Saturday, March 30, 2013

A tight mini skirt and a nice bottom

I found an advantage in building a chest with canted sides:
The skirt could be assembled off the chest, and later slid onto it, and the further down it is pressed, the tighter the joint gets.
Since it is a small chest with an even smaller skirt, I find it fair to call it a mini skirt.

The mini skirt extends about 1.5 cm below the bottom of the chest. This was done on purpose, and not because of some measuring error!
My theory is that a sea chest should be lifted above the floor since you could have water on the floor for different reasons: cleaning, heavy weather throwing in a lot of water when the hatch was opened, someone coming drenched from watch etc. If the bottom of the chest is lifted of the floor, the skirt might be wet, but your dry clothes inside the chest will remain dry.
This could also be achieved by a pair of sacrificial rails under the length of the chest, but I chose this option because I think it looks good.

The lid is fitted with breadboard ends that look like cleats, since they extend below the lid. This is something I have seen on pictures of the sea chests, I can't think of any particular reason why they were made like that, but sailors are pretty traditional, so I followed suit.

These are the first breadboard ends that I have ever made, and they are not quite as tight as I would have liked them to be, but they are OK.
They are drawbored, and the two outer tenons have elongated holes to accomodate the eventual seasonal movement of the wood. No glue was used.
I made the dowels by splitting some of the wood that was left over from the drawers, then they were shaped by hammering them through a 4.2 mm hole in a steel plate.
The holes in the actual top and breadboard were 4.0 mm, so they had a nice tight fit.

The handles have been mounted fairly high upon the chest due to tradition and since I had the drawer arrangement in the one end that was a bit of an obstruction. Originally the idea was to use wooden cleats and make some beckets, but being an engineer, I opted for the hardware road instead.
The tradition with high fitted lifts of any sort is that the will assure a low point of gravity when the chest is hoisted onboard using the handles. You wouldn't want a top heavy chest turning over and spilling all your clothes in the water.

The chest has been assembled, so all there is left to do is to nail the bottom through the mini skirt, sand it and then apply some finish.

Elongated hole in the tenon for the breadboard ends.

The lid and the breadboard end ready for assembly.

The tight mini skirt.

The nice bottom surrounded by the mini skirt.


  1. I think Bill could be right. You may very well be a sorcerer.

    This project is absolutely amazing. Congrats!

  2. Thank you.

    I am very pleased with the result myself. I have just finished sanding it, so when the shift ends, I will try to give it some varnish.

  3. Wow. And another wow for doing this with the tool set you had. Those chest handles are off the hook.

  4. Thanks. I am glad you like the handles. I was a bit nervous before attaching them. I didn't know if they would look wrong, but I am glad I took the chance.
    I have sprayed on the first coat of clear urethane varnish, and I am waiting for it to dry, so I can sand it lightly and give it another coat.
    Normally I finish with something like Danish oil, but I havn't got any out here.
    I am always amazed at how nice wood looks once it it finished.

    1. I can't wait to see it. Will you finish the inside, too?

  5. I didn't plan to finish the inside, and since I am going off tomorrow, I am not adding anymore coats of varnish. I want it to be dry before going with helicopter and airplane.

    Do you think I could use the Dictum wax for the inside even when the outside is finished with Varnish? Then that could be a possibility.

  6. Just to let you know, I am a big fan of a tight mini-skirt attached to a nice bottom, on woodworking projects and certain other places. In fact, I enjoy a well proportioned chest as well.

  7. I actually believe that those above mentioned things actually complements each other. Ao each individual asset seems even stronger.

  8. That's a fantastic piece, and even more impressive knowing the tool set that was used!

    1. Thank you for the nice comment.
      It was fun to build, eventhough I missed some tools along the way.
      My hope is that people can use it to see that you don't need a lot of tools to make something.