Small blanket chest project

Charlie Buchanan

Charlie
Corporate Member
My wife wants a sitting place in the bathroom. Not a shower seat but a place to sit while dressing, etc. I thought of a small blanket chest to match the cherry vanity I built for the bathroom a couple of years back. I worked out this design to fit into the space. It’s about 26” x 20” x 21” high—a little higher than a side chair.
chest.jpeg
chest.jpegThe top will be hinged over a storage space and there is a drawer below the storage. The construction is frame and panel (or post and panel—whatever the correct term).
I’ve just started construction and will post photos as I move along.

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IMG_0534.jpegIMG_0538.jpegStarting with the legs milled to size and still square I laid out and cut the mortises using a bench mortiser, cleaned the mortise out with chisel and made a sample block from a leg cut-off. The sample lets me try the tenons for fit without using the legs.
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IMG_0541.jpegIMG_0544.jpegAfter milling the rails to size I cut the tenons using a box joint set on table saw. Rails are cut to tenon shoulder length plus 1 1/2“ since I’m using 3/4” tenons on this job. I’ve used different methods but this seems to work best for me.
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IMG_0549.jpegTesting the tenon setup for tenon thickness and centering. I use a cutoff from a milled rail to dial in the tablesaw setup. I'm Using 5/16”mortises and tenons here.
 
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Dee2

Board of Directors, Vice President
Gene
Staff member
Corporate Member
My wife wants a sitting place in the bathroom. Not a shower seat but a place to sit while dressing, etc. I thought of a small blanket chest to match the cherry vanity I built for the bathroom a couple of years back. I worked out this design to fit into the space. It’s about 26” x 20” x 21” high—a little higher than a side chair.
View attachment 227250The top will be hinged over a storage space and there is a drawer below the storage. The construction is frame and panel (or post and panel—whatever the correct term).
I’ve just started construction and will post photos as I move along.


Starting with the legs milled to size and still square I laid out and cut the mortises using a bench mortiser, cleaned the mortise out with chisel and made a sample block from a leg cut-off. The sample lets me try the tenons for fit without using the legs.
After milling the rails to size I cut the tenons using a box joint set on table saw. Rails are cut to tenon shoulder length plus 1 1/2“ since I’m using 3/4” tenons on this job. I’ve used different methods but this seems to work best for me.
Testing the tenon setup for tenon thickness and centering. I use a cutoff from a milled rail to dial in the tablesaw setup. I'm Using 5/16”mortises and tenons here.
As you continue, the compilation recording your work will make a great addition to the Resource forum. Please consider.
 

Charlie Buchanan

Charlie
Corporate Member
Next phase fit each tenon, assemble components dry for test fit and confirm measurements for drawer runners.
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This little skew plane is great for refining the tenons for a tight fit. It’s a left-hand skew so it runs tight to the shoulder for a right handed person.

IMG_0614.jpegThe left end component framefitted and dry assembled.

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The full frame dry fit seen from rear corner. Next, disassemble and run the panel grooves on the table saw.
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Next to come: make the panels, shape the curve on the bottom rails, and taper the legs below bottom rails—-coming soon
 
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Charlie Buchanan

Charlie
Corporate Member
Now that frames and posts are dry fit and grooved it’s panel time. I confirmed the measurements for the panels from assembled dry-fit. After cutting to size I’ve found the best way to start the panel-raising process is to cut a rough bevel on table saw to remove bulk of the waste.

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i use a tenon jig tilted to the right overall angle cutting across grain first, then along grain. Works great for small panels. This produces a simple bevel which is then shaped with a panel-raising router bit.
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since I removed the majority of the waste on the saw only one pass of the panel-raiser is needed. I use a gripper to push the panel across the bit for added safety.
At this point only finish sanding and final fit check are needed.

If this were a period piece I would have done the shaping after sawing the bevel with hand planes to get a period surface. But it’s not; so a machined and sanded surface is good.
 
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Charlie Buchanan

Charlie
Corporate Member
With all the panels raised, fitted and sanded it’s time for tapering the legs i want to dry assemble to get a first look at a side component. Because this is a short 5 1/2 inch taper I marked them out and cut them freehand on the bandsaw. After the saw it I planed across grain to remove the ridge at the end of the bandsaw cut.
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Next I planed the taper to remove saw marks, and finally hit them with 220 grit on a ROS.
Now I can assemble the right end component for a look.
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Next step is pre-finishing the panels before assembly. A couple of dry days should allow the panels time to dry. Then a couple of glue-up sessions assembling ends, back and front panels, and finally joining all the components together to form the case. Twenty-eight MT joints altogether in the case.
 

Charlie Buchanan

Charlie
Corporate Member
Panels have been prefinished with a shellac sealer then a couple of coats of satin polyurethane wiped on. Frame has been shellac sealed and sanded ready for glue-up.
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Parts are assembled for one of the end components and glued up. I glue up the end panels and the rear panel. The end components incorporate a tenoned guide for the side-hung drawer.
IMG_0725.jpeg Rear panel assembly will connect the end components.
The front of the piece is a wide solid panel at the top with a flush drawer at bottom. Once the case is together I’ll make the drawer to fit. The hinged top/seat comes last.
 

Charlie Buchanan

Charlie
Corporate Member
The case is glued up. Ready to make the drawer.
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I lay out the tails on poplar drawer sides. I tape the sides together and saw the tails on both sides at once. Since the drawer will be side-hung I leave an extra wide pin in the center so that the drawer front serves as a stop against the hanger rail. The third photo shows the side drawer guides. The groove will be fitted with a hanger rail to engage the groove on the drawer side.
 

Charlie Buchanan

Charlie
Corporate Member
Glueing up the case I was reminded why I like hide glue. I buttered up a set of mortises on one face of a leg—reached for the corresponding rails and realized I had brushed glue in the wrong mortises. With hide glue it was not a big glitch. I wiped out the excess glue with a paper towel wrapped around a stick. Since hide glue is easily reactivated with fresh hot hide I didn’t have to worry about getting all the glue out. And I went ahead with the glue-up.
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Here’s my cheap glue pot I’ve been using for years. It’s a soup heater from Target with a hole cut in the top to fit a jelly jar. The rim of the jelly jar holds the jar suspended in water. The pot has a thermostat that will keep the water at 145 degrees. I use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature. It takes about 20 minutes to raise the glue to 145 from 60 degrees.
 

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