Grannie's Cedar Chest

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Project by Roz posted 08-27-2011 01:35 AM 2240 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This Cedar chest made of Eastern Red Cedar was my mother’s and also was the first furniture project I ever attempted. I was about 20 years old then.

The old chest has been to a lot of places with me but started life in a prison. I am told it was originally made by a man learning woodworking in prison after having stolen a car in the 1930’s. The country was suffering from through the Great Depression and he was trying to raise money to feed his children. In those days it was an embarrassment to have a family member in prison so the wife quickly sold this and four other pieces to a teenaged girl for $4.00 each. This piece is the only survivor and now it is headed to a new home with my niece, if she wants it.

I cleaned 30 years of grime of the original Tongue oil finish with lacquer thinner, gave the entire thing a coat of lemon oil and finished it off with a couple of good coats of finish wax.
I receintly read some discussion about using wax as a finnish. This old chest is a good example of how and where I might apply a wax finish.
I used Minwax Finish Wax for this one. The entire freshen up took about 3 hours.
I sometimes add a coat of Black Bison was to produce a higher sheen, but this time I did not think it was needed.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

7 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4218 days

#1 posted 08-27-2011 02:23 AM

I really like a piece with a story, Roz. I hope this one stays in your family for many more generations.

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

View sras's profile


4799 posts in 3129 days

#2 posted 08-27-2011 02:29 AM

You might want to print out a copy of this story and tape it to the bottom. Could be a good way to keep an interesting bit of history from being lost years from now.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Roz's profile


1699 posts in 3786 days

#3 posted 08-27-2011 02:37 AM

Thanks Charlie. Good idea Sras! I will do that, thanks.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View peteg's profile


4287 posts in 2823 days

#4 posted 08-27-2011 11:41 PM

Nice restore Terry, you know I often wonder how some of you guys feel when doing a refurb’ job like this one, do you have thoughts as to the stories , overheard secrets that these pieces could tell about your family, do they hold any special signifiance ? Interesting :))

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Roz's profile


1699 posts in 3786 days

#5 posted 08-28-2011 03:06 AM

yeah Pete, I think about the places these old pieces have been the the lives of the people they touched.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2667 days

#6 posted 08-28-2011 03:32 AM

Nice of you to restore this chest with loving care !
This will extend the live of it and be appreciated by future generations.


-- Kiefer

View STL's profile


68 posts in 2832 days

#7 posted 08-30-2011 11:26 AM

Nice job and wonderful history; thanks for sharing!

-- Dan Siggers, Alabama,

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