I'm looking for plans for a cedar chest. More specifically, I'm looking
for a plan that requires a minimum number of power tools. And by "minimum"
I mean "table saw" because I like to do things by hand.
I have no experience with cedar so I thought I'd look at some plans to see
what's what. But when I do a search I get like a gazillion webpages. So,
what I'm asking y'all is this, "have you bought a plan? which one? and
would you recommend I get the same?"
Here's a web site I found by doing a Google search for "free cedar chest plan"
I only checked one on the list, and was able to download the plan.
Buffalo, NY - USA
Mike Dunbar built a blanket chest with hand tools in an article featured in
Fine Woodworking No. 134 (Feb. 99). He used pine, but cedar could be
incorporated. You can buy past copies from Taunton Press.
Sun, Sep 28, 2003, 1:11am (EDT+4) email@example.com (Joe Shmoe)
I'm looking for plans <snip>
Aren't we all?
You use a search phrase like "free chest plans", quotes and all,
and go from there.
You don't need a table saw for any project. It just makes it
faster, using one.
If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing
- Terry Venables
Life just ain't life without good music. - JOAT
Web Page Update 26 Sep 2003. Some tunes I like.
I wasn't really looking for free plans (although free is always good), what
I really wanted was opinions from people who have bought and used plans.
I can google with the best of them; problem is this: unless you buy the
plan you really don't know what the requirements are. (At least for the web
pages I was looking at).
My first "real" woodworking project was a cedar hope chest I built for my
girlfriend (now my wife). I was a teenager with no money, and no tools. I
had no real woodworking experience, and no real plan in mind.
The cedar I used were scraps from a lumber mill that her dad was using for
firewood. It was mostly in bad shape, many pieces still having the bark on
it. The size and dimensions of the chest were mostly determined by the
pieces of wood I had to work with.
I "borrowed" some basic handtools (handsaw, block plane, screwdriver, and
a junky electric drill) from my stepdad. I ripped the boards to width with
the handsaw, and planed them smooth with the blockplane. I then predrilled
holes and screwed the boards to simple fir 2x2 supports. I plugged each
hole with little wood "mushroom" plugs I found at a hardware store. I
borrowed a finish sander from my friends dad to do most of the smoothing,
but much of it was done with a piece of sandpaper held in my hand. I
finished it all off with a few coats of clear gloss polyurethane, and added
some brass handles and corner protectors. It's admittedly rough, but
considering my talent at the time and the tools I had to work with, I'm
rather proud of it. My wife still displays it in our living room to this
day. The color and richness of the wood has only gotten better as it has
aged, and sometimes it's hard to believe it was all destined to be
In comparison, my wife decided to build a similar hope chest for her sister
about 10 years later. By then I had an old table saw to use. While it made
some jobs faster and easier, and the precision made for better fitting
joints, her hope chest turned out about the same as mine did (though she
had the benefit of mine as a pattern to refer to.)
In other words, with a little determination, you can build lots of things
with even basic hand tools if you need to.
Doesn't have to be entirely cedar. If you go for a post-and-rail
design, then I'd maybe make the panels from cedar, but certainly not
Personally I wouldn't make a cedar chest, unless I was doing something
small in true Cedar of Lebanon. Cedars are just too soft to make good
hard-working furniture - I'd use them for lining or baseboards, but
not for the exterior.
Minimum sensible set of power tools is really "table saw and
thicknesser" - but you can always have a timberyard thickness it for
you. Preparing boards by hand is either serious re-enactment (which
is a different hobby to "making things from wood") or a mug's game.
Life is short - don't spend it hand-thicknessing, just to prove a
I've made Mike Dunbar's 6 board design "with hand tools", but I
cheated on the early stock preparation. I jointed the boards up and
biscuit jointed them by machine, simply because I was using narrow
boards where the original makers would have had access to much wider
wide stock. From then on though, I worked by hand - all sawing,
rebating and edge moulding.
WRC is quite strong, but _very_ soft. I wouldn't use it. If I am
using cedar, and it's not "humidor-grade", then it will be Eastern Red
Cedar. This is a lot different to the Western; denser, harder and
better smelling. Still commonplace and cheap though.
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