Norse Chest

Another chest, this time in sweet chestnut

April 2005

Pair of Norse chests

Pair of Norse chests

Following my first chest, I decided to make another. I had a thick board of sweet chestnut that was hanging around; a good rot-resistant outdoor timber, but not enough of it to make anything bigger. Sweet chestnut came to England with the Romans, but didn't make it further than Kent or the south coast. So it's not a commonly known Norse timber, although it has shown up at a 10th century find in Dublin.


Chestnut chest open, showing hollowed lid

Chestnut chest open

the lid is a solid board, hollowed with a gouge and scorp.

Pair of chests, from above

Pair of chests, from above

Joinery and hinges are as for the first chest. Open tenons pegged with treenails. Forged steel, held in place with clenched nails.

Pair of chests, from the front

Pair of chests

This chest is 24" long, compared to 18" for the first. Norse originals were even longer.

Pair of chests, from the front

Pair of chests, from the front

For strength, the sides and most noticeably the ends are tapered inwards towards the top.

Preparing the stock

Like the first chest, my main reason for even beginning was to use up a single large board that was cluttering the workshop. This one was of sweet chestnut, a timber known for its good weather resistance.

Chestnut slab, before beginning to resaw it to boards

Chestnut slab, before beginning to resaw it to boards

First I needed to resaw this - 5 feet long and a foot wide of 2" board.

End view of slab after ripping from each edge on the cabinet saw

After ripping from each edge on the cabinet saw

Using the circular saw from each edge took me 2/3rd of the way through, but for the rest I was on my own. Ripping on the Wadkin is so much easier since I upgraded to a 3hp motor.

Slab in the shoulder vice, ready for hand ripping the rest

Ready for hand-ripping

Then it's down to a slog with my anahiki - a big Japanese rip saw - to rip through the centre.

Finished 1" boards, after resawing

Finished boards

Finished! Not the easiest job ever, but surprisingly light going. Sweet chestnut is a pretty easy timber for sawing. For authenticity I then hand-planed the surface of the two boards.

For Sale

There'll be other chests for sale later this year - probably at re-enactor / LARP events. Look at the For Sale page for details.