One of a Kind Blanket Chest

This is the second major Christmas present I made for Sarah this last year.blanketchest

(Note: Since we are married, we refer to it as a blanket chest and not a Hope Chest.)

The Carcase

The carcase is built out of plywood with maple on one side and birch on the other. I bought the plywood at Home Depot for about $40, and I only used one sheet. I dug through their pile and found a sheet with some fiddle back on the maple skin.

The carcase measures 36″ long, 22″ high, and 18″ deep. It’s important to keep the chest to the right size. I have seen at least two homemade chests that are too large . The woodworkers mistakenly assumed that 24 x 48″ is the way to go since those are easy measurements. Can I say bulky. I usually design all of my furniture to middle numbers — 3 1/2 feet instead of 4 and 18 inches instead of 24 — since I find this more pleasing to the eye.

The Lid

The lid sports curly maple, walnut, and lyptus veneers. I bought a big chunk of curly maple from a company called All Righteous Woods.

The walnut was scrap and makes up the small diamond in the center. I bought the lyptus from a local lumber yard, and used it for the border.

This was my first attempt making veneers, and they turned out great — thick, straight, and attractive. To cut the veneers, I used a bandsaw to resaw the wood. The veneers are about 1/8″ thick, a thickness that you won’t find commercially. I lacked a vacuum clamp, so to ensure the boards stayed in their proper place, I glued one half down at a time. I stacked a pile of weights on the top to hold the veneers steady while drying.

You will also notice that I book-matched the curly maple together. This added to the geometric design of the lid and carcass, as well as tied the veneer pieces together.

Veneer Lid

Detail of lid

The Interior

I installed aromatic cedar in the inside. My grandpa had a log of cedar lying around and let me resaw it to the thickness needed. It had a deep, purple color and a rich, sweet smell.

The Trim and Details

For the trim, I used the left over lyptus. For the curves, I traced a couple of cans and then cut the wood on the bandsaw. I also ripped a thin strip of maple to tack along the lid edge and top of the carcase to hide the plywood edge.

The Finish

I went out on a limb and tried a completely new finish — an antique maple affect. I followed the steps found on the Association of Restorers website and also referred to my book, Great Wood Finishes by Jewitt (Taunton Press). It was an labor-intensive finish, but the results were worth it.

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~ by Clearwater Hackle on January 9, 2005.

3 Responses to “One of a Kind Blanket Chest”

  1. Thanks for the gift. I love it!

  2. cool veneers, man. Got any more of that maple?

  3. How much do you think you could sell it for? Just curious

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