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Charles Durfee’s blanket chest article is a must-see. In addition to smart techniques, he has refined the design and dimensions of a classic piece of furniture. He also gives a history of the blanket chest.
Of course the history and guide to building the chest are great things, but perhaps even more valuable is Durfee’s guide to fixing your dovetails when they’ve gone awry. Mistakes happen. I’ve made enough mistakes in my own woodworking and have seen enough mistakes being made (yes, even by the pros) to know that you aren’t any kind of a woodworker unless you can fix your blunders.
Here are just two dovetail errors that Durfee addresses in this article. How would you fix them? Check out the free plan to see how he handled it. Do you have any fantastic fixes to share?
Uh oh, dry fitting tightly fit dovetails can cause a crack. Now what?
Yikes, is that a dovetail or a crevasse? Time to start over? Definitely not.
Read more about the construction and design of blanket chests in this great new book by Peter Turner and Scott Gibson. 30 original designs range from traditional to contemporary and offer inspiration to woodworkers and furniture makers of all skill levels.
CLICK HERE to download the free PDF article and woodworking plan for Durfee’s Shaker blanket chest.
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I just finished building this chest entirely from western red cedar. It worked great. The cedar is soft so I will have to live with dings and dents, some of which I accidentally put there myself during assembly. I oil finished mine, but it could be painted.
I decided to use cedar for the first one since it is easy to work with and finish. The cedar I have has been air dried, kiln dried may be more brittle and tougher to deal with. Now I'm going to build one of oak.
I made this from the full size plans. Great project, but a minor error between the article text and the plans: the trim around the top has different dimensions.
Thumphr: this would work fine in another wood. Shakers generally used pine and painted their boxes.
I was wondering if anyone has ever tried the "cedar oil" that is available to enhance the cedar smell? I have found it in spray bottles but I haven't found anyone who has actually used it. Great article, thanks, Jack
I made a chest and made some mistakes on the way and its wonderful knowing how to fix the mistakes
Another important safety tip: No part of the inside of the chest (anything that will be exposed to the volatile cedar fumes) should have a finish on it. This includes the underside of the lid. The reason is that the chemicals released by the cedar will react with the finish, turning it into a sticky mess. You _might_ be able to get away with shellac, but any other oil, varnish or lacquer finish is likely to be damaged by the cedar.
I would suggest building the chest as-is out of cherry and then lining the interior of the blanket trough with some 1/4-in. - 3/8-in cedar. I wouldn't glue the cedar in, as this would cause movement problems but rather, make it a friction fit - much like is done with humidors when lining them with Spanish cedar. Also, after a couple of years, that nice cedar aroma might diminish. This can be remedied by giving the cedar a quick light sanding with some 220-grit sandpaper to release some more of those aromatic oils.
Thanks for the post!
EVERYBODY makes mistakes, and showing how to fix them is very important.
Keep up the good work.
My Daughters after me to build here a cedar chest. Would this plan work out if I built it all in cedar?
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In this video Michael finishes the first of the three boxes. Gluing-up, planing, sanding and finishing bring a new piece of art to the world.
In this video Michael starts work on the second box, a carved and painted Saddle lid box.
Michael begins carving the saddle lid box with his ripple pattern along the top. Then turns to his 5/30 gouge to texture the sides of the box. This isn't work…
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