Cherry Blanket Chest

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Project by MJCD posted 12-15-2012 05:06 PM 2496 views 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

13 comments so far

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#1 posted 12-15-2012 05:18 PM

This is a Cherry Blanket Chest I made during August/Sept. 2012 – active members may recognize these pictures from responses I’ve made to other members on their individual Forum questions – especially on Torsion Hinges and Blanket Chest design.

Some of the design elements were to NOT install a lock mechanism, to include soft-close hinges, and make it less than air-tight (even if a significant weight has been placed on the top – for as much as we strongly discourage the practice, my 6 year-old granddaughter often hides in the Chest, and uses it as her special reading place … Obviously, well-outside design criteria (weight support for the bottom), and designing-in as much safety as possible.

I mention these items because when we build something that a child has access to, we have to assume childish behavior, as well.

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

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#2 posted 12-15-2012 05:30 PM

A good looking chest nice work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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#3 posted 12-15-2012 07:59 PM

very nice. great work.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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#4 posted 12-16-2012 01:03 AM

Very nice chest. How did you finish it? I appreciate your comments about remembering safety for children. As a new grandparent, I have been thinking about that also. The idea of assuring less than airtight is an important reminder. Are you happy with the hinges? Where did you purchase them?

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#5 posted 12-16-2012 01:15 AM

I like the line about childish behavior, I may have to borrow that line in designing things. It is why I worry about flat topped retaining walls and closets too. Nice work.

View MJCD's profile


555 posts in 2513 days

#6 posted 12-16-2012 02:08 AM

Thanks for the kind comments.

To provide some answers:
The finish is Tung Oil, about 5 coats. Cherry is one of those woods which blotches quite a bit, and on this project I wasn’t worried with trying to achieve an even grain-look. The Tung Oil is first flooded onto the parts, then allowed to soak-in (about 2 minutes); then the excess is wiped off. I lightly hand-sanded with Abranet abrasive disks (220 grit) between coats. 0000 steel wool was my favored way to knock-down high points; however, with Steel Wool some of the fibers always breaks-off, and get embedded in the finish, so the Abranet (fabric) was used this time.

The Torsion Hinges (to my knowledge, Rockler is the only place which sells them) have worked well. There are several Forum discussions on these – used on Blanket Chests. My recommendations are to use three (not two) to spread the load on the box edge. Also, Rockler’s calculations are too conservative, and will recommend more hinge strength than you need. I installed a spacer between the lid and the hinge, so that I could use larger and longer screws (stainless steel) than Rockler provides. They are expensive, but they work.

Some of the other design elements are to have a same-plane interior, with the exterior having 3 planes – the Corners stand about 1/8” proud of the stiles & rails, and these stand about 1/8” proud of the panels – the panels’ edges are relieved into the stiles & rails. The bottom is 3/4” plywood, with two coats of Poly; the bottom is supported by a 1” wrap-around ledge, and two cross-members.

If I can provide any additional information, I can address them here, or via a private message.

Thanks, again.

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

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Jim Bennett

17 posts in 2265 days

#7 posted 12-16-2012 04:03 AM

Love the finish. It gives the cherry a rich look that will only get better with time.
I wish I know about these hinges a couple of months ago. I finished a chest in cherry but used a continuous piano hinge. These torsion hinges would have looked nice and safe.

-- Jimmy, Upstate NY in the summer, somewhere south in the winter (on the boat).

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Monte Pittman

29862 posts in 2479 days

#8 posted 12-16-2012 01:24 PM

Very beatitful build. sleek design.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View MJCD's profile


555 posts in 2513 days

#9 posted 12-16-2012 02:06 PM


Interestingly, Norm Abrahms used a piano hinge on his project – I used his plans as my initial reference. I didn’t want to use these hinges, as they didn’t meet my child-safety needs (soft close), and placed many holes in the weakest part of the project – the top edge. If the hinge works loose for some reason, you have a buggered edge. An alternative, if you want to go there, is to place a 1/4” strip around the top (which I’ve done, actually, to hide the spline joinery), and start anew.


-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

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#10 posted 12-21-2012 04:04 AM

Great Lookin Chest

-- Jim, Kentucky

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woodshaver Tony C

6174 posts in 3494 days

#11 posted 12-23-2012 04:52 PM

Very nice Cherry Blanket Chest! I love the look and it being made of Cherry is even better, it’s my favorite wood.
Some people don’t like the sap wood showing and want all hart wood for their build but I like to see a little sap wood, I think it adds to the piece and gives the piece more real wood appetence. Nice job! It’s beautiful!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View MJCD's profile


555 posts in 2513 days

#12 posted 12-24-2012 03:18 AM


Thanks for the kind comments.

While book-matched or similar can be a beautiful look, it can look too symetrical, or too well-planned sometimes: this is from a grandfather to a granddaughter.

Thanks, again.

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

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John Lowell

137 posts in 2123 days

#13 posted 12-31-2012 01:51 PM

Great Chest and the finish came out very well. I used Tung Oil on some outdoor stools. I did three coats, thinking now that I should have done more. Very easy and came out silky smooth.


-- Trying, but lots to learn.....

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