~ Cedar-lined White Oak Blanket Box ~

This is one of the latest projects that has recently taken up a considerable amount of my time. I was commissioned to create a custom cedar-lined blanket box for a relative. Apart from rough dimensions (48″ W x 20″ D x 26″ H) and an instruction to “make it out of nice wood”, I was given a free hand so the rest was left to me.

I started with a rough design drawn from ideas from previous commissions and images online and refined it (with the helpful eye of my partner, Lise) using full-size cardboard pieces for the side and front and top. I then broke down 4/4 and 6/4 white oak from rough and cut out the legs, apron rails and stiles that make-up the shell of the box. I cut tongue-and-groove joinery in all the mating pieces to provide long trapped tenons for solid glue joints. The lower apron rails have an additional groove to trap a 3/4″ base panel. Once all the joinery was completed and the base panel notched around the legs, everything was brought together to test fit the box carcase.

French curves were cut into all four lower apron rails to lighten the look of the base of the box. I broke down more 3/4 oak and glued up one large panel from which I cut the five solid-wood panels for the back and sides with the grain running around the box. I resawed more 6/4 oak to create three book-matched panels for the front that run from left to right. With all of the panels pre-finished, I glued up the entire carcase in three stages: front and back assembles and then added the side assemblies and the base. To allow for normal expansion, all of the panels “float” inside their joinery. Strips of high-density foam rubber were installed to centre the panels.

Once the carcass was completed, I added planks of 1/4″ aromatic red cedar to the inside of the box, completely covering the bottom, and all sides. A lip around the top of the box was profiled and grooved to completely capture the top edge of the cedar planking. This was mitred and glued to the top of the carcass to provide a bearing surface for the top and its mounting hardware.

Once the box was completed, I broke down and resawed 8/4 oak boards to create “book matched” planks for the top. This top panel was planed, flat cut to size and profiled and pre-finished. The lid was then attached to the box with three hinges and a pair of lid stays. The entire box was then finished in three coats of Danish oil and paste wax.

All’s left was to surreptitiously slide it under the Christmas tree and wait for the unsuspecting recipient to find it … And look, it fits perfectly!

Another creation by WoodsGood

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