Retirement Sea Chest

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Project by Bennie Woods posted 06-28-2012 05:52 PM 4227 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Recently I was honored by being asked to design and build a retirement sea chest for an awesome friend and great neighbor following his 20 years of faithful and dedicated naval service. This chest measures 41.5” x 21.5” x 21.5” and is stained in red mahogany with 5 coats of polyurethane. The box is made from pine plywood and is mitered in the corners with reinforcing biscuits. Grommet style rope handles were added to give a traditional sea chest feel and were made by an up and coming knot tyer that I work with. The ropes were attached to the box with some spalted sweet gum I harvested at the church that my neighbor and I frequent. Oak was inlaid in the top forming a cross to symbolize his service to our church and his faith in our God. The sweet gum and the oak strips in the top were finished with natural stain to contrast with the rest of the project. My neighbor’s favorite verse (Psalm 27:1) was engraved on the top. I recessed the bottom to allow the box to sit on casters to make it more mobile. Cedar was used to line the inside and the bottom of the lid. Pine was used to trim out all the plywood edges. I had a lot of fun working on this project and I hope to do many more. Thanks for looking and hit me up if you have any questions.

Pic#1: 3/4 view
Pic#2: inside view showing cedar lining
Pic#3: end view of the rope handles
Pic#4: top view of the box
Pic#5: inside view of the shadow box
Pic#6: shows me and the box at the reception

-- Bennie Woods, USS FRANK CABLE, GUAM

7 comments so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3234 days

#1 posted 06-28-2012 06:18 PM

As a fan of many things marlinspike, I like the beckets the best. Funny how things like those can end up taking more time than the rest of the chest.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 2412 days

#2 posted 06-28-2012 06:56 PM

I’m not a big fan of plywood but you have taken plywood to another level with me. Great piece of art.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View cwdance1's profile


1159 posts in 3495 days

#3 posted 06-28-2012 10:13 PM

What a great job. Love the look and you can’t go wrong with cedar for the inside.

View ElmoSr's profile


241 posts in 3262 days

#4 posted 06-29-2012 02:25 AM

Excellent work my friend, 5his is beautiful

-- ElmoSr,Ga. Life is Hard by the Yard,,,But a Cinch by the Inch

View AlBCuttnWud's profile


702 posts in 2926 days

#5 posted 06-29-2012 12:09 PM

Nicely done, your friend will enjoy this treasure for many years…..

-- -Al, Oak Harbor, WA

View Bennie Woods's profile

Bennie Woods

62 posts in 2910 days

#6 posted 06-29-2012 11:14 PM

Thanks all!
I use pine for a lot of projects as it is very reasonably priced, readily available and easy to work with. I definitely love the variety of grain patterns as pine imparts as well as the character found in heavily knotted wood.
My plans were originally to do the becket style rope handles but my friend and I haven’t mastered the technique as of yet. Fortunately the grommet style were much easier and turned out very well.

-- Bennie Woods, USS FRANK CABLE, GUAM

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3234 days

#7 posted 06-30-2012 03:06 PM

Hey, the last ones I did still are plain grommets with a bit of whipping. Maybe they will get dressed up some day. Of course they could legally buy liquor as it is now ;).

I do agree with the pine also. Not for the look but for the purpose of a sea chest. I think they are so cool in that the show wood is on the inside. Like opening a present.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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