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What to do with a cedar blanket chest

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Blog entry by MichaelT77 posted 711 days ago 4385 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a one-man handyman service, and a customer of mine just gave me an old cedar blanket chest (trunk?). It’s about 50 years old, and the lady just didn’t want it in her house anymore. So, I brought it home. She told me that it was cedar-lined, but I discovered that it’s actually solid 3/4” cedar. Made by Lane.

It’s not very attractive as is, but I’m thinking about what I can do with it. I could just give it way, or I could break it apart and make something else, or I could refinish it. Now that I’ve discovered that it’s solid cedar, I’m leaning towards refinishing it.

I can run the lid across my tablesaw to remove the French whatever curvy edge, and remove the drawer handles and the rest of the trim, including the legs and the French whatever curvy apron. That’ll leave me with a box (41” x 17” x 14” deep). That cream color with gold trim doesn’t do much for me, so I’d probably use CitrusStrip to remove that.

Then … what?

I’m looking for suggestions.

Don’t worry about all that crap in the foyer; my wife’s out of town for a week.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA



9 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

1783 posts in 825 days


#1 posted 711 days ago

Any idea what is under the paint? If good solid wood, could be stripped, stained or clear finished. Also, you can recut the lid for a more straight edge, then maybe router trim it. I can’t see the legs very well, but from what I see, I think I’d change them. This could probably be turned into a nice Shaker design. The box looks good, why tear it apart, just convert it’s appearance.
Just my thoughts.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10698 posts in 1640 days


#2 posted 711 days ago

Im with old tool on this one. Scrape that paint off and see whats underneath. If its latex it should come off pretty easy.

Or if you really dont like it i would suggest a secret santa item for someone who may not be fortunate enough to have a christmas, channakuh, or the like. You will be repaid in spades.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Don W's profile

Don W

14891 posts in 1201 days


#3 posted 711 days ago

I’d get it appraised before I touched it. A quick search on eaby says some of these lane chest are worth $350 and up. If that’s original paint, and you strip it, you’ve ruined the value, if it has any.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View MichaelT77's profile

MichaelT77

111 posts in 746 days


#4 posted 711 days ago

Don, thank you. that’s interesting. I did a search, and found an ehow website with the code for figuring out the serial number on the bottom of the chest. Apparently, this chest was built on 4/15/64. It’s certainly not brand new looking.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View MichaelT77's profile

MichaelT77

111 posts in 746 days


#5 posted 710 days ago

So, I took my photos to an antique mall this morning, and had three shop owners take a look. Basically, I could get about $50 for the blanket chest. So, I’ve cleared myself to start working on reshaping and refinishing.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

1783 posts in 825 days


#6 posted 710 days ago

Sounds good. Just be sure to post pictures of the new chest. I’m curious about the type go wood under that paint.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1327 days


#7 posted 710 days ago

I’d strip that badboy and see what’s under there. If you don’t care for the curves, you could knock them off. The interior looks to be in very good shape. If you’re bent on reclaiming it, you could resaw it and line something else with it. I really like it.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Don W's profile

Don W

14891 posts in 1201 days


#8 posted 710 days ago

glad to hear its not worth much. Wait, that didn’t sound right! :-)

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View huff's profile (online now)

huff

2801 posts in 1919 days


#9 posted 693 days ago

Michael, Sorry I just found your post and hope it’s not too late to respond. First off; Lane is very well known for a good quality cedar chest. Second; The only reason those shops offered $50.00 is they would put it on their floor for $150 like it is. So it does have some value. Since you’ve decided to keep it and work on it, I would recommend you strip it first before you do any cutting or anything. Try to protect the interior from getting a lot of paint smeared around and protect the lane label and fact sheet on the interior. (that will always add value to your piece). Once you have it stripped you may find that it has a veneer over the solid cedar wood. Lane did that on a lot of their cedar chest, but since this one is painted in a french provincial, I’m not sure if they would have or not. If it’s solid cedar and no veneer, then just using a clear finish will be a great way to go. The cedar has aged for the past 45 to 50 years, so any cutting on it will expose “new” cedar and you may have to work on those edges to get them to blend with the rest of the cedar. Don’t do anything with the interior as far as finish, just clean. If it’s a veneer, it will probably be like a mahogany or walnut veneer, but again, since it was originally painted, it’s hard to say. The veneer can be stained and clear coated and would be beautiful. The reason I suggested that you strip it first before you do any cutting on it, you may find that once you remove the paint and the hardware, the overall style of the chest will look a lot different and you may like it. Over the years, I’ve refinished a number of lane cedar chest for both customers and a few I bought for a couple dollars and refinished and resold myself. I never had a problem selling a lane cedar chest and made a good dollar. The reason I wanted to comment on yours is that is reminded me of one a bought a number of years ago at an auction. It looked almost like yours, but the paint was in horrible condition and nobody wanted to bid on it. I ended up getting it for five dollars, took it home, stripped it down ( had a veneer underneath), stained and finished it. It went from a french provincial look to a traditional look, just by getting rid of the paint and ugly hardware. If I remember right, I sold it for $225.00.
Good luck with your project and hope you will post some pictures when you get it finshed.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

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