Inspired by Christopher Schwarz’s “furniture of necessity,” I built this simple six-board chest. It’s called a six-board chest because it is literally made from six boards – four sides, a top, and a bottom. It’s hard to find boards this wide, so I edge glued 1x12s from the home center.
The main box is 37.25" x 18". The whole chest is 27" tall.
It is painted with two coats of “mustard” color Old Fashioned Milk Paint. A friend asked how to get a good finish with milk paint, I said, “lower your expectations.” You can clearly see streaks in the paint on the top. I thought I was going to have to repaint, but in the end I like that that the streaks break up the surface.
The chest is nailed together with 6 penny fine finish cut nails. Schwarz says you should use nails with a large head, but I didn’t have nails like that, so I used cut nails like Dunbar and they work fine. I covered the nail holes with Dunham’s Rock Hard Water Putty, which is nice because I can just mix a little putty at a time as I need it.
In the large front and back boards, Dunbar cuts three rabbets, two on the end and one at the bottom. I initially skipped the bottom rabbet, but quickly learned it helps. With the bottom rabbet, I could size the bottom to be the same width as the ends. It also ensures the bottom is better sealed.
They aren’t pictured, but I used two Dark Antique PB-409 Butt Hinges from Horton Brasses that worked fine.