Every cloud has a cedar lining

While rummaging through the closets to move the clothes matching the coming season to the front and those for the fading season to the rear, I uncovered the unmistakable evidence of the dreaded wool predators: silverfish and moths.

The bad news, is that some pricey garments were unsalvageable. The silver lining to the silverfish-moth problem was that it provided an excuse for a useful woodworking project.

Aromatic cedar is  the natural enemy of silver, and it smells better and it smells a lot better than mothballs. As I’ve noted in past posts, I’ve made quite a few cedar chests and gave away or sold most of them. I still have the first one I made, but it’s jammed full.

I set out to make another one, but both of the fine-lumber stores I use in Austin were out of cedar. Special ordering is a pain in the butt, mostly because of the wait time. The alternative was to make a chest I could simply line the inside with cedar.

It turned out to be less expensive and easier to build.

The first three side of the rectangle cube. The speed square in the upper right keeps it from being a trapezoid.

By cutting a 4-foot, by 4-foot piece of 9/16ths oak plywood along the grain into three equal sections,  there was plenty of lumber for 16-inch high long panels needed for the front and the back, and for the two side panels.

The chest takes shape.A

One they were formed into the rectangular cube with less-grade pine plywood for the floor, I glued tongue-and-groove cedar closet liner, available in most Home Depot outlets, to fill the inside.

Lining the box

For the top, I glued several planks of 3/4-by-6 and 3/4-by-4 red oak lumber. On the underside, a couple of lengths of 3/4-by-2 against the grain were added for support. The 1/2-by-3 planks were added to frame the outside of the box and to mask the butt ends of the plywood.

After sanding the outside, first with a medium-grit paper and then with fine-grit, I stained it black and sealed the outside with three coats of high-gloss polyurethane. Black fence hinges and handles gave it a little bit of a rustic look.

The build took about a day. Finishing took a few more to make sure each coat of poly dried thoroughly. Now it’s home to the winter wool.


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