Earl and the Wedding Chest

A CHEST WITH A SECRET
An extraordinary craftsman fulfills a daughter's wish.

SHOP OWNER: Earl Sheppard
LOCATION: Bedford, PA

    When my daughter Erika was about twelve, she wanted a chest with a hidden drawer. Thirteen years later, to celebrate her marriage, I made her this Wedding Chest. It features teak frame and panel construction, a walnut burl top with ash inlay, cherry inside the lid, walnut details, and zebra wood accents, corner brackets, and hinges. The hidden drawer in the base is spring activated.
Inside Lid Detail

 

    Designed and built from scratch, the chest took three long weeks to build; I'm a slow perfectionist. The lid is a laminated form, bent and covered with selected veneers. The mortised slot in the solid end rails, which I milled from 10/4 walnut, also holds the curve. The inside radius required lots of precision router work. I used a flush trimming box core bit for this. Wedding Chest

 

Carved Name Key
Hidden Drawer

 

    The hidden drawer is actuated with the carved name key through a 3/32" diameter hole, disguised as a pin knot, in the bottom of the aromatic cedar floor of the chest. The carved key is walnut, with a cut-off drill bit for the pin. When not in use, it fits into a holder inside the chest. Since the bottom of the chest is solid, there is no way to detect that the drawer exists. The spring is a stainless steel rolled spring (like a tape measure) salvaged from the magazine of a 30-shot mini-14.

Drawing of Drawer Detail
Wedding Chest

    Although challenging, the hinges were fun to make. The most time consuming parts to make were the triple curved zebra wood straps. Overall, it was a labor of love somewhat inspired by a song by Neil Diamond called 'Morningside'.

 

Triple Curved Zebra Wood Straps

    I'm 52 and I apply art to all I do. I used to do fine finish woodworking for a living in CA. I am actually a starving artist. At age eight, I sold my first water color and it ruined me for life. However, if you're not going to enjoy this life, which one? I currently play design engineer, architect, and custom builder while building in a 42-acre valley with a stream in south central PA.
    I have had a very eclectic career. One of the yacht interiors I did made the top 50 in the world according to Yachting Magazine. I also play a goldsmith, automation & control technician, electrician, plumber, computer network geek, structural and civil engineer, as well as having installed fiber optics, dry wall, stone, flooring, and glass. I built the laser trimmer controls for the anti-skid chips in the Corvettes & Cadillacs. What surprises most people is the fact that I have had no college. Nevertheless, a thirst for knowledge and experience has served me well. Sometimes, when necessary, I sign my name as Earl Sheppard - N.D.E.C., which looks important but stands for 'No Degrees Extremely Competent'!

. . . Earl Sheppard - N.D.E.C.


 
CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE    INDEX!

 

SEND US YOUR "SHOP SHOTS"
This is the place to share views of your shop, woodworking tips and methods,
mug shots, special tools or machines, finished work--you name it!
    We prefer digital images via e-mail, but prints or transparencies will do. Include your name, address, phone number and a paragraph or two explaining the photo(s). Not every entry will be used, we reserve the right to edit for length and clarity, and we will not return photos.

WoodCentral
P.O. Box 493
Springtown, PA 18081