Thursday, November 22, 2012

Chest Finished! (Maybe)

I constructed this chest in about three hours.  You may see photos of the construction in my last post.  But basically, I had used the plans provided by Christopher Schwarz on the Lost Art Press Blog. Only to fit in with his "Furniture of Necessity" theme, I chose to do this as economically as possible, purchasing everything from the home center:  I used laminated wood (the kind that comes wrapped in plastic), cheap hinges, and I picked up the longest brad nails I could find for under two bucks.

Since the build in the last post, I added molding, which I made the choice of purchasing in one meter lenghts.  A thin one for the lid, and a matching thicker one for the bottom.  Making my own molding with molding planes would have been cool, but I thought I would do it this way, in order to minimize the tool kit required for this build.

The Frau wasn't crazy about this furniture form in the fist place, and she really didn't like the look of the nails.  But, I thought this would be fun to construct, and it was.  Surprisingly, I think it is growing on her.  She made the suggestion that i use it for a bedside table until I get the chance to make a proper one (far down on the list of needed projects).

The room and the bed it goes next to are grey, so she suggested white, black, or grey for the color.  That is a good idea, but I thought a brighter color might be really neat for this chest, and since this won't be it's permanent home, I chose to try a few things first.

I wanted to use milk paint, and had only Dreary-Army-Green and Holy-Shit!-Red available in stuff I already had.  I thought I would try to add a little of the dark green to the red for a nice burgundy color, but wound up with a Jonas Jensen purple.

I suppose that's fine for the undercoat.  I found a local store that sells milk paint, and bought some Federal Blue, and some black.  The blue looked like such a neat color, that I am seriously thinking of keeping it this way.

 Milk paint has to be one of the more pleasant finishes to work with.  The Frau hasn't seen it yet, so we'll see if she wants it to stay blue.  If not, the blue will become another undercoat for the black.  After it gets knocked around a bit, the blue will start to show, and knock it around a bit more and the purple will come out.

 I deviated in the construction a little by moving the battens to the inside, rather exposed as in the original plan.  This may not be traditional, but the piece I had left over for the lid wasn't long enough.  I think this looks OK with the applied molding on the outside of the lid.

This molding came from the home center in one meter strips, made of pine.  The two different widths of molding in the same pattern is a nice touch, I think.

Here is the chest in it's new home.  Perhaps having the blue sheets on the bed will increase the chances of this chest remaining blue.

OK, I didn't get a photo of the tool kit for this project, but here is a list:

  • Hand saw (a Japanese Ryoba is a nice choice, as you can do all the ripping and crosscutting with it using no other saws, if you don't have any).
  • Chisel for cleaning out the dado.
  • hammer
  • Jack plane for cleaning up the hand-sawn surfaces.  I didn't even smooth anything, but I did use a little sandpaper.
Really, that's all you need to build a chest like this.  I didn't even use any clamps.  If you would like to make things a bit easier, you (like I did) can use the following tools in addition.

  • Backsaw - handy for that dado
  • Bowsaw or coping saw to make the rounded cut-out
  • Router plane - also handy for the dado
  • Small anvil - mine is an eight pounder, for clinching the nails.

Milk paint leaves a nice finish on it's own, but I think it might be a bit flat for this purpose.  Once we settle on the color, I will top it off with some wax, or perhaps some boiled linseed oil.  Probably both.

What is your opinion of this color for my chest?


  1. I like it. If I do one I'll probably use 1x12's rather than laminated boards.

    1. That would be a great way to go. I definitely recommend this project. An enjoyable afternoon and you are done. What a nice change of pace. Also, I think if anyone ever wants me to build them something, I'll do this because it is not a huge investment in time that I could be using for building something for me!

  2. Your Mother likes that color - especially with the blue bed cover and the blue in the rug. I would probably not like the color in my home, but it seems to go nice there.

  3. I can't believe you made that in 3 hours! Beautiful!! Personally, I like furniture in the natural wood without paint, just varnished. I think wood grain is beautiful, but I do like it.

  4. I can't beleive that I have a colour named after me :-)
    It looks nice, and you can store books etc inside which is a good thing.
    My bedside table always looks messy with a stack of books and magazines.
    I liked the old bedside table as well. That way if somebody can actually see what it is, then they will appreciate it, other people might just think that it is a peculiar form.
    Best regards
    Jonas Jensen

    1. I needed the old bedside table in my shop. As handy as a sawbench is around the house, it works good as a sawbench, too.

      I knew you would get a kick out of the color name. But, Jonas Jensen Purple sounds nicer than Holy Shit! Red, doesn't it?

      By the way, The chest is now black. I have to say it changes the chest a lot. Much more sober looking. I'll have to put a photo up.

    2. Jonas Jensen purple does sound nice.
      I have a hard time imagining the chest in black. I guess my option with army green and holy shit red (which also sounds cool) would be to paint it green and then make a thin red stripe (approx. 1/2") on each face maybe 1.5" from the outer edge. But then again, I guess I am influenced by traditional Scandinavian rural painting, which is often a base colour and then some decoration of another colour.
      I told Mette that I had a colour named after me, and she liked the story.

    3. Lucky she likes the story because she has to live with the tool chest!

      That sounds like a great idea with the stripe. I still haven't painted my tool chest. Perhaps I can do something like that.

      Greetings to your family!

    4. Actually, the tool chest (blanket chest) was repainted.
      I made some more egg oil tempera and tried to make a grey colour by using zinc oxide and some soot from the chimney (Kønrøg in Danish). I gave the chest two coats of it, and it helped a lot. Actually coming to think of it, I believe that I promised The Schwarz to send him a picture once I finished painting the chest.
      But I like your blue colour, as you said yourself, it goes really well with the grey bed and the blue blanket.

    5. Hi Jonas, Since you mentioned it, I've been thinking about painting my tool chest with some of your Scandinavian rural painting. Any recommendation for a website with examples of this style?

  5. Scandinavian folk painting.
    In Danish: almuemaling.
    In Swedish: allmogemålning.

    From what I have seen/know: The traditional colours in Denmark are green red and blue. All colours are a little bit dull i.e. not shiny.
    I think that in Sweden they also used a brown colour quite often.
    But anyway, the idea is that it should be carried out without masking tape, and without stencils.
    There are huge regional diffrences, some more elaborate than others.
    I like the fairly modest look best. I.e. just some stripes and colour differences. I have never been mush for the highly ornamented pieces.
    There is a webpage from a Danish painter, that does the traditional paintings still:

    I must say, that I like the look of the door, and I think that a similar paint scheme would look good on the ATC.

    My advice is to google "almuemaling" and then take it from there.

    Have fun with the painting.

    1. That is interesting. There are similar techniques used in painting of country furniture here in Bavaria. I have to say, though, it seems to be more about the pictures and decorations than the color schemes and base patterns. I think a lot of it is now done with stencils and decals. One probably can't afford the real stuff.

      But, I might try something like that on my tool chest. Either a light blue/gray or green/gray color for the main carcass, a darker version on the skirts, and perhaps dark red on the bevels of the skirts. What do you think?

      Also, I am going to try to make my own milk paint this time. Martha Stewart, of all people, has a good recipe on her website that I think I could do.

  6. I think the green/grey colour combination would be most to my liking. I would also give the raised part of the lid the same darker version like the skirts. And red always looks good together with green.
    Actually my original plan for my tool chest (blanket chest) was to give it a green colour. But when I had to buy the coloured powder, it was only awailable in a 1 kg bag, and the green colour was approximately 100$. The red was only 40$. So being cheap I offcourse quiclky altered my plan to go for a nice dark red chest..
    The sad result can be seen here:
    So I have learned that it is a bad idea to go cheap when it comes to paint.

    1. Aha! I knew we would eventually get a picture of "Jonas Jensen Purple!"