Six-Board Chest

yellow six board blanket chest

Inspired by Christopher Schwarz’s “furniture of necessity,” I built this simple six-board chest. It’s called a six-board chest because it is literally made from six boards – four sides, a top, and a bottom. It’s hard to find boards this wide, so I edge glued 1x12s from the home center.

I followed instructions from Michael Dunbar in Fine Woodworking (free!) and Christopher Schwarz in Popular Woodworking, but the proportions are mine.

The main box is 37.25” x 18”. The whole chest is 27” tall.

It is painted with two coats of “mustard” color Old Fashioned Milk Paint. A friend asked how to get a good finish with milk paint, I said, “lower your expectations.” You can clearly see streaks in the paint on the top. I thought I was going to have to repaint, but in the end I like that that the streaks break up the surface.

The chest is nailed together with 6 penny fine finish cut nails. Schwarz says you should use nails with a large head, but I didn’t have nails like that, so I used cut nails like Dunbar and they work fine. I covered the nail holes with Dunham’s Rock Hard Water Putty, which is nice because I can just mix a little putty at a time as I need it.

In the large front and back boards, Dunbar cuts three rabbets, two on the end and one at the bottom. I initially skipped the bottom rabbet, but quickly learned it helps. With the bottom rabbet, I could size the bottom to be the same width as the ends. It also ensures the bottom is better sealed.

They aren’t pictured, but I used two Dark Antique PB-409 Butt Hinges from Horton Brasses that worked fine.

Daddy,  Can We Play in the Workshop?

If hand tool woodworking is your passion, you may enjoy my children's book, Daddy, Can We Play in the Workshop?