Blanket Chest Interior Help Needed - How Do I Make It Multifuntional?

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Forum topic by MadGerman posted 10-03-2012 07:38 PM 2977 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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41 posts in 2149 days

10-03-2012 07:38 PM

Hi guys. I’m making a blanket chest for my girlfriend for Christmas and need some ideas for the inside of the chest. I’m making it out of walnut, frame and panel construction, and will be lining it with cedar as well as making the floor out of cedar. I know she’ll most likely use the chest for blankets, but will also use it to keep some of her sweaters in it as well as some of the cards and letters I’ve given her.

I am looking for suggestions as to what I can add to the chest to make it fit her needs. I’m leaning towards of leaving the chest completely empty, just lined with cedar as I mentioned, when I give it to her. Then I can offer some suggestions as to what I can add to the chest to make it fit her needs. However, if you guys can give me some heads up I’d appreciate it and feel like I was a step or two ahead of her. Some of the things I was thinking were: 1) adding some adjustable pins near the ends of each side of the chest and putting some thin shelves that she can move up and down to suit her needs; 2) adding a thin edge all around the inside perimeter of the chest and making a nice tray that she can slide from one side to another; 3) making a keepsake box that will fit inside the chest that she can keep cards and letters in.

Most of the chests that I’ve seen are usually filled with blankets, but since she’ll most likely use it to keep sweaters and other items in, I’m struggling with what to put in the inside to make it as functional as possible.

Any help, tips, pictures, suggestions, etc. you guys can offer will be appreciated.


19 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2447 days

#1 posted 10-03-2012 08:58 PM

Leave it plain and empty.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View HorizontalMike's profile


7769 posts in 3000 days

#2 posted 10-03-2012 09:14 PM

Add a lid support. Only you know how heavy the lid is, so you might end up with 2 , or in my case 3 lid supports because of my Wide White Ash Lid (no pun intended) ;-)

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

View bandit571's profile


20743 posts in 2769 days

#3 posted 10-03-2012 09:27 PM

On some of these, i have added a door under the lid. Some chest have a small “box’ near one end, with it’s own lid’ raise that lid to keep the main lid open. Other chests have a lift out tray. It can be as deep, or shallow as you want, it can even be less than full length, so one can slide the tray to one end, or the other…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2310 days

#4 posted 10-03-2012 09:33 PM

I have one with a feature I really like and use all the time. About 6” below the top edge the builder added a strip all around the interior. I have two cedar trays that just fit the box and are supported by the strip sitting at the top of the box when I open it. That way I can keep small items (such as letters) handy. It is the “lift out tray” that Bandit refers to. I’ll try to take a photo when I get home.

I heartily endorse the idea of the lid support – I wish mine had that.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View MJCD's profile


543 posts in 2457 days

#5 posted 10-04-2012 02:55 AM


Rather than standard lid supports, I used Torsion Hinges from Rockler – these are similar to the hinges on a laptop, which supports the lid at all times – this is especially helpful for anti-slam/saving fingers from the lid falling. Rockler has a ‘calculator’ which determines the number and strength of the hinges needed – for me, the calculator was too conservative, and I returned one of the 3 hinges it recommended. My granddaughter’s fingers are safe.

Also, I would not install a working lock – for safety reasons.

I recommend installing a quarter-round of cedar around / on top of any floor you install – it will provide a nice finished bottom – support your bottom (underneath with a perimeter strip, then support the floor across the span – you never know what someone will put in there – my granddaughter loves using hers as a hiding place.

Great recommendations, again, from the Forum Members – I asked probably 20 questions before building my version – as follows.

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

View MadGerman's profile


41 posts in 2149 days

#6 posted 10-04-2012 04:24 AM

Thanks so much guys. Regarding the torsion hinges shown above, do they make a version that has flat “bottom” portions, i.e. the part that is secured to the chest? I ask because even though I’m using 3/4” stock, I may put a top trim piece that will be wider than 3/4”, similar to this one that Dave made:

His hinges aren’t torsion hinges, he used a support in the corner to help lift and support the lid.

Ideally, I’d like to find torsion hinges in the shape of the ones he used.

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2355 days

#7 posted 10-04-2012 04:31 AM

I make them with a pull out draw and lined with cedar.wood hinges and handles pictures on my website under tables and chests.pull out tray is good with one piece handle makes it look really cool.I think women like alot of organization the tray helps with that.??

View MadGerman's profile


41 posts in 2149 days

#8 posted 10-04-2012 04:40 AM


Do you have an extra piece between the hinge and the lid on your chest? If so, what’s that for? I thought these hinges were supposed to be mounted directly to the lid. I noticed that you notched out the back of the chest where you mounted the hinges. Was this so they would allow the lid to lay flush with the chest? If you didn’t cut out the back side, would the lid not have been flush, leaving a noticeable gap?

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18342 posts in 3762 days

#9 posted 10-04-2012 04:49 AM

How about a drawer across the bottom?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4248 posts in 2647 days

#10 posted 10-04-2012 04:56 AM


If you wanted to make a lift out box all you have to do is prior to assy make a 1/4” slot 1/4 to 3/8” deep at the height of the box you want it at. Then make some 1/4” about 3/4” wide slats that can fit into the slots and glue them in.

That would hold quite abit of weight and look good too

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29673 posts in 2424 days

#11 posted 10-04-2012 10:34 AM

Topomax had my thought as well, put a thin drawer underneath for keepsakes.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29673 posts in 2424 days

#12 posted 10-04-2012 10:38 AM

Sorry, I see Joseph had it also!
Welcome to LJ’s

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View IsaacH's profile


128 posts in 2183 days

#13 posted 10-04-2012 11:31 AM

False bottom seceret compartment?

Could also put a place in lid for a framed photo. Of course you’d have to find a mushy photo of the two of you to put in it.

-- Isaac- Decatur, GA - "Your woodworking....NOT machining parts for NASA!!!"

View MJCD's profile


543 posts in 2457 days

#14 posted 10-04-2012 03:47 PM


Good Eyes!

Yes, to both your questions – there is a spacer between the torsion hinge and the top: First, the spacer is glued to the top, which spreads the load evenly across the glued surface, not just the screw connections (which can strip-out). Also, if you screw into the carcass, it’s there forever, and if it fails for some reason, you have a series of holes in the heirloom piece. This is my idea, so if it’s a crazy one (overkill, ill-advised, ...), then I’m the one to blame. However, the Hinge Review on Rockler contained user comments about the supplied screws being too small for the loads.

The notch-out was to provide a flush closure – my daughter added the felt ’ corner feet’ last minute, which may have countered the thickness of the hinge base – over the span of 20” or so (depth of the cabinet), I’m not sure it matters. Also, if I were to do this again, I’d install 3 smaller – rated 40 lb – hinges, rather than the 2 large (60 lbs) ones. This would further reduce the loadings on the individual hinges.

From the pictures, you can see that I reinforced the corners with a triangular post (1” on the two mating sides)- runs full height – top to bottom on each corner. This provides significant racking strength to the corners, which are spline-joined, and softens the interior look. The cabinet is topped with a 1/4” cherry strip – this allows for both a flat, finished top edge, and a way to hide all of the visible joinery (spline joints and where the panels meet the rails).

Long answer, I hope it’s helpful.

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

View MadGerman's profile


41 posts in 2149 days

#15 posted 10-04-2012 05:39 PM

You guys are great. I’d love ot add a drawer to the bottom, but I’m afraid that’s a little out of my comfort zone at the moment. I’m going to go with a basic chest lined with cedar. However, I like the idea of incorporating a photo or frame in the lid. Very neat. I’ll also make another keepsake box she can keep in the chest as well. I made one for her last year, but she said it’s getting full, so she needs a new one.

On a personal note, I’m really liking the woodworking that I’ve done so far. My late father was a master woodworker as well as a master tool & die maker and machinst. He could make anything out of anything. I still have a lot of his tools, so when I make things or repair stuff around the house, I like having my hands on the very tools he used. R.I.P. Dad….

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