Cherry-stained poplar cedar-lined blanket chest

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Project by juanabee posted 01-25-2011 11:13 PM 6487 views 6 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last year my daughter-in-law requested a cedar-lined blanket chest for Christmas. Being a rookie woodworker, I swallowed hard and went to work. I came up with one she liked (see project 1 in this gallery). Now my daughter and other five daugher-in-laws all want one too. I admit to being too thick to see this coming. But, what the heck, their smile and the look in their eyes when you give it to them is worth just about anything. I will be making five more of these.

This one is made of poplar, stained to look like cherry. I used the formulation by Steve Mickley I found at I hadn’t tried this before, and wouldn’t recommend it again for projects with a lot of exposed end grain. Problem is the end grain soaks in the dye and splotches the flat grain all along the end grain edge. This is especially a problem with the raised panels. If I were to do this again I would stain the end grain first, sand off the splotches then stain the flat grain being careful not to touch the end grain edges. As it was, this was an excercise in sanding and touching up. I wasn’t satisfied with the final finish, but my DIL doesn’t seem to mind.

-- "Life's nonsense pierces us with strange relation." Wallace Stevens

6 comments so far

View shopmania's profile


698 posts in 2268 days

#1 posted 01-25-2011 11:25 PM

Looks good! Very nice build. the raised panels look great!

-- Tim, Myrtle Beach, Just one more tool, that's all I need! :)

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 2204 days

#2 posted 01-26-2011 12:13 AM

I’d say you have a success, it’s good looking and very functional, I bet the cedar smells great, You have some lucky relatives, what a nice thing for you to do, I commend you, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View Dusty56's profile


11781 posts in 2773 days

#3 posted 01-26-2011 03:33 AM

I like everything except the stain , but that is just me . If you value your time , nothing compares to real Cherry with a simple , natural oil finish on it versus messing around with a million steps to try to disguise a wannabe wood to look like Cherry. If you add up all of your time involved , how much would it cost to use the real thing ? Cherry darkens naturally with age and becomes more beautiful as well. You don’t even have to use top of the line graded Cherry to end up with a great project in the end : )
Poplar is a great wood for projects that are going to be painted : ) Ask me how I know ! LOL
Keep up the great work as well as making all of the Ladies in your life HAPPY !!

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View lightweightladylefty's profile


2975 posts in 2798 days

#4 posted 01-26-2011 04:02 AM

No wonder all the women in the family want one, too! You did a great job. Thanks for sharing.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2655 posts in 2612 days

#5 posted 01-26-2011 04:12 AM

juanabee, A really great looking chest! To help control some of the soaking in the end grain parts sand them down to at least 400 grit to seal the grain before anything goes on. The long grain can done as normal.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Redford1947's profile


35 posts in 1896 days

#6 posted 02-02-2011 05:25 PM

I saw something in a diy mag that stated you cannot use cedar in a chest anywhere near stain or poly. In other words, the sides, and bottom side of the top cannot be stained or poly’d. Reason was the cedar emits some kind of vapor that softens the poly making it stick to clothes and so forth. Your chest is beautiful yet I noticed the bottom side of the lid is stained.

Has anyone heard of this? I am just about ready to stain my chest and apply the cedar strips to the bottom.


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