Blanket Chest - SYP, Cedar, and Iron

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Project by mstenner posted 01-24-2011 01:25 AM 1744 views 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had purchased this Southern Yellow Pine for another project that got canceled, so I was looking for something to do with it. My wife suggested a blanket chest, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.


The exterior dovetails are router-cut, but the ones on the “shelf” are hand-cut… my first on a real project and I’m quite satisfied with them. The bottoms of the chest itself and the sliding shelf are aromatic cedar. The chest bottom is ship-lapped, whereas the shelf bottom is a single glued-up panel. The runners for the sliding shelf have a decorative curve on the bottom side which was really just a silly detail. The lid has breadboard ends with a long tongue and three mortise & tenons. Each M&T is drawbored with glue on the frontmost. My only real screwup is that the lid stay screws go through the middle mortise and tenon, preventing them from floating. Hopefully, that’s close enough to the front that it it’ll be OK. The feet have glued-in blockes on the inside so that the part you see is about 1/16” off the ground.


I got the awesome hinges from Nathan’s Forge. My wife figured that if it was going to have cool hinges, they should be on the outside where they could be seen. His normal hinges are bent for placement on the inside, but he made some custom for me. No extra charge… just no returns. I was thrilled. The handles are from Van Dyke’s restorers, and I was a little disappointed with the quality. They needed to be cleaned up a lot, and the black finish came off. I had to fully clean them and blue them with gun blue. I gave them a thin coat of shellac for a lovely final finish. The stay is from Whitechapel. The stay itself is a beast and could probably take 100 times as much force as the screws can. Unfortunately, it requires flat-head screws and it came with pan-head. I had to order some unplated flat-heads and blue them as well.


The finish is boiled linseed oil on the outside, followed by shellac on all of the SYP (inside and out). The cedar got no finish. I was worried that the BLO popped the grain too much on an already-in-your-face wood, but I’m getting used to it.


This was a fun project in which I did many things for the first time: panel glue-ups, hand-cut dovetails, BLO, breadboard ends, drawboring, not to mention that it’s my first chest. I’m very pleased with the result. Now, on to the next project!

-- -Michael

5 comments so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3060 days

#1 posted 01-24-2011 02:07 AM

As someone from Alabama, I am particularly fond of Southern Yellow Pine. I don’t like it for just anything, but for the right project and done well it makes for some really striking pieces. This is a really nice chest you have built. I have been playing with a similar design for a tool chest and had not decided on a wood just yet, but you may have just helped me to decide. Thanks for posting.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1229 posts in 4000 days

#2 posted 01-24-2011 03:54 AM


Great looking box. Design was yours? How long did it take? The design and construction both are wonderful. A real keepsake! Looks like your have the woodworking bug now!

-- Bob A in NJ

View Robsshop's profile


907 posts in 2976 days

#3 posted 01-24-2011 07:49 AM

Very nicely done, Your first chest has turned out great. I built my first one with many details and experiences much like Your own, I have not yet made the slider shelf for mine but will soon put it together.Perhaps I will follow Your lead and try My hand at those hand cut tails ! Once again Good looking project, thanks for sharing !

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View mstenner's profile


57 posts in 3155 days

#4 posted 01-24-2011 04:12 PM

Thanks, all.

Bob, yes, the design was mine. I try pretty hard to learn techniques and styles without looking at specific designs or plans. I enjoy the process of design and figuring out the necessary issues. I find that if I look at a detailed plan it kinda spoils it for me. I did that with my bed (which I have yet to post). I found it in a bed book and then agonized for a couple of months because I just couldn’t think of anything I liked better than the plan in the book.

It was a probably a few months, start to finish, but there were Christmas cutting boards and other distractions thrown in. Maybe I should start logging my shop time… on second thought, I might not want to know!

-- -Michael

View mpmitche's profile


428 posts in 2977 days

#5 posted 02-02-2014 12:33 AM

Great looking chest and I really like the hinges on the outside.

-- Mike, Western New York

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