A DOUBLE DUTY CHEST
Today a daughter's new toy box, tomorrow her blanket chest.
SHOP OWNER: Jim Shaver
LOCATION: Oakville, Ontario, CANADA
I completed this project about three years ago. This is the first woodworking project I built for my daughter. For now, it is a toy box, but someday I will add a cedar bottom, which will make it a true blanket chest. The inspiration to build this blanket chest came from an April 98 FWW article. I have to say I found the plan to be very detailed and complete. This was also my first attempt at a project from Fine Woodworking.
While their design called for a figured maple paneled box, framed with cherry, I substituted red oak in my design, but followed the plans otherwise. The case is 24" tall by 22" deep by 47" wide. The stock for the case is all 13/16" thick, which makes it nice and heavy plus gives the chest a nice feel.
I learned and used a few new techniques for the first time in this project. I made haunched tenons for the top, and through tenons (wedged with maple) for the front and rear rails. The joints for the side rails are mortise and tenon.
The five raised panels were supposed to look like raised panels; I missed a little bit on the cut as I mistakenly ran the panels horizontally over the 3/8" cove bit instead of vertically. So, they appear to be a bit deeper than I would have liked. Of course, I discovered this after the glue up of the case and before building the top. I corrected my mistake on the top and it turned out well.
The finish is two coats of Watco Fruitwood Danish Oil and three coats of Minwax Wipe-On Satin Poly. I finished it off by rubbing out with 0000 steel wool and an application of paste wax. The inside received a clear shellac coating rather than the poly, so as not to impart a smell in the clothes later.
This was also my first project cut entirely from rough stock. It was a lot of work but I can tell you I felt that I pushed my skill envelope a bit on this. A novice at the time, I found the projects shown and discussions on Internet woodworking forums helped me to push myself a long way and inspired me to reach for more in my work.
This project taught me some important lessons too. Because I hadn't marked my layout lines accurately the first time, I cut a whole series of dados incorrectly. This meant another trip to the store for another $20 worth of 8/4 oak.
Hand tools such as my #4 Stanley plane and some hand scrapers kept sanding to a minimum. I used my Stanley #92 to do the final fitting of the raised panels into the carcass. I also realized that clean sharp chisels were very important during this project!. . . Jim Shaver
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