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Variations on a form. The blue chest is the one I built for this article – but let your wood and aesthetics dictate your build. (The yellow chest is by Timothy Henriksen; the green chest is by Ty Black.)

Use two planks, two days and two piles of nails to make this age-old form

Six-board chests have been an enduring form of furniture in Western cultures for hundreds of years. And while they differ in their details during different ages, the basic form and the way it is built has been unchanged since the form appeared.

The chest in this article has details I’ve seen on chests in the 18th and 19th centuries. You can choose different mouldings (or omit them), or add carving or a stenciled design to make the chest suit the time period you prefer.

Design with the Boards

Rip then crosscut. If you rip the moulding piece first before crosscutting the front from the back, you will get a nice long piece of straight-grained stock.

I built my chest using an 8′-long board and a 12′-long board.


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