I have an obsession with old boxes.  I don’t know why, I’m not sure where it came from but I probably have more boxes in my house than a UHaul store.

The below blanket chest came to me from an auction where it was overlooked due to lost hinges – a minor problem for a Shoestringer who has lots of extra parts laying around.  I believe I paid around $75 for it.

A bit about blanket chests:  Blanket chests are strange.  Die hard collectors get weird about them.  You have to look at the feet, the hinges, whether it has a til (internal box), dovetail joints, original paint, who was it made by, etc.  Blanket chests are EXPENSIVE too, like approaching $1,000 expensive.  For me though, I just wanted something that 1) looked nice and 2) could hold a bunch of camping junk.  In the case of this chest, it was so neglected, and the paint job is such bad shape, I did away with it and sanded it down.  These chests are referred to as “six board” chests due to the fact that it only took 6 boards to make.


In this picture the feet are missing but I do have them and installed them later.

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Sanding was a breeze – started out at 80 grit and the old paint flew away.  I completed it with 180 grit.  I was excited to see the yellow pine grain starting to appear as I went on.


The final product was subject to several coats of semi-gloss poly.  I did not poly (or sand) the internal portions of it.

I’m not sure what the feet were made out of but they were substantially harder than the rest of the chest.  Of course, they had to be sanded so what’s a Shoestringer to do?  Easy:  Drive a small lag bolt into the bottom each foot and then lock them into your drill press one at a time.  Crank your drill press up to the highest RPM and you’ve got yourself a makeshift sanding lathe.

I absolutely love older yellow/heart pine and this thing turned out great.  I’m sure an antique purist would die to see what I did but they should have outbid me.   Total investment was about $100.