Farewell, Fair Wood

There is something demented and wonderful about painting over completely clear 16”-wide pine boards.

Today I finished up a board chest using some nice old pine boards from Midwest Woodworking. Like all the sugar pine, I’ve bought from Midwest, this stuff is like pine is supposed to be – stable, easy to work and clear.

There is always going to be a small voice in my head telling me that I’m a fool to paint this stuff, but the design really demands it. Once you get the chest assembled, it’s obvious that the grain distracts from the form. The moulding around the bottom of the case looks weird – especially on the ends.

So paint it is.

I was going to scratch a geometric design on the front of the chest, but my test board didn’t come out like I wanted. The geometry was easy, but the scratches didn’t show well under the paint. That aspect of these chests needs some more thought on my part.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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19 Responses to Farewell, Fair Wood

  1. Robert Justiana says:

    I like the chest a lot and the hinges turned out nice. With all the stripping and scraping and the mounting geometry, would you use them again?

    • lostartpress says:


      I’ve used these hinges for many chests. They are… rough. And usually twisted. But so are the blacksmith hinges I’ve used. So that’s OK.

      I bought mine for $5.50 each. But VanDyke’s sometimes takes them off sale, which doubles the price.

      Still, $20 for hinges that look good ain’t bad. So I’d probably use them again. But DO NOT try to bend them square. They will break. They do break. I’ve broken some.

  2. Scott Meek says:

    What is the paint you used? Love that color of blue. It looks great!

    • lostartpress says:

      I wanted to make my own paint, but this had to be “Coastal Blue” milk paint from General Finishes for the customer. The next one will get painted with paint I made.

  3. Tom says:

    You do nice work Schwarz!

  4. Eric R says:

    There’s a comfort in your work.
    That’s the best I can explain it.

  5. pauls49 says:

    How does the Sugar Pine compare to Eastern White Pine as far as hand tool work goes?

  6. abtuser says:

    Looks great. I like the design and the color.

  7. Tim Henriksen says:

    How do you think the milk paint would tolerate scratching in the geometric design after finishing? Especially with a contrasting color underneath?

  8. Bill says:

    Nice chest, and I like the paint, however I think the hinges kinda look out of place sticking out with the large chunk of wood underneath them.

    • jasongc says:

      Related: When in front of a class, don’t ask Megan if she is tomorrow going to show us pictures of her chest. You will receive strange looks (bu not necessarily from Megan).

  9. Brian Eve says:

    Very nice. And thanks for the close-up of the clinched nails on the lid. I hadn’t considered nailing them from the underside, and thought it might not work so good nailing from the top.

  10. Paul says:

    If the chest was for me it, would be sans moulding & paint. But what do I know?

  11. Ryan Bishop says:

    Hey Chris, if you finish with milk paint, can you finish the top edges of the box and the inside edges of the lid battens with linseed oil (or comparable product) without it making the cloth goods inside reek? Or does that present problems?

    • lostartpress says:

      I suppose you could. But I really like to keep linseed oil away from any interior. If I wanted to finish the edges and battens I’d do it with shellac or alkyd varnish.

  12. Chris P. says:

    Simple but classic, love the way the hinges look. One of my first projects that I took on was a 6 board chest a months ago before I officially caught the “hand tool bug” since then I’ve had a lot more practice and and this post just made me want to give it another shot soon. I always love reading your new posts, Keep up the good work!

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