My two girls want to go on a treasure hunt. First step... Treasure Chest. I had a great time building the first one so I built one for my nieces.
1 - I can't give you exact dimensions. Build it to suit your needs. Mine is small because I'm going to fill it with treasure.
2 - You can finish the box in any number of ways. I gave mine an old, patina look and will show you how to get the same look.
3 - I used scrap pine and spruce that i had laying around the shop. If you can't dimension your own lumber, just buy the sizes you need from a big box store.
4 - I used power tools to speed things up but this chest can easily be built with basic hand tools in no time at all.
Step 1: Cutting Sides and Base
I made my chest 8 inches wide, 7 inches tall and around 4 inches deep.
Once you have your dimensions roughed out, cut 2 pieces for the sides and one piece for the base. Make sure all three pieces are the same width or your chest will not be square. Unless you don't want it square, then do whatever you want.
Find the centre point on the two sides, mark it with my square and use a compass to draw the line for the curved top. If you don't have a compass, a lid or roll of tape (anything circle) with work just fine.
I used my saw to chop off the bulk of the extra material and then used my belt sander to round it off. A skill saw, bandsaw or coping saw would do the same thing.
Step 2: Assemble the Base and Sides
Test fit everything to make sure everything still lines up.
Glue and clamp it to together.
I had an extra piece of wood cut that I used as a spacer to keep the chest square while clamping.
Clamp time depends on the type of glue being used. If you want to skip the gluing and assembly with nails you could, but it will not be as strong.
**If you plan on sanding your box to perfection, you should sand each pice before glueing. Much easier on the fingers**
Step 3: Front and Back
While waiting for the glue to dry, cut the front, back and top pieces. I used thin material for the front, back and top.
Since this is a rustic looking pirate chest, I didn't make the panels the exact same. Cut a bunch of different sized pieces that are all the same length.
Glue and clamp the front and back panels on just like you did with the sides.
Once the glue is set and the clamps are removed, drill 1/16th inch holes wherever you want nails. I spaced my out very sloppy to go with my rustic/sloppy theme. If you try and just hammer nails in, the wood will almost always split. The nails are there just for show anyways, the glue is doing all the work. I've also put nails in the sides.
Step 4: Building the Lid
Cut small strips of wood the same length and thickness as the front and back panels. Varying the size will give it a pirate feel and make it easier to space it out.
The angles on the top are too difficult to clamp so I recommend gluing on a strip, drilling it with a 1/16th inch drill bit and nailing it on. The nail will secure the strip until the glue sets up.
Work your way from the front to the back, cutting and trimming as needed. If you get to the back and the strips are not even, just trim the last piece to fit. Its at the back so it wont be noticed.
Step 5: Painting and Burning
Give your box a quick anding to help round off the top and remove any sharp edges. If you try and skip the paint step, your burning won't go well. The torch won't be a able to get into the little nooks and crannies that the paint does.
Lightly paint the all the edges and a put a few shots on the faces of the body. Pay special attention to the nail heads, the torch won't do a good job around them
Once the paint is dry, fire up the torch and lightly burn the entire chest. You can always go back and darken areas that need it so don't get carried away.
After the box is completely burnt and cooled, rough it up once more with some sand paper to expose some fresh wood. and break up the paint.
Step 6: Cutting a Lid and Finishing the Inside
Up to this point it was easier to have the box as one piece. Its now time to cut a lid. Make sure you don't hit and nails and cut away.
Heres a tip if your using hand tools or power tools. Cut just under halfway through on each side, once both cuts are finished, cut the little piece that remains. It'll help to make sure you get a straight cut.
Finish the inside the same as the out side, paint the edges, burn it lightly and give it a quick sanding.
Step 7: Hinges and Latch
The possibilities are endless when it comes to hinges and latches, I use whatever I can find. If you can't find antique brass hardware or screws, I've always had good luck heating shiny parts up with my torch until they are red hot and then letting them cool. Instant Antique!
Place the hinge or hinges where you want on the back and screw them into place. I find the small hinges hard to work with so I put a small dab of super glue under them before I try to screw them in. Same goes for the latch on the front.
Once its all assembled and dry, I like to rub the entire chest with tung oil. Its not necessary so I didn't mention it earlier but it adds a warm look to the chest and also helps to protect the wood from drying out, cracking etc.