Twin Walnut Keepsake Chests

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Project by Ribeye posted 11-15-2013 02:55 AM 1796 views 8 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a pair of small keepsake chests that I made for my daughters. They are about 20” x 12” x 14” in size. I used some beautiful air dried walnut that I picked up from a local farmer. The chests are based on the ones from American Woodworker Magazine a while back, but adapted to fit the size of my boards. The lid is coopered and rounded with a handplane, and there are box joints all around. I used antique brass hinges, and a half mortise lock from Horton Brasses. I bought handles too, but they just seemed too small to hold up, so I left them off for now. At the last minute, I decided to put in a sliding tray, and it turned out great. I think the tray was definitely worth the effort.

Thanks for looking!

15 comments so far

View BusterB's profile


1961 posts in 1848 days

#1 posted 11-15-2013 03:13 AM

Super nice builds on those chests…awesome joinery.

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 1639 days

#2 posted 11-15-2013 03:18 AM

Ribeye… You have skills. I’d love to know more about the details of constructing that lid. You’re right, beautiful wood. Lovely work.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View a1Jim's profile


116592 posts in 3416 days

#3 posted 11-15-2013 05:27 AM

wow I like them very nice.

-- Custom furniture

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

27108 posts in 2177 days

#4 posted 11-15-2013 07:24 AM

Really great work. They have an heirloom from their dad.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 2015 days

#5 posted 11-15-2013 09:10 AM

Super, super nice and I really like the way you did the top. Its an awesome box

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View Ken90712's profile


17527 posts in 3028 days

#6 posted 11-15-2013 10:21 AM

Wow really nice…. Always wanted to try a top like this….

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1664 days

#7 posted 11-15-2013 11:02 AM

Beautifully made keep sake chests… Walnut looks great and really well made…Great job.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Retsof's profile


134 posts in 2075 days

#8 posted 11-15-2013 06:50 PM

Nice chests! I’m working on twin jewelry boxes for my daughters right now, so it was nice to see your completed project. I like the coopered lids. I have to give that a try someday. Thanks for posting.

-- "There seems to be a black hole in my garage that swallows up pencils and tape measures as soon as I put them down."

View Andre's profile


1496 posts in 1645 days

#9 posted 11-15-2013 07:50 PM

Fantastic job! Love the walnut. Did you make your own Coopering plane?


-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Northwest29's profile


1616 posts in 2330 days

#10 posted 11-15-2013 08:27 PM

Excellent work! Simply beautiful. The chests themselves will be ‘keepsakes’ for your daughters.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View MontanaBob's profile


746 posts in 2523 days

#11 posted 11-15-2013 09:19 PM


-- To realize our true destiny, we must be guided not by a myth from our past, but by a vision of our future

View mike1950's profile


363 posts in 1638 days

#12 posted 11-16-2013 01:02 AM

Beautiful wood and use of it. Nice heirloom gifts!!!!!

-- "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."– Albert Einstein

View Ribeye's profile


8 posts in 1996 days

#13 posted 11-16-2013 01:39 AM

Thanks for the kind comments everyone.
Maplerock & Rad457- The lid was made by ripping the staves on the table saw with a bevel. The last joint is ripped at a steeper angle than the rest to return to vertical. It was glued up using packing tape to clamp everything up. The inside of the ends was rounded out using a jig and a router (I added a picture of the jig) Then I used a home made, Krenov style, round bottom plane to round out the full length to match the curve of the ends. I rounded the outside of the top using my trusty #5-1/4 Stanley. The joinery on the ends of the lid was cut using a combination of the table saw w/ miter gauge and hand tools. The Aug/Sept 2010 issue of American Woodworker has the full plans for this chest, including bent wood bands like my earlier, prototype chest.

View Will_Wood's profile


28 posts in 2175 days

#14 posted 11-19-2013 01:46 AM

Ribeye -

These are gorgeous in wood selection and in execution! Can I ask what finish you used?

View Ribeye's profile


8 posts in 1996 days

#15 posted 11-19-2013 12:55 PM

Will- Thanks! I made my own “Maloof” finish. I mixed boiled linseed oil, gloss poly, and mineral spirits in equal amounts. This was wiped on liberally, and then wiped off about 15 min. later. It took about 5 coats to get it built up to the surface, and on the first 3 coats, I wet sanded the finish with 400 grit before wiping, to try to fill the pores. I am not sure the sanding helped to fill the pores, but it did make the surface look nice. Then I used Minwax dark wax and buffed it out. I will likely use this finish again, although I am not sure it looks any different than the Watco “Danish Oil” when I put it on some test boards.

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