Mike Conner's Blanket Chest

Two kinds of cedar team up to make a fine production piece.

SHOP OWNER: Mike Conner

    Here are a couple shots of one of my blanket chests.  It's not the best one I've made, but it's the only one I've got pictures of! I've done pretty well with these chests, having just delivered my eighteenth one. Five were out of Western red cedar and the rest of Southern yellow pine with the same contruction details.
     The chest shown here is made of Western red cedar. The bottom of the case and tray are made from 1/4-in. T&G aromatic red cedar. I use roughsawn Western red cedar--the kind sold for exterior trim. I dry it in a small homemade kiln, then joint and plane the panels by hand. I try to select stock with interesting color variations [brown/pink/tan or, if you prefer, chocolate/strawberry/vanilla ;-) ]. I usually match up three 1x6 boards to make the panels.
Interior View      I cut the dovetails by hand, assisted by a router for the "shoulder" cuts, then I complete all the tails and pins with a dovetail saw and chisel. I made a clear plexiglas layout template for different dovetail patterns; this saves me a lot of time and keeps things consistent from joint to joint.
     All four sides are "show" on my chests, suitable for placement in the middle of the room as a coffee table, etc. The exterior finish is six coats of waterborne polyurethane; the interior surfaces get three coats of paste wax. I leave the aromatic cedar unfinished.

... Mike Conner




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P.O. Box 493
Springtown, PA 18081