My first big project, following the purchase of my Ryobi BT3000 table saw/router table, some ten years ago, was this chest/coffee table.
The coffee table was built from locally-obtained red oak. It was finished using Old Masters golden oak stain, satin polyurethane sanded to 600-grit, and Clapham's furniture wax.
The basic design is my own. I made mistakes, of course. The sides are joined using butt joints - and gluing end grain to long grain results in an inherently weak joint.
As the pictures show, the edges have been nailed, with ornamental square-cut wrought-head nails. This adds a little reinforcement, but not much. Were I to do this project over again, I would either dovetail these edges, or use dowels, biscuits, or screws to reinforce the joint. To avoid splitting the end grain, I drilled pilot holes - something you'd also need to do if you were using screws.
Sides were glued up from narrower boards: glued edge joints are very stronger than the boards they join. My BT3000 table saw is fantastic - boards ripped so clean, no edge-jointing was required.
Another lesson learned: checks and knots may make for interesting details (and I still enjoy including them, where appropriate), but do not get paste wax into them! Wax becomes transparent once buffed to a clear soft sheen - but remains a very obvious, incongruous, undesirable filler if stuck where it can't be buffed.
The oxidized antique steel-and-iron hardware shown above came from Lee Valley, at www.leevalley.com. So did the flap stays below, the final necessary detail - without them, the chest lids slam down with enough force to do major damage to little fingers. For long, heavy lids like the ones on this project, be sure to use one on each side.