I made a pair of these blanket boxes a few years ago, and finally got around to taking photos and publishing the result.
While I’d love to take the credit for the design, it’s actually a modified version of the design that was published in The Stanley Book of Woodwork – Tools, Techniques and Projects by Mark Finney. Note that some editions of the book might not have this project in it – my copy is from 1994 and has a different cover.
The changes I made to the plans involve making the overall box slightly longer to better suit a queen-sized bed, and small changes to the plinth such as to make the corners rounded rather than sharp mitres. Anyone that has walked across a room in the dark will appreciate rounded corners where furniture meets the floor.
The piece was made out of New Zealand Macrocarpa – a fine-grained pine which is easy to work with. Getting knot-free timber isn’t so easy though, I spent hours searching around a sawmill to pick out the best clear grade pieces with as few knots as possible. Macrocarpa is initially a pale-coloured pine, but after ageing for a couple of years it turns a beautiful honey-gold colour, quite similar to old Kauri.
The top needs a stay to stop it from opening too far and straining the hinges. I chose a single friction-stay which is mounted on the right-hand side. This gives just the right amount of resistance to give the top a heavy feel when opening, and it also slows down the top if if falls shut and prevents it from banging down too hard.
The raised panels are proper floating type – they sit in grooves cut into the posts, rails, & stiles of the carcase without any glue. This allows the panels to expand and contract with temperature and moisture variations throughout the year. The panels were shaped with a vertical-type raised panel router bit, using a fairly big router mounted in a home-made router table.
The top is simply joined from four pieces of 150mm wide Macrocarpa. I think the original plans specified a cleat across the top on the inside of the top to hold them together – but I avoided this as it makes the top heavier and it’s a bit of a cheat when you really should be doing precision joins on such a top.
For the edges of the top I used a plain and simple bullnose profile. I could have cut a fancy profile with any of a few dozen router bits that I have, but instead I hand-planed and sanded the edges of the top into a smooth semi-rounded profile. This accentuates the grain nicely as it curves and rolls over the edges of the top.
The box is finished with hand-rubbed Rustin’s Teak Oil – both inside and out. The outside, and top in particular, is polished with Briwax paste wax.