Small Sea Chest

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Project by AlBCuttnWud posted 03-05-2013 01:28 PM 3176 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just finished up this one last night. This small sea chest was commissioned by the wife of a soon-to-be retired Navy Machinist Mate. I used oak with golden oak stain and sapele for the trim, all finished with a few coats of General Finish gel topcoat…I love that stuff!!!

I used rabbet joints for the construction and mortised the hinges flush. A friend with a CNC machine helped out with the lid carving and the blades even have pitch.

This was a first for me in making the rope beckets. I think i spent more time making these two than I did on the rest of the chest but going with other handles just didn’t give it the look desired. I learned how to tie these from a co worker and lots of YouTube viewing.

-- -Al, Chesapeake, VA

16 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117239 posts in 3725 days

#1 posted 03-05-2013 03:41 PM

Very cool great job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View shipwright's profile


8086 posts in 2946 days

#2 posted 03-05-2013 04:34 PM

Nice work, especially on the beckets. I’ve thought of trying the ones in Hervey Garret Smith’s “Marlinspike Sailor” more than once but never got around to it. Maybe this will inspire me. Looks like synthetic rope. I would think that may make it even harder as it doesn’t hold it’s lay well.
At any rate congrats on a fine bit of ropework and a great chest.
Well done.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View helluvawreck's profile


32083 posts in 3015 days

#3 posted 03-05-2013 04:54 PM

That’s a wonderful sea chest. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3247 days

#4 posted 03-05-2013 08:01 PM

Nice Al…looks like a follow-on career in the makin’.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View Roger's profile


20949 posts in 2952 days

#5 posted 03-05-2013 09:31 PM

The chest came out nicely and those ropes are outta site.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Mean_Dean's profile


6881 posts in 3296 days

#6 posted 03-06-2013 12:51 AM

Great looking sea chest! I’m sure your machinist mate friend will really appreciate it!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View jeffswildwood's profile


3511 posts in 2126 days

#7 posted 03-06-2013 01:17 AM

super nice, I’m definitely a fan of all your work. Love the military style!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Boatman53's profile


1059 posts in 2345 days

#8 posted 03-06-2013 02:34 AM

Great job on the chest and I agree with shipwright outstanding job on the beckets. I’m not surprised that the beckets took longer than the box. I’ve been doing marlinspike work for a long time and your efforts weren’t wasted.

-- Jim, Long Island, NY home of the chain leg vise

View AlBCuttnWud's profile


695 posts in 2838 days

#9 posted 03-06-2013 02:48 AM

I used paracord and you are correct, the next time I’ll go with a different kind of line. I like the color choices of paracord but it is callenging to keep the piece tight when working. I’ve got a bell rope to make next so looking forward to giving this fancywork another try.


-- -Al, Chesapeake, VA

View AlBCuttnWud's profile


695 posts in 2838 days

#10 posted 03-06-2013 02:50 AM

Thanks for all the kind comments guys, looking forward to the customer seeing it for the first time.

-- -Al, Chesapeake, VA

View Navywife's profile


14 posts in 2293 days

#11 posted 03-06-2013 02:47 PM

Another great project!!!! Chest looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

View Bennie Woods's profile

Bennie Woods

62 posts in 2822 days

#12 posted 10-25-2013 09:49 AM

Al, Great job on this sea chest. You have completed lots of projects that I’ve wanted to do as well. Unfortunately, I’m still on active duty and have little time to make any sawdust. You’ve been an inspiration to us all and it’s been a pleasure to see what you will churn out next. Thank you for your military service and your continued support for the rest of us still on the “pond.”

-- Bennie Woods, USS FRANK CABLE, GUAM

View AlBCuttnWud's profile


695 posts in 2838 days

#13 posted 10-26-2013 12:47 PM

Bennie…...thanks for your kind words. I too get a lot out of all the great ideas people on here come up with. I still consider most of my stuff basic as there are many on here that have true skills and talent.

An aviation mustang myself, still going strong as I come up on 25 years soon….hoping I still a few good years ahead of me. Don’t get the impression I do this full time…..I’ve got about 10 projects in various stages ongoing at any given time and just get an hour or two here and there to make progress. I have a problem of not being able to say no when people have last minute requests like retirements, farewells, etc when the project is for a deserving person.

Do you have a woodshop on base over there?

Thank you for your service, be safe over there and keep in touch.

-- -Al, Chesapeake, VA

View MarineMustang's profile


4 posts in 1793 days

#14 posted 11-24-2013 03:52 AM

I have never been creative or handy enough to make amazing items like this sea chest. As a Marine, the rope work and other naval traditions have always meant a lot to me. Incredible work! Wish these were the types of gifts given more often during Hails & Farewell or retirements aside from the ordinary garbage…

View AlBCuttnWud's profile


695 posts in 2838 days

#15 posted 11-24-2013 01:46 PM

Funny thing you mention as you remind me of my story. I have always enjoyed working with wood but got away from it after joining the Navy. Years later I found myself stationed with a MALS and was really impressed with the mindset that everyone departing, on good terms, was going to get something. The standard for my division was a overpriced plaque sold at the base exchange. After a few departures to empty out the geedunk funds, I asked for $20 to buy a stick of wood to make 5-6 plaques that we could customize ourselves. Again, years later my skills have advanced a little, my tool inventory has grown, and my motivation is to create something unique with every project I make as I hope that the recipient can look at it and reflect back on their service.

Some commands are better at sending folks off than others. I think most people and cases, people just don’t think ahead and find themselves scrambling around to come up with something for someone’s departure and the only option and quickest turn in a standard 8×10 engraved plaque.

I will say that I have joined commands that didn’t do much for farewells and all it took to spark interest was to pay attention to when people were due to roll out and plan….seems simple but it is amazing how much more appropriate the departure efforts turned out. I could go on and on but all it takes is one person to have a little motivation to get the ball rolling to spark people’s interest.

As for this chest… of my most treasured gifts to date is a small footlocker chest with an EGA etched in the top and a picture of my Marines and Sailors mounted to the inside part of the lid.

So thanks for your complements, by all means let me know if I can ever help out with some ideas for that someone special. I do sell things from time to time but enjoy the hobby so always willing to share ideas and my lessons learned. Semper Fi Marine!

-- -Al, Chesapeake, VA

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