Sean’s Table and Blanket Chest

Viewer Project -
Added on February 15, 2011

From: Sean Miller

Location: Missouri

Amateur or Pro: Amateur

Finish Used: As requested by the customer, I sanded to 220 grit followed by 3 coats of minwax satin polyurethane. Smooth and rustic end result.

Wood Species: Red Oak

Project Description:
A former high school classmate contacted me after seeing some projects I posted online. She requested to have a coffee table made for her father out of an old front door from his childhood home. She asked to maintain as much of, if not the entire art work and scroll work on the door. She also asked to have the door cut down so that the two remaining halves could be created into two separate tables. I cut the door down to size as requested, but due to dry rot and the age of the door, it began to separate at its joints. I had to repair these first. I then created two “shadow” boxes that would wrap completely around the two doors halves in order to protect them from any further damage and to create a beautiful inlay. I finished the tops with 1/4” beveled/polished glass recessed into a 1/4” by 3/8” groove. Now came the challenging part. I debated how to complete the bottom of the biggest table which would eventually be the blanket chest/coffee table. I decided to make 6 panels from 1×4 stock boards with the biscuit jointer to join the pieces. Thanks to you, Marc, I tried my best to match pieces appropriately, but there are a few sections of panels that didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted. But I am learning. After the glue up was complete, I turned my attention to the legs that were receiving the panels. I created 3×4” dados into the legs. I then took my time to create the “tenons” on the panels in order to get a good tight but not too tight joint. Since I live in the St. Louis area, I thought what is more fitting than an arched bottom on all 4 sides of the box. So with thin strips of wood, I made an arch on a scrap piece of wood. Then I used a flush trim bit to actually create the arch on the finished lumber. The arches are quite subtle but turned out great. Lastly, for the blanket chest, I decided a cedar bottom would not only look great but it would be functional as well. No bugs here! After much staining and finishing, the lid was attached with a 42” brass piano hinge. The second, smaller table was completed with a weave pattern second shelf. This was created from 5x1x2” boards running each direction and 50 dados equally spaced in order to create the look. This part of the project was an 8 hour setup and completion. But it was worth it in the end. The table was finished the same as the blanket chest and they matched perfectly. This project was certainly challenging and difficult, but it was a great project with a great ending. The customers were extremely happy with the finished product.

As for the joinery on this project, I have already mentioned dados on some parts. There are also many biscuits throughout the project as well as pocket holes. The pocket holes were completed with plugs and stain so as to almost completely blend in with little distraction. Oh yeah, did I mention a lot of glue in strategic places? Enjoy!


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