Walnut Toy / Hope Chest

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Project by VCF posted 207 days ago 1070 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this toy chest for a good friend of mine. I’m calling it a toy / hope chest because my buddy came to me and asked me to build him a toy chest for his kids made out of walnut. After I was done his wife liked it so much I’m not sure if a single toy ever got put in it. I felt the chest was a little too high for their youngest child so I surprised them with a small walnut step stool.

This project was made mostly of solid wood. The front panels are ¼” material that I glued up and routed 1/8” groves in. Has anyone else tried gluing up 1/4” material? Not that fun. The back panel, chest & drawer bottoms are ¼” ply. The rest is all 4 qtr. I finished this with Tung oil and a good amount of wipe on poly. I was very nervous about the ware it was going to get as a toy chest.

I would love to hear others advice on different finish options I could have used for this situation.

-- Vieth Custom Furniture,

10 comments so far

View McCoy's Woodworking's profile

McCoy's Woodworking

39 posts in 209 days

#1 posted 207 days ago

That is a beautiful piece! Much too nice for toys. I have no advice to give at all, only admiration. Well done, Sir!

-- "Well Done is better than Well Said." ~ Benjamin Franklin

View Ottacat's profile


322 posts in 488 days

#2 posted 207 days ago

Looks really nice. I’m certainly not surprised it has gotten used for other things. Your finish looks like it came out really nice. I know photos don’t always capture the exact degree of brown of walnut. I use Danish oil and then Arm-R-Seal but your combination looks great.

View Hartworks's profile


48 posts in 235 days

#3 posted 207 days ago

Very nice, I am constructing a hope chest made from Walnut and am looking to get a finish as nice as you have….did the tung oil even out the difference in color of the lighter sapwood? or is it just quality material with not much sap…cuz that looks dang good

-- Gary, California

View VCF's profile


66 posts in 208 days

#4 posted 207 days ago

Good question Gary,
you are absolutely right about the quality of material. I’m lucky enough to have a very good relationship with my wood supplier. I had picked most of the material. For the top I used some left over material from a previous project for the outer edges. If you look close at the picture of the top you can see the color difference. I knew it was going to happen so I used that as part of my design.

I really didn’t notice a difference in color change as I applied more coats of oil but the grain pop kept getting richer.

That’s one fun thing about woodworking. I was able to make a mistake (not buying enough wood) into my favorite design detail.

If any of you are from the St Louis area (or going to the woodworking show this weekend in Collinsville) you MUST try out U-Pick it Hardwood form St Charles. Graig is a great guy, his selection is wonderful, and you can’t find a better price. That’s coming from a guy who lives 50 minutes away and works for a lumber company.

-- Vieth Custom Furniture,

View Oldtool's profile


1787 posts in 827 days

#5 posted 207 days ago

Beautiful piece of furniture, regardless of the final application. The finish is great, nothing better looking than wood.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Zach117's profile


19 posts in 1697 days

#6 posted 207 days ago

Try Waterlox on top of tung oil with walnut. Looks great, durable and easy to use. Has held up really well on my coffee table. Nice job!

View aussiedave's profile


3014 posts in 461 days

#7 posted 207 days ago

Very nice piece, beautiful wood and finish. Excellent job, thanks for sharing.

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View clieb91's profile


3270 posts in 2572 days

#8 posted 207 days ago

This piece turned out very nice. I can certainly see why the toys never made it in.

I only wish I had the room in my daughter’s bedroom to put a nice hope chest. I have an idea that may work which I have been pushing around. But that is another subject.

Great looking pieces across the board.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14727 posts in 2313 days

#9 posted 207 days ago

Nice work. Welcome to LJ!!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View michelletwo's profile


2236 posts in 1652 days

#10 posted 206 days ago

I’d call it a hope chest. Too nice for toys & kids. super job. You could try Woodworker’s Source . on their site they have videos for finishing woods & walnut is one.

-- We call the destruction of replaceable human made items vandalism, while the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources is called development.

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