Hope Chest - My first 'real' woodworking project

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Project by MadGerman posted 12-30-2012 04:45 AM 1523 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s the Hope Chest that I’ve been working on for the last several weeks for my girlfriend. Like the title says, this is the first real woodworking project that I’ve made. I’ve tinkered around a little in the past, but never made anything of substance.

I never made any raised panels before this project, so I did what most people do…I went to youtube! I actually found some great videos from the folks at Freud, and they really helped a lot. However, when it came time to actually cut the wood, I was nervous. I used walnut for the outside because she likes the look of darker wood. I think walnut looks really nice as well. Even when the wood was raw/unfinished while I was making the chest, I thought it looked good. I couldn’t wait to get the poly on it because I knew the grain would really pop.

I used three of the Rockler torsion hinges, but didn’t use their recommended weight ratings. Per their calculations, I would have needed 205 or so inch pounds of support. I ended up using three 40s and am very happy with it. The lid stays open from about 35 degrees or so onward. When it closes, it doesn’t slam, it closes nice and smooth. It’s not a toy chest, so I’m not worried about little toddlers smashing their fingers on the chest. I let it hit my hands as it closes and it just closes nice and smooth, no pinching at all.

I made the floor out of cedar. I made it tongue and groove and put a profile on the edges so it looks like planks when looking at it from above. I also made the lining out of cedar as well. However, that’s not T&G. I used 1/4” cedar and routed a profile on the edges to mimic the floor.

The finish is Minwax Wipe On Poly, glossy. I started out using their satin, but was disappointed with it. It looked too flat. So I switched to glossy and it came out great. The pics make it look a little more glossy than what it really is. Regardless, I’m very happy with it.

Anyhow, back to the chest. I learned quite a lot during the construction and finishing of this chest. I’d definitely make another one if I had a reason to.

Like I said in my other Project posting, please be kind with your comments. Keep in mind that this is my first attempt at such a large project and am still learning. Thanks in advance for any comments, constructive criticism, suggestions, etc. you fine folks can offer.


11 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


113823 posts in 2665 days

#1 posted 12-30-2012 04:49 AM

Fantastic chest Scott ,hard to believe this is your first piece of furniture.WAY COOL!!!

-- Custom furniture

View OldYork's profile


6 posts in 1071 days

#2 posted 12-30-2012 12:54 PM

You certainly have a piece to be proud of there, and the walnut looks fantastic.

Top work!!!

View pantango's profile


51 posts in 1128 days

#3 posted 12-30-2012 04:31 PM

this is your first piece? Wow, amazing. I can’t wait to see your next project. Great job!!!!!

-- Hate how work gets in the way of my hobby!!

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 2644 days

#4 posted 12-30-2012 05:23 PM

First project, you gotta be kidding me. Wow. Keep going, you have real talent. I’ve been doing this a while and doubt I could turn out something like that.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View helluvawreck's profile


19499 posts in 1955 days

#5 posted 12-30-2012 05:41 PM

For your first project you really did a nice job. I’m sure that it won’t be your last.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View MJCD's profile


471 posts in 1459 days

#6 posted 12-30-2012 07:40 PM

This demonstrates incredible talent, and Taste.

I particularly like the interior ‘planking’ – adds quiet a bit of texture.

Keep them coming.

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

View dshute's profile


159 posts in 1774 days

#7 posted 12-30-2012 10:14 PM

Nice job, chests are great projects and serve many needs. Walnut is a great wood to work with and it suits your project perfectly.

-- dshute, Warsaw, New York

View Russ's profile


356 posts in 2165 days

#8 posted 12-31-2012 05:09 AM

Nice work on chest. Very good opening performance.

-- Russ

View grosa's profile


973 posts in 1917 days

#9 posted 12-31-2012 10:32 AM

It came out really good, I like it.

-- Have a great day.

View kizerpea's profile


746 posts in 1456 days

#10 posted 12-31-2012 12:02 PM

Great first project!!!!


View MadGerman's profile


27 posts in 1151 days

#11 posted 12-31-2012 09:22 PM

Thanks for the compliments everyone. I’m looking forward to my next projects, two chests/foot lockers. One for my son and one for my girlfriend’s son. My son’s looking forward to helping me.

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