Dovetailed Pine Blanket Chest

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Project by mungosaysbah posted 01-21-2016 02:27 AM 1938 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first dovetailed blanket chest – I recently built it for my sweetheart for a Christmas present.

The chest is about 34 inches long, 18 inches deep, and – if you include the base – 21 inches high. I glued up the boards, planed them to width, and cut dovetails. I built a base, but didn’t measure correctly, so ended up tearing it apart and building another one (I ended up using the first pass for another project on which I’m currently working). I used PVA glue to attach them all, and used pccket hole screws – although I didn’t create pocket holes) to hold the base in place. I don’t have a ton of clamps (I live in an apartment building, and my woodworking tools and supplies need to be put away after each use), but luckily a purchase I’d made some time ago at Lee Valley came in handy: Pinch Dogs. I can’t emphasize how helpful I found them when joining two boards to make a wider glue-up. Every woodworker must own a package of them!

I used two brass butt hinges to attach the lid, after marking and chiselling out the mortise to hold them nicely, along with a 7 inch curved friction lid support to support the lid during opening. I used water based gel Varathane Diamond Wood Stain (Golden Oak) to stain the sides. It was an afterthought not to stain the lid or base – I rather like the effect, and the lovely colour of the pine lid shines through. I used 3 coats of water based Varathane Semi-Gloss polyurethane over it all, and finished off the lid with a coat of a homemade concoction comprising beeswax and coconut oil. I like how it turned out. I bought some quarter-inch pine cove molding to bridge the gap between the base and the chest, but I’m not very satisfied with the look. It looks too ‘manufactured’, so next time I think I would just use a plane to create a less severely curved piece of molding. I planed the undersides of the lid sides to give it a pleasing look – I think it looks nice.

Areas for improvement / ideas for next time:

  • Line it with aromatic cedar to protect wool blankets from moths.
  • Improve my dovetail technique – practise makes perfect.
  • More carefully prepare my wood surface prior to staining it – the front is a bit blotchy. I will be careful when applying PVA glue during the glue up, and use acetone to really clean up the wood. Or I might not stain it at all. We’ll see.
  • Install a till and maybe a drawer at the bottom. The till lid can act as a lid support, which I think is a neat idea.
  • Build breadboard ends on the lid.

4 comments so far

View OldGuysRule's profile


130 posts in 2465 days

#1 posted 01-21-2016 10:31 AM

Very nicely done with the limited space and tools! Very nice!! I know guys who couldn’t do that good of a job with a shop full of tools and space. I used to hate my shop until I signed up here on Lumber Jocks and see guys working out of a closest in an apartment. Now I love my shop!!

I don’t think I would have even tried something like that while living in an apartment.

You are a very bold young man!!

-- Rod P.........OLD GUY......Learning new things!

View Oldtool's profile


3538 posts in 3683 days

#2 posted 01-21-2016 01:52 PM

Really nice chest, looks great, especially given the limited working conditions of an apartment. I like the contrasting colors, gives a really nice appearance to the project. Job well done.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3836 days

#3 posted 01-21-2016 02:46 PM

nice work

View Ivan's profile


17327 posts in 4360 days

#4 posted 01-21-2016 05:47 PM

You’ve realy done a great job for her. Beautiful c

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

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