The present dictates of fashion require that every bed these days be covered in a multitude of pillows; God forbid there not be sufficient padding for one to lie their head upon. However, we men are simple creatures. One pillow, or two at the most, does it for us. This of course presents a quandary: where do we put all the stupid little throw pillows that get in the way of the useful pillows? The good people of Pottery Barn of Ethan Allen would have you buy a $600 blanket chest to stash these fripperies in. Good idea, wrong price.
I’d managed to avoid confronting this pillow crisis until my parents bought new furniture for their retirement home. The king bed inevitably brought with it a veritable mountain of pillows.
Of course, the kindly saleswoman at Tyson’s in Black Mountain didn’t see fit to recommend a chest to stash the pillows in. Fast forward two years and my Dad, fed up with constantly shifting the pillows around, commissions me (as the sole woodworker in the family) to make a blanket chest to match the bed. Secretly, I of course relish the opportunity to spend other people’s money to create sawdust with. It was fairly obvious that the proper design was going to be a beadboard blanket chest. It needed to be big enough to not look ridiculous at the end of a massive bed, but small enough to fit in an SUV for the eight hour drive to North Carolina. Of course, it also needs to function as a bench so you can sit down and put your shoes on.
I settled on about 42” x 18” x 19” as the proper dimensions. It’ll have beadboard on the front and sides, with a plain panel in the back. Finish ply for the bottom, but everything else in cherry to match the bed. I might line it with cedar, haven’t decided yet (probably depends on cost). I’ve never done any turning before, so the feet could be an adventure, but if worst comes to worst I can buy some pre-made ones. I’ve designed it for mortise and tenon joints for the posts and rails, but I do have a pocket screw jig, so I might wuss out and go that route. In the past, I’ve had a bear of a time making mortises on my Shopsmith.
The lid is the one element that I’m unhappy with. At present its just three boards glued and biscuited, but I’m thinking I’ll either change it to have breadboard ends, or perhaps switch to more of a door panel construction. If I do the panel I can save a little on lumber by having cherry plywood for the center. As for the lid hardware, some kind of overlap hinge will be necessary, and I’ll likely add some lid supports to hold it open at around 75°.