Sunday, March 31, 2013

The finished sea chest

This is the end of the road for this project.
I have spent 67 hours all inclusive i.e. making handles and fabricating nails.

I sanded the chest down to grit 120 which is the finest grade we have onboard (emery cloth). I had dismounted the handles before doing this, so I didn't have to work around them.

I waited about 2 hours after the sanding, to let the dust settle before applying the finish.

The finish that I have used is "clear urethane electrical isolation" I am pretty sure that it is normal urethane varnish inside a green aerosol can.
The wood absorbed the first and second coat rather fast. I waited approximately 30 minutes between each coat. Then I waited about one hour and lightly touched the surface with a schotch brite pad. Wiped it lightly with some paper and gave it a final 3rd coat.

In an ideal world, I would have waited longer between the coats, and also given it some more coats, but since I am signing of Tuesday, I had to finish the chest.

Once I determined that the 3rd coat was dry enough, I remounted the handles and carefully moved the chest out of the workshop and into a corner of the engine room where it would be out of the way and maybe drying a bit faster.

You never know if someone has got to use the workshop during the night, so I could not just leave it on the table.

Enough talk. Here are the pictures of the finished sea chest.


  1. Beautiful work. I have to ask, did you build this with a wand? Are you Harry Potter?

  2. Thank you Bill.

    Yes, I did use my wand, but please don't tell anyone. As you know, we are not allowed to magic outside of Hogwarts.

    By the way, is a wand considered to be a hand tool or a power tool?

    I have wrapped the chest in bubble plastic, and I found a sturdy old cardboard box, to put in in. Now I just hope there won't be too much fuss with the customs in the airport.
    The empty weight of the chest is 12.3 kg (approx. 25 Lb), so it isn't exactly lightweight.
    I hope it will not disappear on the way home.

  3. Wands are definitely a power tool, so be prepared to face insults and attacks for using it. Good luck getting it home. Is it something you will bring with you on trips or will it only be for the house?

  4. I will keep it in the house, it is a bit heavy for travelling. To make it fit for travelling, I would need to ad some sort of locking device that could still be opened by airport security personnel without damaging the chest itself. In addition to that, I tend to think that it will look very battered after a couple of trips.
    I have promised my youngest son that it can stay in his room. He was really thrilled to hear about the secret drawers. So I guess that it will be filled with his small treasures.

  5. Super Cool! Can't wait to see this when I see you this summer! - Jens

  6. Nice glamor shots. I'm amazed at what you made with what you had to work with. I recall making rings out of silver quarters on some of my sea vacations in the navy. I should have gone surface navy and been a pattern maker but I digress. Excellent looking chest and it sounds like your son isn't going to give it up.

  7. Ralph, thanks for the support throughout the build, and thanks for the nice comments.
    Patternmaker would be a really cool profession, but honestly I think that there is a bigger demand those days for someone who knows electronics.

  8. Beautiful work! Congrats!
    Next time bring your tool chest with you!
    Were you able to identify your exotic wood? Ayous? Okoumé? Samba?

  9. Hello Aymeric
    Thank you for the nice words.
    A tool chest is sadly a little above the weight limit they allow us to bring on a helicopter, but it is also nice with a challenge to build something with very little tools once in a while. Just to see if it is possible.

    I tried to identify the species and I am pretty sure that the light coloured wood I used for the drawers and the bottom are Idigbo. This is based on that when it had a drop of water, it turned yellow once dry.
    The other ones I couldn't quite figure out.
    All that aside I found it amazing that the wood was used for a single use pallet. It is a nice feeling, to know that now these pieces of wood will last for a long time. If I hadn't made the chest, they would have been incinerated.