Cedar Chests

  • Advertise with us
Project by HenryH posted 02-22-2010 05:17 PM 5430 views 11 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Solid Eastern red Cedar
Aprox 31 L x 21 H x 18 D
Based on a Shaker Union Village blanket chest.

My wife asked me to make a cedar chest for her and two days later a colleague ask if I would build one for his wife. With a coincidence like that I figured I had to build them so… two blanket chests. Also my first accepted commission. I wrote a short blog about it.
The wood was grown and milled locally and smells fantastic. It was the first time working with Cedar and it was a little brittle, especially making the finger joints.
All in all not a bad project.

-- HenryH - PA

22 comments so far

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 4050 days

#1 posted 02-22-2010 05:25 PM

Great looking chest – What finish do you plan to use?

Thanks for sharing

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View HenryH's profile


142 posts in 4183 days

#2 posted 02-22-2010 05:33 PM

No finish.
I forgot to mention that.
I researched a finish for Cedar and what I found is that some finishes will seal the wood and you will not have aroma that I want. Also some finishes will actually have a chemical reaction with the wood. So I just opted for no finish.
Does anyone know a finish for Cedar?

-- HenryH - PA

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3829 days

#3 posted 02-22-2010 05:50 PM

I suppose you could use lacquer on the outside. That way, the outside would be sealed, but the contents would still retain that entoxicating cedar aroma.

Depends on if you really want to be able to smell it all the time, or just when the box is opened? Sealing the outside would obviously kill most of the ambiant aroma and you’d only smell it well once the lid was lifted.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Stanley Coker's profile

Stanley Coker

266 posts in 3974 days

#4 posted 02-22-2010 06:20 PM

Great job on the balnket chests. I have worked with cedar for a while and for the chest I would definetly put a finish on the outside. I would just put a clear poly finish on with a light sanding or steelwool in between. It really brings out the color and grain of the cedar. Cedar is hard to work with sometimes, especially if you have several knots. I would also recommend to always to use a mask when working with cedar, the dust can be some mean stuff. It can really mess up your sinuses very bad, I know.
Again a great job on the chests.

-- Stanley, North Georgia

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4684 days

#5 posted 02-22-2010 06:21 PM

And sealing the outside will keep the color, it will fade due to oxidation/uv exposure and be less attractive IMO. If you chose to put a finish on them, sand them again to bring the bright color out and finish very soon after (the same day)

Nice wide boards BTW !

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 4451 days

#6 posted 02-22-2010 07:14 PM

Henry, those are beautiful! I like the finger joint size proportions and the side compartment is a great idea.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 4644 days

#7 posted 02-22-2010 07:52 PM

Great job!

-- He said wood...

View SEE's profile


119 posts in 3946 days

#8 posted 02-22-2010 08:18 PM

Very nice cedar chests! I’ve used lacquer, poly and spar for the outside of cedar chests, leaving the inside unfinished for the aroma. The outside will lose it’s color quickly if you don’t finish it. If you do finish it will darken over time to a nice rich reddish brown color.

I build quite a few miniature cedar chests. Deft satin spray lacquer is a good quick finish ‘cause you can do several coats in one day. I also like the spray cans of spar urethane but it takes a bit longer to dry between coats. Whichever I use, I finish it off with Howard’s Citrus Shield paste wax. Johnson’s would work fine, too.

Again, nice project!

-- Build for the joy of it!

View AaronK's profile


1511 posts in 4243 days

#9 posted 02-22-2010 08:19 PM

very nice chests. I’m in the planning stages of my own… was wondering what sort of hinges those are and where you got them?

View HenryH's profile


142 posts in 4183 days

#10 posted 02-22-2010 08:29 PM

The hinges are from woodcraft. They are traditional cedar chest hinges. They seem to hold the lid up pretty good and install was relativly easy.
Brass Hinge And Lid Support, item #141533

-- HenryH - PA

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 4470 days

#11 posted 02-22-2010 08:31 PM

H they my friend are cool

Do you but a finish on them or leave oh natural ???

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View tooldad's profile


665 posts in 4494 days

#12 posted 02-22-2010 08:37 PM

I use Spray on Lacquer with the lid closed. Even 3 years later when you open them you get that awesome aroma. The outside pops with the gloss on it.

Check out my project page to see my cedar chest.

Click for details

View HenryH's profile


142 posts in 4183 days

#13 posted 02-22-2010 08:53 PM

Tooldad – Nice! I’ll consider the Lacquer. There is such a difference with a quality finish.

-- HenryH - PA

View Diamondback's profile


88 posts in 3918 days

#14 posted 02-23-2010 01:55 AM

Very nice but I would agree with most others. You should put a finish on the outside to make the color pop and preserve that great cedar look, like tooldad above.

-- Oshkosh, Wisconsin

View tooldad's profile


665 posts in 4494 days

#15 posted 02-23-2010 02:05 AM

I get all kinds of questions from my students as to how I stained the wood to get the red and white color. Some think the wood is white/yellow and I stain it red in certain places. It takes some convincing to get them to believe me.

Your chests will pop too once you get the lacquer on, kind of like a hooker with too many boob jobs! lol,

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics