Blanket chest: mahogany, cherry, and cedar

  • Advertise with us
Project by AaronK posted 06-19-2010 03:11 PM 5243 views 11 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Built as a second anniversary gift for my lady – it’s something to put the cotton in.

Mahogany was at least 50 year old reclaimed trim, so it’s full of nail holes – and cracks, which i discovered too late. Cherry is locally grown air dried. cedar is closet lining from the big box. Mahogany is all 3/4” stock, cherry panels are 3/8”, rabbetted to fit in 1/4” grooves. Cedar is 1/4”. Overall dimensions are about 42”x18”x20”. Construction is floating tenons, pinned on the outside with 1/4” cherry dowel, inside with 1/8” dowels that go half-way through so as not to show on the outside. Vertical stiles in the panels are joined to the rails with dowels. top is breadboarded and battened because I noticed it was starting to curve quite a bit. Lumber was finished by hand planing or sanding to 220, several coats of homemade wiping oil-varnish blend, more sanding, and paste wax rubbed in with steel wool.

Lots of firsts for me in this one: glueing up wide panels, breadboarding, bookmatching, frame/panel, and dealing with hinges. It was also my first experience with interlocked grain… it looks nice, but it’s impossible to plane. I hated resorting to sandpaper, but using my standard bench planes there was no other way. I did the bookmatch resawing on the table saw – not too scary, just time consuming! the frame/panel aspect was… something i dont want to do again with curved stiles and panels. yikes, that was an exasperating time. hinges went really well – did the mortises by hand and had no problem with alignment at all.

overall I’m happy with the design. Before I even started I was already bored with a rectilinear design for the panels, and the figure in the cherry seemed to call for its frame to follow it. I ended up with what is to me a nice balance of shaker-like simplicity with a slight contemporary twist. I made an incredible number of mistakes though – e.g. I had originally wanted the top to extend about 2” on each side, but ran into limitations in the stock. also some of the dimensions made assembly at different stages a little difficult – never put a batten in line with a hinge like that – it makes it hard tofit a screwdriver in! but anyway, it’s all done now and I just hope it doesnt fall apart when the first blanket is put inside. This cabinetry type of construction is what I always had in mind that I wanted to do, and it’s satisfying to finally have done it. onward! :-)

15 comments so far

View DrewM's profile


176 posts in 2875 days

#1 posted 06-19-2010 03:27 PM

Great work, I really like he bookmatched figured cherry in the panel. I think the nails holes of the mahogany add character and would make a good conversation piece.

-- Drew, Delaware

View CharlieM1958's profile


16272 posts in 4095 days

#2 posted 06-19-2010 03:36 PM

Drop-dead gorgeous! Like Drew said… lots of character.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 2927 days

#3 posted 06-19-2010 03:38 PM

Thanks for posting all the details, including the trials and tribulations along the way. I love reading about the details of the project.

Nice job in incorporating new techniques for yourself into the project as well.

I like the extra little detail of following the arched grain of the bookmatched cherry on the front. It gives it a “little something extra,” in my opinion.

I think you did a great job of showing off that wood, both in the way you laid it out, and in how you finished it all.

This is certainly a beauty!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View swirt's profile


2508 posts in 2848 days

#4 posted 06-19-2010 03:55 PM


-- Galootish log blog,

View atceric's profile


54 posts in 2900 days

#5 posted 06-19-2010 04:00 PM

Very nice. Can you post a pic of the top and inside?

View a1Jim's profile


116815 posts in 3453 days

#6 posted 06-19-2010 04:50 PM

Great chest fantastic build and super wood choices.

-- Custom furniture

View skeeter's profile


233 posts in 3217 days

#7 posted 06-19-2010 05:04 PM

pretty pretty pretty I like the cherry very nice.

-- My philosophy: Somewhere between Norm and Roy

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 2997 days

#8 posted 06-19-2010 05:22 PM

I too think that nail holes in the mahogany adds character. As for it holding together, I see no problem, in fact I was looking at one of my first projects, I made every mistake posible with cross grain gluing and such, and it seems to be holding up solid for over 20 years (but ugly as hell).

I like the battens, and on the breadboard ends I like how you angled them. Overall a very nice looking blanket chest with a nice finish to it.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View TreeBones's profile


1827 posts in 3899 days

#9 posted 06-19-2010 06:12 PM

View lobro4's profile


203 posts in 3089 days

#10 posted 06-19-2010 07:07 PM

What all of them said. Great work.

-- Rock Chalk Jayhawk Go KU!!

View AaronK's profile


1498 posts in 3341 days

#11 posted 06-19-2010 08:45 PM

thanks all for the nice comments. some more pics, as requested:

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3267 days

#12 posted 06-19-2010 10:05 PM

You should be proud! Very very special, thanks for sharing!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View sandt38's profile


166 posts in 2784 days

#13 posted 06-20-2010 04:43 AM

Looks amazing. I don’t understand why mahogany gets stained all the time, it is such a beautiful wood when oiled or polyed. I love the way you left it open, and I love how the cherry compliments the mahogany. That is a beautiful figure in the center panel. Just beautiful.

That is a fine box. I am sure your lady will be ecstatic.

-- Got Wood? --- Somewhere along the way the people in Washington forgot that they are there to represent the people, not to rule them.

View AaronK's profile


1498 posts in 3341 days

#14 posted 07-07-2010 09:03 PM

yeah, i dont know why you’d stain mahogany either. The stock that I used for this was actually originally PAINTED, if you can imagine.

and yeah, that center panel is great. I remember seeing the curly figure in the rough board and snatching it for something like this. It was too good to leave as one piece, so I figured i’d learn how to mill bookmatched pieces just for it.

I also like the way the two woods work together. I like the idea of using different species, but I find high-contrast combinations like walnut+maple too glaring and like ones more like this… cherry+walnut is another good one.

View Gator's profile


382 posts in 3552 days

#15 posted 07-26-2010 05:18 AM

Very nice work…. well done..!!

-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics