Show off Your Handcrafted Projects. It's Free! Start Sharing

Campaign Style Coffee Chest

author-gravatar Squeazle May 25, 2021

A post that was originally submitted to the woodworking group on Reddit caused me to fall in love and I vowed to someday create the same thing for myself. I finally got around to it after a few years of beefing up my skills and made it as a gift for my wife, who taught me to appreciate good, black coffee. With this coffee chest you can go from beans, to grinding, to brewing, to serving a few cups of coffee, and then cleanup. The only thing it doesn't carry is the water.

The only changes I made to my version in comparison to the beautiful original are the wooden coffee bean boxes with pencil-box style lids, crafting the combination spoon/ stirrer, and I added some campaign style handles to the side. 

It's made from grain wrapped Sapelle, that includes the doors, and is lined with Maple. All plastic was removed, save one small piece, and replaced with either wood, metal, or glass. The handle of the brewer was replaced, as were the handles of the brushes. They were turned out of some Black Walnut. It stands 16.5 inches high and 12 inches wide. 

All told, it took me about 7 months and there's about $700 worth of equipment and hardware in it BEFORE lumber. Practical? Not at all. Cool to make? Definitely.

While you're at it, don't forget to check out the original. He designed the whole thing from scratch and deserves all the accolades. 

#woodworking #woodworker #campaignfurntiture #coffee #handmade

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

I fell in love with u/dopplegangerofmyself 's coffee chest when he posted it 6 years ago and wanted to someday make a version for myself. After many hours of analyzing the photos he'd posted, drawing it in Sketchup, and then help from the man himself, I was able to set about making it. It still took me 7 months to construct. The outer case is 12.5 x 16.5 x 9, grain wrapped (to include the doors) Sapele.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

I couldn't find a keyhole escutcheon I liked so I made one myself from brass bar stock using my Shapeoko CNC.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest
Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest
Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest
Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

Only one of the timers is actually needed but threes look so much nicer! I removed the glass timers from their original metal frame and made a little dovetailed frame for them. The whole thing is held in place with tiny magnets and the sand timer has to be removed for the bean boxes to come up and out.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

Partly due to a mistake, partly because I like the look, I chose to make little wooden pencil style boxes for the whole beans. A little finger slot at the bottom lets you push the boxes up to remove them from a slot at the top. I left the inside of the boxes unfinished to not effect the taste of the beans.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

This area was the most fun to organize and layout. I obviously pulled heavily from the original but wanted to combine the grounds scoop and the wooden stirrer into one item. I designed it in Fusion 360 and carved it out on my cnc. The scoop is calculated to hold 25ml and the handle is thin but flat, perfect for stirring the grounds and scraping the side of the bowl while you brew.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

The first time I've ever lined anything with felt. The slots were cut on the cnc and felt outlines cut on a friend's Cricut. There was still plenty of hand cutting and gluing to be done though.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

The top drawer is where I keep the cloth filters plus extras. The maple piece is a foldable stand, based on the Roubo bookstand, to hold the upper bowl while it's not in use. It's a good concept but didn't come out great so there aren't good pictures of it here.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

Little demitasse cups. According to the original maker, these little 5 oz cups are a typical serving size for coffee in Japan. Serendipitous since the brewer and the recipient of the chest are both from there.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest
Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

A tin for the denatured alcohol that goes in the burner. There should be a little bar of chocolate in the slot to the left but it was long since eaten.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

Roll that beautiful bean footage!

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest
Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

The grinder was removed from its original base and I made a new one for it. The little drawer is held in by little magnets.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

Alcohol burner and the match safe.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

It's by no means a fast process. It takes about 25 minutes to get a cup of coffee if you only use what is in the chest.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

Once the water comes to a light boil, you insert the upper bowl that contains the grounds. The pressure forces the water up the tube into the upper bowl and mixes with the grounds. The timer is set and the coffee steeps for two minutes.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest
Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

Once the coffee has steeped, removing the flame allows the lower bowl to immediately begin cooling, which draws the coffee back down through a filter in the upper bowl.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

Voila! coffee for four! (or 0.25 hospital nurses)

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

Sweet cuppa Joe.

Photo of Campaign Style Coffee Chest

Gotta clean up! All plastic handles were removed and replaced with walnut. It was my first time playing on a lathe!

5 comments

Oh my gosh, I'm speechless. This chest is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing, now i'm going to go look at all of the fine details I missed the first couple of times I looked at the photos.

@Sean  said:

Oh my gosh, I'm speechless. This chest is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing, now i'm going to go look at all of the fine details I missed the first couple of times I looked at the photos.

Wow, thanks so much Sean! Happy to share on your site. 

Great work I love campaign chests! Yours is better than the the one you modelled it after.

You can use your Cedar on a cigar campaign chest for your next project. 

@WoodGate  said:

Great work I love campaign chests! Yours is better than the the one you modelled it after.

You can use your Cedar on a cigar campaign chest for your next project. 

Haha, I’m actually working on a humidor style project next, I think, and was planning on incorporating spanish cedar on the inside. It won’t actually be a humidor but I love the look of them. 

As someone that does partake in the occasional cigar, I suggest you incorporate the below into the humidor instead of the traditional humidor humidifier. Also suggest the humidity/temp be viewable from the outside. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QCAGM0 

You need to be signed in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join now

6