Joe Lehman's Blanket Chest

Figured wood makes this Christmas present sparkle.

SHOP OWNER: Joe Lehman
LOCATION: Portland, OR

    My wife has asked me for years to get her a cedar chest. A good one was far too expensive for our budget. So, since I have taken a serious interest in woodworking over the last three years, I decided to make one instead. This is what she had to settle for.
  I purchased the plan from Better Homes and Gardens WOOD magazine, but I had to alter it due to the rare opportunity I had in acquiring the wood. A friend of mine, Mike Minaret, of Wood Plus, let me hand-pick the wood from a unit of figured white maple he had acquired over the years.
Eye-Popping Wood     The plan called for oak for the solid parts and oak plywood for the top and the panels. Since I wasn’t going to find pieces of figured white maple plywood, I resawed and bookmatched the panels and top. The panels are beaded boards, tongue-in-rabbet, and booked matched. This idea came from an article out of Woodsmith (Vol. l2 / No. 124). The top was a 10-in.-wide piece I had resawn, so it is also bookmatched.
     Christmas was close and the project was nearing completion. A hand-rubbed finish would have been grand, but it would have taken weeks, and time was short. I want to thank Mike Landers (co-worker) for the professional finish.
Chest Open

    I enjoy projects that have something new to be learned. This one, the largest so far, had me take my router off the table and use the handles for the first time since I bought it. I was nervous at first, but it was thrilling after I got the hang of it. One thing about a project like this, as many know: there is no second chance if something goes wrong. Another lesson is that there are never enough clamps around. I just want to thank all those who added their support during this project.

. . . Joe Lehman




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