After my daughter received her letterbox she asked for a blanket/hope chest. I showed her some magazine pictures and she wanted something real simple, sort of minimalist. She also told me it had to be made of cherry.
In a recent “Wood” magazine there was a cedar-lined blank chest. I used the general dimensions of 40” wide, 16” deep and about 20” tall, and followed the article in completing the inside of the chest. I used unmatched cherry (next time I won’t) but I keep telling myself that unmatched cherry makes the project interesting.
I bought enough cherry to that each row of boards was from the same stock. Four rows of boards, so four different grains and colors. I cut the front and back to size and then jointed the edges and used biscuits. The glue up turned out to be the easiest part of the project.
Now here is where I got into trouble. I did not want butt joints and knew that mitered ends would lead to a difficult assembly process. I bought a 45 degree locking miter bit and used it on test pieces without problem. I built a tall fence for the miter table and off I went. It fit pretty well and I thought it would come together during the glue up. Even using cauls and probably 15 clamps it didn’t turn out as I expected. I tried to round over the corners and that didn’t seem any better. So, I used the suggestions from fellow LumberJock and my buddy Dick Cain and routed a ¼” by ¼” rabbet in each corner. I then used some walnut and voila the corners were satisfactory. Thanks to Dick Cain.
I glued up the feet and cut a 15 degree angel for the inside part of the feet and attached them to the box with glue and pocket screws. The inside was the easy. Cut some cherry stock for top and bottom lining retainers and put a ¼” rabbet to hold the cedar lining. Then make a tray that slides on the top lining retainers. I then added some cleats on the underside of the lid to allow for wood movement.
The finish is natural Danish Oil. There is no protective poly sealing the finish. I like the look of the oil and the cherry. Click for pictures.
TIP When installing cedar lining in a chest, do not apply any type of stain, paint, or finish to the lining, inside of the chest, bottom of the lid, tray, and lid contact surfaces. Why? The resins in cedar are similar to those in turpentine, so the oil vapors will soften oil-and water-based stains, paints, and finishes including lacquer, causing clothes and the lid to stick.
This weekend will be great, I will be delivering the chest to my daughter.
-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.