Blanket Chest

Have you ever been flipping through an old bin of photos – you know, the kind that were on paper, so you could actually flip through them? Invariably you come across something you forgot all about. This was one of those moments. There I was, standing next to a blanket chest that had yet to get a finish applied to it. I forgot all about it, until I found the photo. Then it came rushing back.

The completed blanket chest, awaiting paint, and that sweater. Yikes.

When I was little, my father used to make birdhouses down in the shop, which he sold at a local store, to pay for new tools. Sometimes I got to help stain them – a decade or more later, the spots of splattered stain were still visible in the shop. That was my first taste of woodworking. There were many DIY projects around the house, some shelves here and there, but not many projects that were properly “woodworking” rather than just something that was made of wood. That probably makes sense to at least some of you.

This was one of those projects that felt like proper woodworking. Like Norm Abram of the New Yankee Workshop would build – only mine was not as fancy, nor made of wood panels I milled myself, or carefully researched at a 200 year old house near Boston. It was a place to start. This one was also built alongside my father, one of the earliest I can recall, where maybe I wasn’t just the “helper” this time. It was for his sister (my aunt) and was going to be painted by her daughter (my cousin) who is a very talented artist. That’s why the “finished” pictures are of a box with no “finish”.

A simple, straightforward blanket chest

When I think back on the project, there are two things that I remember learning. The first was the way it was constructed – it’s a box, resting on a base (well, attached to it). Somehow, prior to this, I didn’t realize things were built that way. That was eye opening, essentially making two different parts, and combining them like that. So obvious now, but thinking back, one of the clear memories I have of the project. I can’t remember how we made the curves – there was no bandsaw and no spindle sander in the shop at that time. I am guessing jig saw, and lots of hand sanding.

The other was getting the inside storage compartments to fit in properly, and they had lids which I think fit in a little dowel in each side panel, so they were captured in place, once the box was assembled. There is piano hinge on the back, and the two lid supports so as not to slam shut. I remember being so pleased that the little lids opened and closed like they should. Small victories.

The inside compartments

I hope you liked this blast from the past. Always fun going through old pictures and reliving the projects you forgot you even did. This was a fun one, I am surprised I didn’t more readily remember it. Glad there were pictures. I wonder what forgotten project I will find next.

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