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Hawaiian Koa Wood Treasure Chest

This tropical treasure chest started its design life with a very different planned look. It was to be constructed entirely of poplar, in a frame-and-panel style, with the panels being cut in wavy, variously thick sections to give a layered feel and a sense of motion. They were to be lacquered in shades of green to resemble kelp swaying in the current. We created the poplar frame as planned, but as we worked with the panels, we just couldn’t get the look we really desired. We set the project aside for a time and in that interval came across a bundle of Hawaiian koa wood veneers on a trip to a lumber yard in Pennsylvania. A short time later we realized those would be the perfect pieces to include in our tropical treasure chest project. As they were veneers, though, they were too thin to form the panels on their own. Thus, they are used in appliqué fashion, their natural live edges forming the wavy patterns we had intended to deliberately cut from the poplar. They are finished with a natural brush on lacquer with a gloss finish that greatly enhances the grain patterns of this fabulous tropical wood. The poplar was finished with an acrylic salt-resist process that adds a depth of color and texture and aging to the final look, and then sealed with two coats of clear lacquer. The interior is completely lined with quilt batting and a satin fabric with a wonderful purple butterfly pattern that is a bright and unexpected contrast to the dark colors of the chest exterior. This delicate lining makes the chest a perfect place to store your special treasures. The chest measures 25 1/2” long x 15” deep x 13” tall. A nice size for stationing at the foot of a twin bed, or for tucking under a home office desk or console table.

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