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Pine Blanket Chest (a la Norm Abram)

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Project by Steve Erwin posted 649 days ago 3711 views 7 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Pine Blanket Chest (a la Norm Abram)
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Grandma wanted a blanket chest. Grandma was 85 years old. Grandma gets a blanket chest.

This was the first time I tried to follow someone else’s plan. It’s in The New Yankee Workshop book. I don’t know if it’s because up to this point I had been creating all my projects in SketchUp beforehand or what, but I found following someone else’s instructions incredibly confusing and frustrating.

I ended up making 2 lids for this chest, as my first attempt at breadboard ends was an abysmal failure. I think the crack across the lid was 1/4” at it’s widest point. :) My second lid was done the correct way with unglued / pinned tenons in elongated mortises.

Sadly, Grandma is no longer with us, but I’m glad I didn’t waste any time getting this blanket chest to her when she asked for it. Mom inherited it and keeps it in her living room now, full of the blankets Grandma knitted for us.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born.





12 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2175 days


#1 posted 649 days ago

A great looking Chest I’m sure your grandma loved it.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Dan's profile

Dan

29 posts in 651 days


#2 posted 649 days ago

great job

View basie's profile

basie

47 posts in 662 days


#3 posted 649 days ago

Really nice!!

View maku's profile

maku

23 posts in 649 days


#4 posted 649 days ago

I like your chest. I just made a similar looking one using all aromatic cedar for my son. Can you please explain your comment on how you did your “unglued / pinned tenons in elongated mortises”? Were these used just to hold the breadboards or were these used to hold the planks in between the breadboards? thanks, -mark

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

91 posts in 650 days


#5 posted 649 days ago

@maku:

The joinery method I mentioned is just to hold the breadboard ends on.

Here’s a photo from the web:

Only the center tenon is glued. The outer tenons are left unglued and are pinned in place with a dowel. You can either elongate the outer mortises or elongate the pin holes in the outer tenons. Either option will allow the boards on the tenon side to expand with humidity. Don’t glue those outer pins in place or you defeat the whole purpose.

Here's a video with Glen D. Huey explaining it.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born.

View maku's profile

maku

23 posts in 649 days


#6 posted 649 days ago

Thank you for the info. I didn’t put breadboards on my chest project, but am planning on it on an upcoming one. That video was helpful.

View Milo's profile

Milo

849 posts in 1917 days


#7 posted 649 days ago

I have looked at that project many, MANY times, and have gone back and forth between it and the Fine Woodworking blanket chest. I decided on the FW one because the measurements were so much better. I thought the NYW plans were just to darn hard to follow. HOPEFULLY that will be one of my first projects when I get my new shop built.

Did you find that to be the case?

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

91 posts in 650 days


#8 posted 649 days ago

@Milo: I’m not sure which Fine Woodworking blanket chest you’re referring to, so I can’t recommend one over the other. Norm gets all the credit for being my initial inspiration to pick up woodworking as a hobby, as I’m sure can be said for many a Lumberjock. I’ve watched every New Yankee Workshop episode and some more than a few times, trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could. But in this case, I agree, the plans are poorly written and hard to follow. It was a very frustrating build, but I think part of that had to do with me reading the plans as I was building.

I think it’s really important to take a few steps back and read the entire set of plans before picking up any tools. You kinda really need to understand what you’re doing and how all the steps fit together to make the end product. This is why I prefer to use SketchUp and why I put so much detail into my 3D models. If I can’t build it in SketchUp, then I won’t have a mental image for what I’m trying to accomplish in the woodshop.

I wouldn’t really recommend this blanket chest. It’s not my favorite. It was just the solution to get Grandma a blanket chest as soon as possible for as little money as possible. She insisted on buying the wood and she was on a low income budget, so, knotty yellow pine. (I really don’t like yellow pine. So much pitch. It got all over the tools).

If I was going to make a pine blanket chest again, I’d use eastern white pine and dovetail it like this: But cherry looks so much better :)

My next project is actually a slight modification of this blanket chest from Stickley:

Here’s the Sketchup I made for that project:

The joinery of all 3 of these chests is going to be a lot stronger than the joinery in the NYW Blanket Chest, and personally I think they look a lot nicer. And the softness of the yellow pine doesn’t give me much confidence that it’s going to be around for 100 years. But it’s a perfectly functional blanket chest and a great project for beginner woodworkers to make something in a weekend and quickly feel that sense of accomplishment.

Good luck with your blanket chest. If after you’re finished you don’t like the one you decided to make, make another one :) And another, and another… the scrap pile isn’t going to build itself!

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born.

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

91 posts in 650 days


#9 posted 648 days ago

Ah, I mixed up my pines. This blanket chest was made out of the softer, knotty Eastern White Pine, not Southern Yellow Pine which is the harder pine.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born.

View Willeh's profile

Willeh

228 posts in 937 days


#10 posted 648 days ago

beautiful execution, very well done. This chest is almost identical to one that i’m about 2 days away from finishing!

-- Will, Ontario Canada. "I can do fast, cheap and good, but you can only pick two... "

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

91 posts in 650 days


#11 posted 632 days ago

:) I retract my self-correction. The softer pine is Southern Yellow Pine. The harder pine is Eastern White Pine. I used softer Southern Yellow for this, and was disappointed with it.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#12 posted 599 days ago

Wow, really enjoyed the doweling lesson. Great information, and a great chest too!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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