The Kist (or blanket chest)

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Project by lethentymill posted 07-29-2008 11:23 AM 4361 views 10 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As I tell my evening class students, by the time you have made a kist, you are well on the way to being a furniture maker! This is project 7 in our furniture making course at Lethenty Mill – and it is a pretty demanding one.

Traditional kists always had a lock, as papers and personal possessions were stored in them. They often had a string attached inside the top for ties. The carrying handles were often blacksmith made in wrought iron and painted black.

More recently, kists have been used for storing blankets and are called “blanket chests” as a result. When I started making furniture, I restored quite a few of these. Some of them “scrubbed up” very nicely, despite unpromising beginnings.

The kist pictured breaks from tradition in two ways; traditionally, tops were always nailed on and then punched and filled as kists were utility items. I suggest that the top is dowelled so that the fixings are hidden. I also suggest that a stay is fitted to prevent the top from falling back. Most of the kists I have restored have been damaged by this in the past and have been repaired in many ways!

The dimensions of the kist in the photographs are as follows:
530mm (H)
522mm (W)
896mm (L).

Our kits and courses website, also has a little more information on this project (go to the intermediate kits and courses section).

-- Allan Fyfe, Lethenty Mill Furniture,

9 comments so far

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3764 days

#1 posted 07-29-2008 12:39 PM

Nice blanket chest. Thank you for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4243 days

#2 posted 07-29-2008 07:02 PM

Beautiful chest, Will make a nice family heirloom.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4296 days

#3 posted 07-29-2008 07:07 PM

A very nice chest, and great craftsmanship. I’ve never heard of that name (kist) before, so I looked it up.

My Mac dictionary called it a coffin.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View lethentymill's profile


61 posts in 3606 days

#4 posted 07-30-2008 10:43 AM

Hello Dick
A coffin can be a kist – but kist has a wider meaning, chest or box – so a kist is not always coffin ! I hope they give me something a bit longer when my time is up and it won’t need the drawers.
Regards Allan

-- Allan Fyfe, Lethenty Mill Furniture,

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4102 days

#5 posted 07-30-2008 08:32 PM


View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 3713 days

#6 posted 07-31-2008 09:28 PM

Beautiful chest

-- jeanmarc manosque france

View joebazooka's profile


114 posts in 3180 days

#7 posted 10-15-2009 11:03 PM

I love the way you have placed the draws under the long box for private document storage. The grain of the pine is really beautiful with the clear coating on it. I wish I had the plans I would give it a try an if it came out half as nice I would be happy. keep up the good work.

-- Robert-maine

View jim1953's profile


2735 posts in 3839 days

#8 posted 10-15-2009 11:13 PM

Great Lookin Job

-- Jim, Kentucky

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#9 posted 10-18-2009 06:09 AM

Looks good Allan nice job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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