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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mahogany Unicorn Chest With Cedar Lining





Several weeks ago, I built a cedar chest for my daughter's Christmas present. My wife liked it so much, that I decided to build her one. I had several problems though. The biggest one was that I didn't have enough good cedar to make another. Since my wife likes pecan, I decided to build a chest in the same styling out of pecan. Well, I found out real quick that the saw blade on my table saw was in no way sharp enough to cut the pecan cleanly enough to build it in the same style. With my limited funds, I had rather spend my money right now on Christmas than new saw blades. So, to make a long story short, in the end I decided to build it out of mahogany. My wife loves the smell of cedar though. So I was able to scrap enough of the knotty cedar to line the mahogany chest in aromatic cedar.
Next order of business was the scrolled design for the chest. You can see a photo of the chest's original design in the older posts here on my blog, or by going to the Wildwood Deisigns website here. I used unicorn designs on the front and sides and a pegasus design on the lid. I wanted to provide a link to where these designs can be purchased, but could not find them on Wildwood Designs website. I bought both patterns from there over a year ago. They may be hard to find since that website has been redesigned, or they may be discontinued.
Anyway, I wanted to use those unicorn type designs on my wife's chest. However, the original design measurements of the chest did not allow room for them. So, I had to redo a lot of the measurements for the chest to allow room for these two designs. It was not hard to do at all. It was just a matter of figuring up the difference in height of the original designs and the unicorn designs, and then adding the difference to the length of the corresponding pieces of the chest. This method may make you scratch your head a few times, but if you're careful to make sure and add enough space, it all will fall together in the end.
While I am very happy with the way these two chests have turned out, I do have one complaint. On both of these chests, I used the brass friction support to hold the lid up. I have got to try hard to find a better designed lid support for things such as these chests. While these look beautiful and do serve their purpose, they are a pain in the rump to install. It is near impossible, to me anyway, to get them mounted the first time so they will work right. The instructions on the back of the package is useless. If you go by the instructions, like I did the first time, the chest will not close properly, if it closes at all. I actually used some scrap wood for a mock up just out of curiosity. For the instructions to be correct, the approximately eight inch slide pieces would have to be about sixteen inches long and would bend against the lid if you forced it all the way down. I don't think I have ever encountered a simple piece of hardware that has frustrated me so much.





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