View Full Version : Arch top mesquite chest

Richard M. Wolfe
06-01-2008, 9:52 AM
Well, here’s something that actually called for a bit of joinery. I wish I had kept track of how many chests I’ve made over the years. It’s been quite a number, and they’ve all been aromatic (eastern red) cedar or oak and they’ve all been flat topped. I had been wanting to make one from mesquite and I had been wanting to make one with an arched top, so I finally did and combined the two. :)

Making the body was no problem. I made it like all other chests with the exception of the base. I use lap joints for the corners as I prefer the smooth front with vertical end grain edges to ‘frame’ the end panels. Rabbets were cut into the bottom pieces prior to joining the panels; normally I nail the bottom on and route flush. Bun feet were made for it rather than a base molding incorporating feet as I do on flat top chests. The inside of the body was coated with shellac to kill the mesquite odor prior to putting the base in, which is aromatic cedar. Making the lid was lots of fun. :rolleyes: Coopering the top was really no problem. The ‘slats’ were joined with biscuits and going over and over the top with a belt sander made it acceptably rounded and smooth. I ran the entire top assembly through a table saw to make a vertical face for the front and back edges. The dicey part: I used an mdf template with a router to cut rabbets in the ends of the lid and make the same curve in an end cap. The rabbets had to be made as the inside of the lid was not a smooth curve from the slats used to make the top. Don’t know just how I’ll do another one but want to find an easier way. :( Any ideas, suggestions, references?
Dimensions are 42” (3 ½’) long, 22” tall and 18” deep. The mesquite is all local which we milled. The hardware is from a couple different places - I used rusty hinges and hasp in the front ,and rusty handles on the end panels to go with the rustic nature of the piece, spraying with matte varnish prior to installing. A good bit of the market for home décor in this part of the country is for the ‘rustic’ look. Also for the rustic nature I rubbed it down with a couple coats of natural Danish oil for an exterior finish - the colors in the pics are pretty true. And believe it or not, it can be a chore to make a quality piece with a ‘beat up’ look. Thanks for looking.

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Doug Shepard
06-01-2008, 10:33 AM
Than it just outstanding. I never tire of seeing mesquite projects and this one is great.

Clara Koss
06-01-2008, 11:21 AM
nice.... it is rustic....

John Thompson
06-01-2008, 12:36 PM
I absolutely love it.. and the bad news is so does my wife which translates to one more tall chest left to complete her new bedroom suite. I can see the wheels spinning in her head picturing a chest at the bottom of the new bed. :(

I have never used mesquite outside the grill.. but love the rustic look you created with it. Very nicely done indeed.


gary Zimmel
06-01-2008, 6:11 PM
Sweet looking chest Richard. Great job...

Jim Becker
06-01-2008, 9:30 PM
I really like that Richard. There is something about this kind of arched top design that is so appealing.