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What is a hope chest anyway?


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.

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