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Penguin Tool Chest

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Project by bobasaurus posted 668 days ago 3875 views 23 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally finished this penguin-themed tool chest after about 9 months working on it during evenings/weekends. It is a (belated) retirement gift for my father, who contributed by making the silver penguin knobs. The carcass is constructed from walnut, cottonwood, red oak (for the runners, not pictured) and some hidden MDF on the dividers. The drawers are soft spalted maple on the fronts/backs, and elm on the sides. I did a crushed turquoise + epoxy inlay in a knothole on the left side of the chest for some visual flair. There is a walnut penguin inlaid in the front cottonwood rail, using the wood whisperer’s free-hand router inlay technique.

Many dovetails adorn this piece, the majority of them hand-cut (some cheating with the bandsaw for the tails of the drawers). The carcass sides are through-dovetailed to the bottom, the rails are half-blind dovetail joined to the sides, the dividers are inserted using sliding dovetails (the only ones that were routed), and the drawers are half-blind dovetailed all around.

The top hinges open using shipwright-style box hinges . A routed chamfer on the front edge makes the lid easy to lift.

My father carved the wax shape of the penguin knobs, with help from my mother on the details of the feathers, wing, etc. He then had his jeweler friend cast the individual knobs, using Argentium Silver which can be kiln-baked to harden the metal and prevent tarnishing with a germanium oxide layer. We drilled out the backs and tapped them to accept 6-32 screws for the drawer face attachment.

I finished the chest with a few initial coats of a minwax tung oil + polyurethane mix to bring out the grain, then many coats of a satin wipe-on poly, finally waxing the drawer sides and runners with an orange oil / carnauba wax mix (really made the drawer movement smooth).

I learned a lot of new techniques working on this piece. There are many mistakes, most of which I was able to correct and will hopefully avoid in the future. Thanks for taking a look.

Larger photo set:
http://imgur.com/a/upQCL (if imgur is down, here is the album on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28542319@N07/7352040676/in/set-72157630013474363/lightbox/ )

Blog detailing the construction:
http://lumberjocks.com/bobasaurus/blog/series/4446

Photo credit goes to my two friends and coworkers Will von Dauster and Patrick Cullis. Their photography skills put mine to shame.

-- Allen, Colorado





25 comments so far

View TomTinkerSum's profile

TomTinkerSum

218 posts in 2333 days


#1 posted 668 days ago

Great tool chest. Thanks for sharing a lot of techniques and what you put into this project. Handles are an excellent touch. Nice job on face and making all the natural grain patterns POP!!

Tom

-- If a woodchuck could chuck wood, he's probably not a Lumberjock --

View bfergie's profile

bfergie

83 posts in 814 days


#2 posted 668 days ago

That is absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

-- Fergie in CO

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

109181 posts in 2075 days


#3 posted 668 days ago

Wow Bob this is a great tool box fantastic build and wonderful wood.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View jcop30's profile

jcop30

66 posts in 1828 days


#4 posted 668 days ago

love it nice work

View itsmic's profile

itsmic

1419 posts in 1616 days


#5 posted 668 days ago

Super Chest, could pass as a Jewelry Box for sure, looks Great, nice added touches all over the place, Great Job, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View dustysawyer's profile

dustysawyer

107 posts in 1126 days


#6 posted 668 days ago

Beautiful project. Thanks for including the detailed steps link for the shipwright hinges. I may incorporate them into an upcoming tea box project.

View GlennsGrandson's profile

GlennsGrandson

428 posts in 807 days


#7 posted 668 days ago

This is amazing, very beautiful, fine work, great story on the pulls. This should make the top, of it doesn’t, it’s on mine for the day!

-- Grant - S/N Dakota

View Woodenwizard's profile

Woodenwizard

1031 posts in 1553 days


#8 posted 668 days ago

This is Crazy nice. Love the dovetails and the hinge. What an outstanding gift.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View ruddy's profile

ruddy

363 posts in 1437 days


#9 posted 668 days ago

Outstanding design and workmanship. Always good to see a well made toolchest and this one is up with the best of them.

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View JRL's profile

JRL

104 posts in 1037 days


#10 posted 668 days ago

One of a kind. Thanks for keeping high the LJs standard.

-- Jay in Changsha

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

9520 posts in 1188 days


#11 posted 668 days ago

I have followeed your project build from the beginning and it was worth the wait. What a treasure. I love everything about it from the hinge, to the inlay, the wood choices, and especially the cast penguin knobs! this is definately an heirloom. Great job.

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

View fernandoindia's profile

fernandoindia

1054 posts in 1442 days


#12 posted 668 days ago

Hi Allen, great piece. A lot of work, a lot of details. The fact that you could share such special project with your dad makes it special treasure indeed.

-- Back home. Fernando

View mbs's profile

mbs

1383 posts in 1438 days


#13 posted 668 days ago

Beautiful Chest. Great choice of woods.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1683 posts in 1062 days


#14 posted 668 days ago

the turquoise makes for a very interesting effect

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View SawDustKing's profile

SawDustKing

173 posts in 680 days


#15 posted 668 days ago

It’s absolutely beautiful, and I really like how it was constructed. Outstanding!

-- Woodworking for the hobbyist woodworker. http://sawdustking.com

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