end of the seaman’s bunk and hold their clothes and other belongings. it could also be used as a bench. My sister has it in front of the couch in the TV room and uses it to store blankets.

-- Dave, Kansas City





13 comments so far

View Bennie Woods's profile

Bennie Woods

61 posts in 1277 days


#1 posted 789 days ago

Dave, Fantastic job! From the good writeup to the clean cut dovetails to the slanted sides you’ve done a terrific job. I’ve been wanting to make this very same box for awhile and was recently asked to make a retirement chest for a friend retiriing after 20 years of Naval service. He wanted it with rope handles but less tradional without the slant. I should have pics up soon for mine.
Just a few of questions: Dids you get the plan from the website or just eyeball their pics (that’s what I’ve been doing). Did you use the Leigh R9 jog for this? If so how would you rate it? I’ve been considering purchasing one for wide material such as this.

Again, great job Dave!

-- Bennie Woods, USS FRANK CABLE, GUAM

View kenn's profile

kenn

782 posts in 2322 days


#2 posted 789 days ago

Beautiful chest, nice dovetails, thanks for sharing it with us.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View dclark1943's profile

dclark1943

155 posts in 790 days


#3 posted 789 days ago

Bennie, I ordered the plan from the website and found it extremely helpful – - would recommend. I put the plan booklet in the chest when I gave it to my sister so she had a little “history” As I recall, it was pretty well laid out and documented—besides just dimensions. I used the leigh D4 jig and it is fantastic, however don’t lose the instruction manual – in fact I built a special easel to hold the book on top of the jig—it has a steep learning curve.

-- Dave, Kansas City

View planeBill's profile

planeBill

467 posts in 1012 days


#4 posted 789 days ago

That is a superb chest. I love those sea chests and you made a fantastic one. Great job!!

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View ducky911's profile

ducky911

201 posts in 1392 days


#5 posted 789 days ago

Love it…story and chest…

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2446 posts in 954 days


#6 posted 789 days ago

Really nice chest, did you make the beckets. I always wanted to learn how to make them, I’ve seen some really fancy ones.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View dclark1943's profile

dclark1943

155 posts in 790 days


#7 posted 789 days ago

Bondo, Yes I did make the beckets, found a site that was all about rope knots. It had well laid out instructions. If I recall, I unwound a 3 strand rope, then formed a circle, and offset the ends and wove it back together and bound the seam with twine. In the days of the “pirates” they would then slather it with tar, then wipe it down and let it dry. And yes, I’ve seen some awesome beckets ” $$$$” and I haven’t a clue as to how to make em : (

-- Dave, Kansas City

View Milo's profile

Milo

849 posts in 1922 days


#8 posted 789 days ago

http://www.marlinespike.com/

The other is a resort… ;)

I think I like this better than the blanket chest! Not that it wasn’t nice too…. :)

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View Woodbridge's profile

Woodbridge

2571 posts in 1021 days


#9 posted 789 days ago

All the elements you have included in the chest ( mega wide boards, sloped sides, the dovetails, the great looking handles, the skids….) are so very interesting. The end result is great looking chest. I’ve learned a lot very interesting facts about sea chests. Thanks for posting.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4843 posts in 1400 days


#10 posted 789 days ago

Very nice work.
I too love sea chests.
If you’re up to the challenge you could try the traditional ropework handles. This is a photo of the pages in Hervey Garret Smith’s “The Marlinspike Sailor” that cover the topic. It is described in enough detail to actually make them but they may be a lot more work than the chest was.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View dclark1943's profile

dclark1943

155 posts in 790 days


#11 posted 789 days ago

Paul, I considered it, but decided against, and made the simple rope bails. The cost of purchasing was also out of reach. If I do another, I would want to have the “real deal”

-- Dave, Kansas City

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1688 days


#12 posted 788 days ago

You started with some really great old growth boards, added woodworking skills and came up with a great
chest. Thank you for the history and the details of construction, as well as sharing the results. Now after
I figure out the table saw and lathe, I can start on “The Marlinspike Sailor”.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View AlBCuttnWud's profile

AlBCuttnWud

496 posts in 1293 days


#13 posted 625 days ago

Are both the frontback and sides angled or just the sides? Just trying to figure out how to do this in my head with my dovetail jig. Any advice is appreciated…

-- -Al, Patuxent River, MD

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