Midnight Woodworking


Eric’s new walnut chest

Eric's new chest

 Eric’s new chest

Don't let the red eyes fool you. He is a pretty good kid. 
Don’t let the red eyes fool you. He is a pretty good kid.

A few years back, my oldest son decided that he was tired of his bedroom. He had just become a teenager and didn’t want his room to look like a little boy lived there. I sat down with him and we came up with a plan. We got rid of the bright, happy colors and painted the room a nice grey and burgundy. Teenagers don’t like happy colors, then people assume that they are happy, and we just can’t have that… He also wanted new furniture. My father had recently cleaned out his small shop area and found a sheet of 3/4″ black walnut plywood that he had no use for. Black walnut is my favorite wood to work with. That got me thinking, Why don’t I redo the whole room in black walnut? This was a bit ambitious at the time since I had far less tools than I have now. I went to a friend of mine that has a saw mill. He kindly agreed to sell me some walnut at $2.50/foot. This was ever so nice of him since he normally sold it for $12/foot. Several weeks later I had made all new trim for the room. I even made rosettes for the doors and windows. I made new shelves and a desk with the plywood, and I made a new bed. The bed was the center piece. I had found plans on the web for a shaker style bed. It didn’t seem too far out of my range of abilities, so I gave it a try. It turned out beautifully.

Eric's bed

Eric’s bed

New trim

New trim

Flash forward a few years. My oldest will turn 18 next week. Smiles a bit more these days… He had mentioned that he could use a little more storage space, a few months ago, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to drag him down to the shop and have some father son bonding time. I was at my buddy Phill’s helping him with something, and I mentioned that we were going to build a chest for the foot of the bed. He said “Oh I have a bunch of old walnut up in the barn from a tree that I cut down ten years back or so.” He asked my if I wanted any… A truck load of walnut later, Eric and I started working on plans for the chest. I am a mechanical designer that does architectural design on the side. How hard could it be? We wanted something that would match the bed, but the bed had those big 2″x2″ posts at the corners and I was having trouble working those into a chest, so that it matched the bed. About fifteen revisions later, I came up with something. I then stumbled across a picture in the fine woodworking reader gallery of exactly what I was looking for.


I found the plan on the Fine Woodworking site, made a tweak or two, and we got to work.

Click to access storage_bench.pdf

I won’t bore you with too many details (because I forgot to take pictures till I was almost done). I made the front and back panel one solid piece instead of three panels. The other thing I changed was to make the floor out of tounge and groove cedar (also donated by my buddy Phill). This project really stressed my OCD side because I let it sit in the shop until I could work on it with my son. He is busy with class, work, and friends. But he did manage to squeeze in some time on the weekends with me in the shop. I had managed to save a couple of small chunks of wood, left over from the bed, that had a pretty burl. We decided to put it on the side of the chest that would sit right next to the burl on the bed. The chest looks nice right next to the bed. The bedroom looks nicer with all of his clothes in the chest instead of on the floor…

Ready for assembly

Ready for assembly

Panel glue-up

Panel glue-up



Cedar floor

Cedar floor

Side shot

Side shot

Look at that grain

Look at that grain

2 comments on “Eric’s new walnut chest

  1. Eric R
    March 1, 2013

    Very nice set !
    Good job !

  2. johncbrownmd
    March 2, 2013

    beautiful figure

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This entry was posted on March 1, 2013 by in furniture and tagged , , .

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