Furniture Painting

A Cedar Chest Is More Than Just A Piece Of Furniture

My First Memories Of A Cedar Chest

I absolutely love cedar chests. It’s another one of those things from my childhood that really has a place in my heart. I remember my grandmother’s cedar chest sitting at the foot of the bed in the spare bedroom. That’s the bedroom I slept in when I was a little girl, and she always let me look in there. She had special trinkets and things that she had saved, and mementos that meant something special to her, that she kept in there.

When I got a little older, maybe 10-12, I found out about hope chests.  My grandmother let me use her cedar chest as my hope chest. It felt so special to know that the treasures inside were mine. I saved S&H green stamps from the local Piggly Wiggly, where my mama worked and started saving up for when I got married. I got a sewing machine, and I had my first set of dishes in there. They were so beautiful, brown and white scenery printed on them, and I got towels and blankets and curtains and all those things. I had saved up for the day that I would finally have a home of my own. I was actually 15 years old when I got my first home and got married on my 16th birthday.

What I love, and not so much

I love the look and smell of cedar and the beautiful red, yellow, and cream color tones that come with it. We actually have our window casings made out of a cedar tree that I used to climb when I was a little girl. My husband took the tree that had fallen from a storm and ran it through his sawmill and then his molder, and made the window seats and the casing for me, and it means a lot.

Cedar is great for resisting bugs and water. It is a soft wood so it is hard to get nails and things to stay in. Cedar chests are a beautiful, safe piece to keep and store your treasures in. You often see them clear coated to a high shine finish, I don’t know why I dislike that so much, but I do. It cheapens it to me and it is just not necessary.

A New Look For This Cedar Chest

I was so thrilled when I found this cedar chest, it is a Lane, which is the number one brand for as many years as I can remember. This particular one was a waterfall style, which was very popular in the 1930s. It has a tray inside up top to keep small things and a locking mechanism, but I did not have the key. It has the Lane logo branded to the inside, and the shelf is felt-lined.  I cleaned that really well and cleaned out the inside with Dixie Belle white lightning in the outside as well, and then removed all of the veneer that was on the outside. I used Big Mama’s Butta with a little cedarwood oil to revive the inside.

A veneer is when they make a piece of furniture out of cheaper wood and then put very thin strips, like 1/32 of an inch, of a more expensive type of wood, on the outside of it. This is still done today to make it look like it’s solid mahogany or solid cherry or another expensive exotic wood. We scraped all of that off and got down just to the original wood.

I painted this with Silk all-in-one paint in Endless Shore and added Silk Hampton olive to the details, and Dixie Bell Best Dang Wax in brown to the accents. I top-coated it with Dixie Belle Clear Coat Satin before adding the Bells and Whistle‘sMagnolia Garden Transfer.

A Beautiful Finish

I wanted it to look subdued and calming and beautiful, and to fit into the environment of someone my age who would still appreciate what a cedar chest means. Very traditional. I love how it turned out.

This piece actually sold within less than a week. I paid $50 for it I put about $40 into it and sold it for $250 it was a very successful flip for me and the new owner just loves it.

I would love to hear your cedar/hope chest memories!

Do you still have one, have you passed it on?



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