New Yankee Blanket Chest #1: Starting the chest

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Blog entry by HungryTermite posted 01-31-2010 08:49 AM 4429 reads 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of New Yankee Blanket Chest series Part 2: Rough cutting »

I’ve been telling my girlfriend I would make her a blanket chest for quite a while. Now that I have a tablesaw I figured there was no time like the present to get the project started. I have owned a copy of “The New Yankee Workshop” book for a really long time so I thought I would make the blanket chest from that book. It’s simple, has joinery that isn’t too complicated, and presents what I think is a good first project to learn how to set up and use my saw.

I am sort of compulsive about modeling projects in CAD even though I had all the dimensions from the book. What I found was that some of the dimensions in the book were wrong. Also, it really helps me to visualize each piece when I can see them all come together like that. It also lets me get an idea of what the project will look like with the finish on it. I am using cheap pine 1x stock since we plan to paint it. I let my girlfriend pick out the color and currently she is thinking about a bright blue. The bottom is going to be lined with Cedar planks used for lining closets.

I have rough cut all the pieces for the body but ran out of straight wood before I could cut pieces for the top. I had enough wood, but a recent water problem in the garage (another blog post) cause a few of the pieces to warp too badly to use for this project. I think I am just going to get one of the laminated pine panels and save myself the trouble of having to glue one up. The cost isn’t too different.

Tomorrow I plan to rip all the boards to width and see if I can start cross cutting them to length if I have the time.

Here is a video of my CAD model on a simulated turntable. I need to figure out the lighting so the colors don’t change as the model rotates, but it didn’t come out too bad.

-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.

11 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3605 days

#1 posted 01-31-2010 08:55 AM

Looks workable

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3093 days

#2 posted 01-31-2010 01:04 PM

Looks nice. I would consider plywood for the top since you are painting it, as this will provide more stability. Attach solid wood strips around the edges, and you can even do the breadboard edge for a nice appearance if you want. This will also be more durable than pine, which is pretty soft for the top if it will be subject to any abuse.

-- PaulMayer,

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 3282 days

#3 posted 01-31-2010 03:59 PM

Hopefully you got to see the video of this episode. It was on the NYW website last week.

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View Uncle_Salty's profile


183 posts in 3101 days

#4 posted 01-31-2010 06:36 PM

I have made about 10 of these blanket chests. After the first couple, I quit making the panels in the front, back and sides out of solid wood, and began substituting 1/4” ply. No sacrifice in strength, and it decreases the weight substantially. In addition, I also use the dado head to cut all the groves for the plywood panels, and use the dedicated mortiser for the longer mortises where the stiles and rails come together. Much stronger, faster, better, more accurate.

Oh yeah… I only make out of oak with aromatic cedar lining on the bottom.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3756 days

#5 posted 02-01-2010 02:35 AM

Your story sounds almost identical to mine. If you want to ask any questions about my experiences, feel free. here is the one i built. My first woodworking project.
Click for details

View Jason's profile


659 posts in 3536 days

#6 posted 02-02-2010 10:16 PM

My wife wants a hope chest and I have a copy of the New Yankee Workshop book. For practice I made a toy box for my oldest. I modified a few dimensions, but followed the book since I didn’t know what I was doing.


-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3701 days

#7 posted 02-03-2010 12:11 AM

Looks good!

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3756 days

#8 posted 02-04-2010 07:57 PM

Thanks for the comments on my project. I did the breadboard edges that run the full length by accident. I don’t think I really understood how I was supposed to do it (I glued the entire length and I guess you are only supposed to glue a part of it to allow for the crossgrain joint movement). I do worry that it will self destruct due to wood movement someday, but oh well.

Like I said, I learned a lot as I went through the process. If you have questions, let me know and I’ll try to help. I looked at your other project that you posted and you are certainly more than capable of doing this one.

View ScienceNerd's profile


24 posts in 3053 days

#9 posted 02-13-2010 05:50 AM

Hi, HungryTermite… Looks good! I’m planning a similar piece for my wife’s upcoming birthday. I’m curious about some details of the panels, though. Are they 1/4”? Do they sit in grooves like a standard cabinet panel? And are you gluing them up like any other edge-glued panel (seems tough if 1/4”), or are you just using plywood? Thanks!

View HungryTermite's profile


90 posts in 3077 days

#10 posted 02-13-2010 07:45 PM

I am hopefully going to cut the panels this weekend and will get some pictures posted up in the next sequence of this blog which will show the details of the panels and how they look when cut. I am making the panels out of a 1×12 cut to size and then rabbeting the edges down to 1/4 inch. Then they sit in 1/4” grooves like a standard cabinet. I dont need to glue anything up since they are from one piece. This is the way Norm designed it so I am sticking to the plans to learn how to do it but if I ever make another one I am just going to go with a piece of 1/4” plywood and call it a day to make it easier. It would look the same from the outside since I am painting it. If you are not painting it I guess it would depend on what kind of veneer I could get on the plywood.

-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.

View Uncle_Salty's profile


183 posts in 3101 days

#11 posted 02-14-2010 02:00 AM

HungryTermite: Don’t sweat the tongue and groove thing too much. If you get it finished (with several coats) pretty quickly, it won’t absorb nearly as much moisture and you should be okay. In addition, if it is placed in a relatively climate controlled area, you may not have enough movement to 1) destroy the joint 2)warp/cup/bow the top.

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