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Pirate's treasure chest

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Treasure chests in the pirate style with the rounded lid look a little tricky to make. They're not - here's how to make one out of old wood you may have lying around, and you only need one measurement. Here it is: 10 degrees. Right, you're ready to go!

I made the chest from some left over wood from our neighbor's fence. I'd used a fair bit of it to build a treehouse, and my kids were busting to have a piratey treasure chest to store their loot in. I thought I'd try my hand, and it turned out to be easy enough to share how to make it.
 
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Step 1: Tools

This project is technically woodworking but requires no real finesse, just as well, or I couldn't have built it! However, you will need access to a power tool that only a woodworker would own: a table saw. This is really the only way you can accurately rip lumber. However, you don't need a fancy one with a cast iron table; though if you have one of those, I envy you, as mine is a crappy little store-brand bench saw that cost $75 new. A jigsaw is handy (though a fine-toothed handsaw would work perfectly well). You'll need a hand plane, and a hammer or a nailgun. Some ratcheting tie-downs are useful, but there are lots of other ways to apply the pressure to glue this project together. Oh yes, some PVA wood glue. You'll need a pencil, but you DON'T need any measuring tools. Really. No tape measures or rulers were exploited in the execution of this project.
Admiral_Ash made it!14 days ago

Thanks for these instructions! Knocked most of one of these out in a day. I have a buddy who has a forge and this weekend we'll be making steel bands for the top. Spent a few hours blackening some bolts so they'll match the steel. I'll upload some more pics once it's all finished.

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makendo (author)  Admiral_Ash14 days ago

Looks great, nice work & thanks for uploading the pictures. Steel bands sound awesome, look forward to seeing the final version.

Couldn't wait for the weekend! Did these last night and tonight I'm going to continue the steel bands down onto the main box. My bud is going to forge some nice handles Saturday. Hinges and jailers lock should be arriving today from amazon.

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thanks for sharing this, I needed some thing to build in wood tec. and my little sister just "broke" her toy box so it works out

dpaxton2 years ago
very nice! i always wondered how to build a treasure chest! now i can hide my loot :) ty
makendo (author)  dpaxton2 years ago
Arrr! Y'll protect ye booty from them scurvy lubbers an' bilge rats!
Ahem. I mean, thanks.
opticalfx2 years ago
Wax paper works better than newspaper as the glue won't stick to it
Nice one man.
Looks great!! And love the commentary!!
makendo (author)  Yeah Yeah 51663 years ago
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!
I'm going to have to build one of these now. I love old looking stuff. After painting, just leave out side for a month or two, and get an instant aged look. The only problem for me is that I don't have a table saw. Hmm, I doubt I'll ever use it for anything other than this one project, so a cheep $75.00 saw may work for me. Thank you for the ideas
makendo (author)  Junkyard Dawg3 years ago
Good luck, it's a fun & easy project. Borrow a table saw if you can; lots of people own one, even if it's collecting dust in their garage...
Well, the only place I know of that has a table saw is with my old shop teacher from Junior High, but I think he retired (and the shop is now a computer lab) Mabe I out to try with one of my uncles. They may have one. If all else fails, I'll just buy a used one from a yard sale or a thrift store (Or, Craigs list. There are some good deals there)
Dizzy494 years ago
You can take the stainless steel hardware and drop it in vinegar for a 2-3 days and it will give it a very nice aged look.  I needed some authentic looking screws for a 150yr old cabinet in my kitchen and that did the trick for me.
makendo (author)  Dizzy494 years ago
 Interesting, I would have thought stainless steel would stand up pretty well to vinegar. What does it look like after the process?
Dizzy49 makendo4 years ago
I tried steel and brass, and the brass didn't do anything, but the steel turned out great!  If I can find the cable for my camera I'll put up a couple pics of the original screws and the ones I made.
fretted Dizzy494 years ago
If you want to put an old antique look on new brass soak it in lighter fluid for awhile or just use some on a rag and wipe it down and let it dry i had to antique the front of some new brass mailboxes for a very old apartment complex built in the 20's and it turned out great
Wasagi4 years ago
The one thing I've always needed!

As soon as I get some time, I'm making this!
SpinWard4 years ago
I love this, I was looking for a pirate chest last month too for my son's birthday!! I may have to make this for Christmas!
I love the idea of the ratchet straps to hold it together for the glue. That was the one part that intimitated me about a pirate chest! I may see fi I can find some brassy looking straps and tacks for the sides.

Very well done!!
makendo (author)  SpinWard4 years ago
 Thanks & good luck. If you have ratcheting tie downs, take care you don't overtighten them - I did at first and must have come pretty close to snapping the outer pieces or at least tearing them off the ends. In hindsight, the best way to do it would be to cut a piece of scrap wood to fit across the inside, then clamp really tight around that. It would stop the sides bowing in when you apply pressure.
jtp1394 years ago
i can't believe it! i was just searching for a treasure chest like last week and there wasn't anything. Thanks for the instructable.
makendo (author)  jtp1394 years ago
 You're welcome. Good luck - I hope it works out for you. 
tim_n4 years ago
Looks great - I might make something similar but to make it a bit more authentic it really needs a bit of destressing! (smack it with a hammer and burn it a bit etc) and use old locks (rusty).  But the box looks solid!  Well done!
makendo (author)  tim_n4 years ago
 Thanks. Its authenticity is most definitely lacking - the piano hinge is particularly vile. However, the kids are saving their pocket money for a lock and I'm confident that they'll distress it quite enough through regular use (though I'll probably discourage the burning).
thepelton4 years ago
If you use brass fittings, you can let them turn green and it won't really hurt the hardware.  Rusty iron is decomposing.
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