Free Plan: Shaker Blanket Chest
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.
CLICK HERE to download the free PDF article and woodworking plan for Durfee’s Shaker blanket chest.
Read more about the construction and design of blanket chests in this great 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.
My Daughters after me to build here a cedar chest. Would this plan work out if I built it all in cedar?
Thanks for the post!
EVERYBODY makes mistakes, and showing how to fix them is very important.
Keep up the good work.
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.
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 made a chest and made some mistakes on the way and its wonderful knowing how to fix the mistakes
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 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 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 built a chest in red oak from these excellent plans. I highly recommend these plans. I did make one alteration, using finger joints instead of dovetails, because my skill level isn't there yet. For guidance on making a chest like this with finger joints, search for the Christopher Schwarz version of the Shaker blanket chest.
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