Blanket Chest: Episode 1

Blanket Chest Episode 1 Keyframe

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We’re ready to get started with the blanket chest. With the stock chosen and prepared, Paul starts with the initial shaping of the legs.


  1. scottk on 28 March 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Paul. Looks like a great project but just wanted to say that the lower camera angle doesn’t quite look right to me, the foreground of the bench is a bit ‘looming’, if that makes sense? A few inches higher would make a big difference I think.

    All the best,

  2. Randy Ewart on 28 March 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Inspiring, Paul and Team. Thank you.

  3. David B on 28 March 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Just curious–Paul is obviously incredibly skilled with his ability to get everything very precise and accurate. That said, are the pieces he uses milled with power tools at all or does he mill everything down to spec by hand? The legs are perfectly square and identical in every way that I can see from my perch. Just curious if machines play any part of that? (the wood is beautiful, btw).

    • Robert King on 28 March 2018 at 9:52 pm

      From what I’ve seen in previous videos he does everything by hand. There are videos on how to prepare your wood. I believe they are in the technical section of videos.

      I’ve always used power tools, but now I wonder why….. it takes a bit of getting used to but there’s something special about making things by hand.

    • Craig on 28 March 2018 at 10:18 pm

      Phil answered this in another thread, but I can”t find it right now.
      Paul uses machines to prepare the stock close to finished size and then planes all the surfaces by hand to finish.

    • david o'sullivan on 29 March 2018 at 12:43 am

      I believe he uses machines to break down stock for each project bandsaw planer etc,however each piece must be finished of with hand tools .you plug everything out and out with the hand tools .you must remember Paul has a school that’s a lot of material to be hand prepped. Not practical. The only machine I have is a bandsaw .i break everything down with that put I flat face and square edge on one side and I am good to go

  4. tomleg on 28 March 2018 at 11:23 pm

    Feel like I’m in Yoga class … Get your body lined up; feel the plate; ….

  5. Ulf Koellmann on 30 March 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Thanks for the very good and instructional video, I always learn something watching Paul perform his craft and am looking forward to the rest of the series.

    I usually have problems getting a decent surface out of a Spokeshave. It would be great if you could do a seperate video on that issue in the future. Is sharpening and setting it lower all there is to it, or are there other tricks of the trade Paul can show us?

    • Philip Adams on 3 April 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Hello Ulf, a video showing a few tricks on using the spokeshave is a great idea. I’ll have a think about it. Our spoon carving project is a good one for that as well.

  6. Peter Gaffney on 31 March 2018 at 12:13 am

    I appreciate that Paul demonstrates how to overcome the difficulties he has instead of editing them out. I would like to know, having seen a card scraper used near the end of the video, how Paul would do that final bit of blending in softwoods that card scrapers don’t work in. Sandpaper around a glue bottle or some other technique? Great video!

    • Philip Adams on 3 April 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Hello Peter, you can often use a freshly sharpened card scraper, try and get it off the cutting edge or otherwise use sandpaper, often just with the hand rather than around an object. We tend to only use a block or rounded object if you are trying to flatten or even out a surface, so that may be applicable here.

  7. bcullen on 3 April 2018 at 3:19 am

    How much of a gap should I have between the cap iron and the toe of my spokeshave? Mine touches. I’ve filed off all the paint on the cap iron. Then I filed the inside of the throat but I’m only left with a couple of thousands of an opening. Is this just poor quality of the new Stanley’s, should I try a Veritas or Nelson? My spokeshave is definitely NOT showing me the love, but I promise I will persevere.

    • Philip Adams on 4 April 2018 at 11:43 am

      Hello Brian, that does sound a bit tight! Can the cap iron sit any higher? Not that is should have to. Does it tend to clog up with shavings? If you’re still stuck, contact us through the contact form including images and I will see if I can help further.

  8. Michael Bode on 10 April 2018 at 8:24 pm

    I have trouble getting the sized pieces for the project, namely the legs. Can smaller pieces be combined, glued up and THEN chiseled, or does the wood fall apart?

    • Philip Adams on 13 April 2018 at 4:12 pm

      Laminating stock from thinner stock for the legs should work just fine, you just can’t make up the length from shorter pieces. Hope that helps.

      • ehisey on 13 April 2018 at 8:05 pm

        Philip, any suggestions on the best pattern to use for these? Since the corners are angled I am having a hard time figuring out what would work best between the shaping , dado and mortising needs.

      • Philip Adams on 16 April 2018 at 4:01 pm

        Paul didn’t think it critical as long as it is laminated carefully, particularly in good quality wood. I would aim to have all the legs in the same orientation.

  9. robdavies on 24 September 2018 at 4:11 pm

    I’m about to start this project but I am wanting to use it as an ottoman so it would need to be able to support 2 people potentially sitting on it alongside a fair bit of weight inside and it will also be around 55 inches in length. Paul says you can scale it up but my question is would this design be suitable/strong enough for this purpose? And if not would scaling up on the thickness of the timber and therefore size of joinery help? I would be using ash for the project.
    Also could you tell me what make and model of saw Paul is using for those rip cuts?

    • harry wheeler on 24 September 2018 at 5:50 pm

      I don’t know about the saw question, but I built the chest exactly like Paul’s original design out of hard maple and I can tell you that it is extremely strong. You really wouldn’t need to change anything other than the dimensions and it would be fine. Increasing the thickness of the material won’t gain you very much in terms of strength. Making the rails wider than the 4″ width Paul used would increase their strength but I think it might also upset the visual balance he achieved with the proportions he used so I would simply add 20″ to the length and not worry about it. At that length though, you might want to consider a center style in the front and back as well as the lid with two raised panels in each just for the aesthetics but that would be the only reason for that change. It’s a lot of fun to build. You’ll get lots of shaping experience with those legs. Good luck with it!

      • robdavies on 24 September 2018 at 8:09 pm

        Thanks for that Harry, have put this project off for a while due to my concerns, so glad to hear all will be ok as per Paul’s dimensions as it makes life easier. I’m about to purchase a new plough plane for this and I’m pretty set on the Veritas small plough.

        Did you use a plywood base as per Paul’s instructions? Just wondering if there’s something else I could use that may be stronger.

        • harry wheeler on 24 September 2018 at 8:54 pm

          Hi Rob. I had enough hard maple laying around and I just decided to use that for the bottom in mine but really not for strength. Plywood is pretty tough stuff and the good part about it is it doesn’t expand and contract like solid wood does. I had to leave a little extra cross grain expansion room for my bottom panel because of that but trim strips cover that up anyway. Strength wise, that thing will handle anything you want to put in it regardless of what you use for the bottom.

          As you see, there is a lot of plowing to do on the chest and for you, there will be even more because of the longer rails so a good plow plane is essential. I’ve got an old Stanley 45 that I use and actually, the only problem I had was on one leg where my 45 (I nicknamed that thing Lucifer) decided to readjust itself slightly so I ended up remaking that leg. I’ve always heard good things about the Veritas though and one of these days I might bite the bullet and obtain one of those babies.

          It’s a fun build and has more than enough challenges. Watching Paul’s latest Eco Bin build reminded me of another thing I ran into on the chest and that was a couple of slight discrepancies at the rail/leg shoulder lines. I had to scratch my head for a while before I realized that all I I needed to do was take a shaving off one side of the mating leg surface to get rid of the gaps. You might run into the same issue but it’s really easy to fix. Careful with the haunched tenons too. I got a little carried away fettling one of mine as I tried to fit the shoulders and ended up putting a little wedge in it to conceal the gap. I’m sure you’ll enjoy building this and it’s really impressive looking when it’s done.

          • robdavies on 24 September 2018 at 9:30 pm

            It is a lot of dosh but I’m sure I won’t regret it in the long run. Thanks for all the info on your own project, really very helpful.

    • Philip Adams on 26 September 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Hi Rob, the saw is a modern Spear & Jackson. See more details here:

  10. robdavies on 3 October 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Hi all

    I’ve had to laminate stock to make up the sizes for my legs and although Paul sets leg sizes at 2 1/8 x 3 1/4 mine are slightly undersized at 2 1/8 x 3 1/8. Will I be ok with these slightly smaller sizes or should I start over.

    Cheers Rob

    • harry wheeler on 4 October 2018 at 7:33 pm

      You won’t notice a 1/8″ variance Rob.

      • robdavies on 4 October 2018 at 10:18 pm

        Thanks Harry, didn’t think it would be an issue but just wanted to confirm before I went through the effort of shaping and grooving the legs.
        By the way I purchased the veritas small plough and its a great tool to use and worth every penny in my book.

    • Izzy Berger on 5 October 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Rob,

      Paul says it will be fine at those measurements but you may have to check on your sizing as you go.

      Kind Regards,

  11. Michael Cameron on 5 November 2018 at 5:32 am

    Any reason not to cut the leg kick with a bow saw?

  12. chason Hayes on 19 October 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Why not step cut before chiseling? That is the way he teaches it in the book.

    • Izzy Berger on 22 October 2019 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Chason,

      If you’re referring to Paul removing the waste wood (around 27 minutes) he didn’t do a step down here because he was removing the bulk of the waste and it wasn’t necessary.

      Kind Regards,

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