It’s a specially made wooden box used to contain linens and blankets for extra bedding or changed bedding whereby heavier winter quilts and duvets are stored when lighter weight bed covers are used in summer warmth periods and vice versa. In times past it was a special chest used to store items put away for an anticipated marriage by a would-be bride. Though considered an archaic notion these days, Hope Chests are still the popular name and indeed a popular item used in homes to store valuable items such as photo albums, years of children’s and grandchildren’s drawings and of course personal items ranging anywhere from collector items to woodworking tools.

Most common in North America, the original idea still has warmth and a depth to it that no one can seem to quite shake. That being so, making a hope chest still remains one of the most common pieces fathers make for their daughters and daughters ask their fathers for, even after they are married.

Making this hope chest is much more for me as I hope it will be for you if and when you make it. For me this chest is part of my next book. It’s part of a training course that continues in the theme of my Artisan course for real woodworking and is actually the next book and DVD course Working Wood the Artisan Course with Paul Sellers 3. In this aspect of my work we tackle mortise and tenon frame construction in the form of the chest and then we groove the frame and raise the panels using traditional methods that guaranteed perfect joints and solid workmanship.

It teaches all aspects of raised panel door making too and drawer making and a whole lot more in the course I cannot tell you about until it’s out in April 2012. So, that, for me has become my personal Hope Chest and it’s my gift to the Real Woodworking Campaign and the next generation of woodworkers. There are three types of hope chest in the next book and they are all designed to be made primarily by hand.

Back to the North of England Woodworking Show this morning. Lots going on there today. Talk soon and keep signing up for the Real Woodworking Campaign. We can make a difference and restore real woodworking to real woodworkers.

1 Comment

  1. Marty on 10 February 2018 at 3:12 am

    I have 2 beautiful little granddaughters I keep thinking about building hope chests not so much for marrying them off, but just to give them something to cherrish for years to come. I live quite some distance away from them and don’t get to spend the time with them every grandfather wants to spend with his granddaughters, but I do want to hand down at least one item for each that they’ll never forget.



  • Allen R. on Recovery IIII'm unwilling to advocate for unbridled progress until somebody is willing to tell me what we're progressing towards :)
  • James Perales on Favourites From 2019Hadn't been on your site before, but found it from a roundup post of woodworking blogs. Love the highlights. That small chest with the drawers is gorgeous. Really like the leather…
  • David Lindsay Stair builder 80 years of age Newcastle, Australia on Recovery III agree with all the above. Thank you for bringing sanity to the struggles of life
  • Paul Sellers on Recovery IIIOh, Ed, though it was a real battle, the mocking and the scoffing I went through, and then the rejection too, but I would not trade one lick of it for a free tablesaw or a power ro…
  • Ed on Recovery III"...it was indeed necessary for a sledgehammer-to-nut endeavour..." Interesting. I hadn't thought in terms of the battle that was being fought. I have a machinist friend who likes…
  • Jurandyr on Recovery IIIThe Industrial Revolution and its consequences. We used to need skilled artisans to produce any item, today anyone can buy an electric machine and plastic jigs and produce it. The…
  • nemo on Recovery IIINearly 20 years ago, in my late twenties, I decided to run a quick errand to a store 2 km away by bicycle. Not sure what made me use the bicycle that day, as I did everything by ca…