Title: The Walnut Chest

Wood Species/Finish: Solid Canadian Black Walnut, solid brass hardware/ hardwax oil finish

Designed/ Made: 2016

Dimensions: 42” long, 24” tall, 21” deep

Design Elements: Solid walnut construction. Graduated-style dovetail joinery, Long and Low skirt details, frame and panel lid, solid floor, breadboard style dividers held in place with magnets, gold leaf interior lid detail, integrated recessed handle. 

Notes: This chest was designed for a one year old child. It will be used as a place to put his toys...for now. I wanted to build a piece that could grow with him as he ages, and because of the construction, this will last his whole life. I imagine the piece getting banged up; dented and coloured with the paints of toys. But this doesn't bother me and it shouldn't both the client. In 15 years, this chest will have the character and patina of life. The finish is easily freshened, so when the time comes we can clean it up and transform it into a blanket chest at the foot of a bed. 

The style was meant to be monolithic. It was meant to look like a large box: heavy, and built to last. But, I tried to lighten the impression of the box with a few elements. The panelled top was made from thicker material and then shaped into a slow curve. Similarly, the cutaways that expose the feet are simple, but gracious, and soften the hard corners of the box. One final treat was the use of gold leaf in the interior of the lid. Because the chest was made of solid black walnut, I wanted to lighten the colour, and ideally the overall feel of the piece, especially when it was open and full of toys. This is a serious box for a serious little man, but its fun also, and I think that the gold leaf reinforces this sentiment. 

Follow along with the build of this chest by checking out my blog post here

Surprise! Gold leaf flashes in the face of the user.

Surprise! Gold leaf flashes in the face of the user.

Hanging with some friends

Hanging with some friends

The gentle curve of the panel top reflects the lower curves to humanize the chest.

The gentle curve of the panel top reflects the lower curves to humanize the chest.

The Monolith: with its bold square silhouette, yet graceful lower curves it is a complex character.

The Monolith: with its bold square silhouette, yet graceful lower curves it is a complex character.

one of two removable dividers that are made in a 'breadboard' style to allow the solid wood to expand and contract. 

one of two removable dividers that are made in a 'breadboard' style to allow the solid wood to expand and contract. 

The side profile of the chest shows the graduated dovetails, as well as the arc of the panel top and the leg cutaway

The side profile of the chest shows the graduated dovetails, as well as the arc of the panel top and the leg cutaway

Solid Brass lid stays as well as hinge made this a robust connection.

Solid Brass lid stays as well as hinge made this a robust connection.

Graduated dovetails: wider in the middle, thinner at the edges.

Graduated dovetails: wider in the middle, thinner at the edges.