NYWS Blanket Chest with a couple twists

  • Advertise with us
Project by Mainiac Matt posted 11-14-2013 12:34 AM 4265 views 4 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Norm Abram’s New Yankee Workshop Blanket (Hope) Chest seems to be a very popular project for new woodworkers. I’ve been making saw dust for a few years, but this is my first furniture project. I started it as a gift for my daughter, but then she said she wanted to do it with me. I had a couple big projects get in the way and she is very busy with school activities, so it took us 20 months to complete.

This Hope Chest has some unique aspects:

1. Red Oak was harvested from our wooded lot and milled into an 8×8x14 post for use in our timber frame house. But this particular stick was not used in the TF and was stored under tarps for years, until I had it re-sawn into 4/4 boards for use in this project. I planed the boards on my old Delta lunch box, and joined them on my 1930’s vintage Craftsman jointer.

2. Because I was starting with 4/4 lumber, I modified Norm’s design to make the rails and styles 7/8” thick, which gave me a larger reveal with the panels. I made the top 3/4”, as I didn’t want it to be too heavy.

3. I program for our CNC machines at work (mostly simple 2D stuff), so I decided to attempt to engrave her name into the top front style. This is the most sophisticated program I’ve ever done, as the text conversion required a lot of editing in CAD and the final program had >3,500 lines of G-code.

4. After experimenting with Shellac and poly, we chose Watco Danish with a Cherry tint. We both really like it as it brought out the pink patina better. A little less orange than the other options. We set ourselves up for success with the Danish oil as it is a breeze to use. Rubbed in a coat of JPW after it was well dried, though in all honesty, it didn’t seem to do much.

5. I added the fully mortised lock set from Rockler, to keep nosy sisters out.

We’re both happy with the outcome, and even though it took forever, we made some fun memories while we were at it.

Daughter #2 is already lined up for hers. I have some real Honduran Mahogany salvaged from a deck project years ago and given to me by a buddy. That should make for a lot less work

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

15 comments so far

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9238 posts in 2782 days

#1 posted 11-14-2013 12:42 AM

Here’s where it all started….

Blogged about the build here if anyone wants to see more

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30412 posts in 2792 days

#2 posted 11-14-2013 12:49 AM

Really nice work

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7730 posts in 3254 days

#3 posted 11-14-2013 01:09 AM

Is that you in the picture with the girl there, Maniac? I imagined you with more hair.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View JL7's profile


8747 posts in 3419 days

#4 posted 11-14-2013 01:12 AM

Well done Matt, to you and your Daughter….this one will bring memories forever…..

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Gary's profile


9400 posts in 3887 days

#5 posted 11-14-2013 01:25 AM

I agree with Jeff, Matt. She will remember building that chest with her dad forever. Nice work, btw

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View LarryL's profile


38 posts in 3337 days

#6 posted 11-14-2013 03:01 AM

Well done! You have a lot invested, what with harvesting the wood all the way through finishing the chest. You and your daughter will have this to remember for the rest of your lives.

-- Have answers, need the right questions.

View darthford's profile


612 posts in 2378 days

#7 posted 11-14-2013 06:39 AM

Great story that’s a lifetime memory there and nicely done on the cabinetry!

View DamnYankee's profile


3312 posts in 3016 days

#8 posted 11-14-2013 12:45 PM

Sweet. Nice work and I know even nicer with the help of your daughter and using your own lumber

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View HuckD's profile


311 posts in 2168 days

#9 posted 11-14-2013 02:38 PM

I suggest you have all the pics you made of this project printed out in 8×10 size and place them in an album and put it in the bottom of her hope chest. Years from now she’ll enjoy seeing them. Great job!

-- Visit my Youtube Channel:

View Richard's profile


11291 posts in 3487 days

#10 posted 11-14-2013 08:40 PM

Very Nice Work Indeed! Thanks For Sharing.


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2278 days

#11 posted 11-14-2013 10:37 PM

Very nice blanket chest Matt, beautiful wood and finish. It is so good that your daughter wanted to work with you in making the chest. My daughter is all grown up and married so I look forward to either my grandson or granddaughter wanting to build something with granddad. Thanks for sharing and the blog.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9238 posts in 2782 days

#12 posted 11-15-2013 12:19 AM

Thank to all for the kind comments…

I like your idea Hank.

We rearranged the bedroom furniture and hauled the chest upstairs…. It is now full of stuffed animals :^ )

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View DIYaholic's profile


19844 posts in 3129 days

#13 posted 11-15-2013 04:08 AM

Nice work there Mainiac!!!

I second HuckD, on the picture album.
I also recommend doing a full write up, detailing all pertinent info, for future generations. This chest WILL become a family heirloom!!!

Congrats on a job well done.
Oh, and nice chest!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2529 days

#14 posted 11-17-2013 11:33 PM

Matt, beautiful job on the chest. The grin on your daughter’s face says it all. When she’s grown and gone, that will always be a reminder of the relationship between the two of you.

Of course you do realize that the one for daughter #2 has to be at LEAST as nice as that one. (Girls notice these things ;) )

Well done

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Jerry's profile


3229 posts in 2102 days

#15 posted 02-11-2015 07:36 PM

Your craftsmanship is astonishing, this is a beauty!

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

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