In this project I'll show you how I've made this wooden chest with 4 big drawers and a reclaimed pallet wood cover that I've burnt for extra fanciness.
Here's a complete video of the making, check it out!
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Here's a list of material that I've used to build this wooden chest:
- 18mm plywood
- Reclaimed pallet boards of different woods and colors
- Metal drawers' guides
- Drawers' handles (the one that I've used are called "shell handles" in Italy)
- Decorative handmade studs
- Tung oil for finishing
I've heavily relied on my beloved Kreg K5 jig to build the main chassis of the chest, but you can use any method you find convenient.
Step 1: The Chassis
I'm using 18mm thick plywood for chassis and drawers, cut to the size of my needs.
Looking at the finished product, this is a bit of an overkill. I LOVE heavy and super sturdy furniture, but I could have probably stopped at 15 or even 12mm plywood.
Anyway, I've drilled all the pocket screw holes in the pack panel, which is acting as the main "holding part" of the chest.
This worked very well along with a good quality wood glue (Titebond, for this project), creating a solid structure ready to be completed in a functional piece of furniture.
Remember: you can always rely on the video in 1st step for a more accurate visual guide on this project!
Step 2: The Drawers
First of all, I've made some grooves at the table saw in the panels that will be the front and back of every drawer. This will let me to ad some spacers inside the drawers to better organize everything inside them.
Then, I've used again my pocket screws jig to build every one of the four drawers.
I've also used regular screws on the front, because it will be completely covered with pallet boards.
I've then installed every drawers in the chassis with its metal guides. I've found some sturdy metal guides with a capacity of 50+ Kg a couple.
Step 3: Pallet Covering
The unusual part of this project is the pallet covering.
I had some nice grey pallet boards laying around my shop for a couple of months, so I've decided to recycle them for a rustic cover along some more classic pine pallet boards.
Also, it's always nice to reclaim some wood :)
Even if it looks quite easy to make a random cover, it can be tricky.
First of all, you have to lay down every board to get a good "controlled randomness" of colors, then you have two options:
- you can trim everything to size BEFORE gluing the boards
- or, like me, you can trim everything AFTER with a tool like a flat japanese saw (ryoba komane)
Also, it's higly recommended to have a nail gun to speed up this process.
Unfortunately, my nail gun broke some days before starting this project, so I decided to go with classic hammer and nails. It's slower, but it works.
Another recommendation is a strong wood glue. I've used Titebond 3 for this step, too.
Titebond 3 is not always a good choice in my opinion. It's a pain to clean and dead hard to sand. It also dries up in an orrible dark yellow-ish color. But it is super strong, indeed, and easy to spread. So, for this kind of project where almost no potential squeeze up side is exposed, it's a really good one.
Step 4: Fire and Finishing Time
What really spice up this build is, in my opinion, the burnt effect on the pallet covering. It gives that pirate-like look that makes this piece of furniture more original and eye catching.
Charring wood is a technique so easy, cheap and rewarding that it's extremely easy to fall in love with.
You'll find yourself repeating it in a lot of projects, if you've liked it the firt time :)
To make wood's veins pop up a little before charring, I've passed with an iron brush on all the covering with a discrete amount of force.
Then, using a simple burner, I've charred the part covered with pallet wood.
The different colors and also different origin of this wood (it was reclaimed from several pallets) make the burnt pattern irregular and intresting.
And, obviously, any piece of furniture made with this mix of techniques is asbolutely unique and different from each other.
For protection and finish, I've applied several layers of tung oil, a natural oil that it's also my favorite wood finish of all. I really don't like varnish looks on wooden project, I prefer a more opaque and natural one.
Step 5: Details and Handle
At this point I decided that I wanted a more pirate-esque look!
One of my suppliers has this absolutely gourgeous handmade iron studs that are perfect for the style of the chest, and they are a relatively cheap way to add extra fanciness to the project.
Applying them is really easy, I've pre-drilled a hole and hammered the stud in with a drop or two of epoxy glue. One stud for every corner of every drawer, for a total of 16 studs.
Finally, I've installed these really nice handles that are quite popular today. In Italy we find them under the name of "maniglie a conchiglia" (shell handles).