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Thread: Lane Cedar Chest repair/restoration. A work in progress.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940

    Lane Cedar Chest repair/restoration. A work in progress.

    Hi folks!

    A friend of mine gave me a nice Lane cedar chest and I went to pick it up yesterday. He said that it needed some repair and TLC and that he had planned on doing it but just never got around to it. When he saw a post about all the woodworking I've been doing, he sent me a PM and asked me if I'd like to have it and give it a shot. I said sure thing and went to pick it up. I had no idea what to expect. He told me that the lock had been punched out (I'm assuming that the key had been lost) and that the hinges had been repaired at least once. When I got there, it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.

    I got it home and didn't have much going on so I tore into it. One corner of the lid was busted up and missing, the lock area does need some attention, the hinge mounting area needed repair, and I found that the base of it had some issues too. Well I've already repaired the busted up corner of the lid and repaired the hinge mounting areas. I removed the base and I plan on just recreating it in solid wood instead of the particle board/veneer that it's currently made of. I'll throw up a few pics as the project progresses. I'm going to strip it down and refinish the entire outside because it's really dark wood. I think I'll use a medium to dark shade but maybe a little lighter than the original. I'm also going to reupholster the seat.

    I looked at the Lane web site yesterday to see if I may be able to purchase a new lock because it has no key. I found out that if it was manufactured before 1987 (which I think it was), there was a recall and they provide a free replacement lock and latch assembly! Apparently, a couple children have become trapped inside and suffocated with the old style locks.

    Stay tuned!
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940
    Here we go. Pic set number one. This is what I started with. A shot of the whole chest, the damaged seat corner, and the area I repaired where the hinges were torn out. (forgot to take a before pic on that area).

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    All that in one day!
    Last edited by John Pollman; 01-13-2013 at 03:08 AM.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Posts
    5,320
    Nice project, John! I did a similar one (my Mother's) a few years back. For some reason, the hinges Lane used weren't all that great. I had to replace them with similar ones I got from the Lee Valley Hardware catalog. Latch/lock were okay on that one, though, but I had to re-do the lifting/support mechanism for the tray under the lid.

    BTW - I'm sure you already know this, but the aromatic cedar doesn't take much of any finish well. Besides, the interior isn't supposed to be finished - just sanded to bring out the aroma.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940
    Oh yeah, I'm just going to hit the interior lightly with a little 180 or 220 and it'll be good to go.

    The original hinges were gone and someone had used a completely different type of hinge on there. Even those were torn out on both of them. I patched both areas just like in the pic. I'm going to get some nice hinges to replace them with. There's a little damage to the back of the lid on one side too. But I'll be able to fix that up fine to accept the screws for the new hinges.

    The aluminum strip on the inside of the lid that is supposed to seal it was in rough shape too so I removed it. I don't know if I'll be able to get replacement for it or not. I may call Lane on Monday and see. If it's available, I'll get some and replace it. If not, I'll let it go and not worry about it.
    '
    Last edited by John Pollman; 01-13-2013 at 03:04 AM.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940
    Got the new lock today. (actually found it in the mailbox about 7:30 this evening) I decided to get a start on repairing the damage from someone breaking out the old lock because of a lost key. Spent a couple hours in the shop and it's repaired. Got the new piece machined and installed. I'll let the glue set overnight and then finish up tomorrow. I've got just a little more sanding to do to finish stripping the outside. Then a minor repair to the lid where the hinges go and I'm going to fabricate a new solid wood base to replace the damaged particle board/veneer base. Then it's ready for new hinges and a finish!
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,448
    Your progress is amazing (makes me want to start the cedar chest that I have been putting off redoing for years).

    I couldn't see if the inside of the lid was finished, but a zinger that I have seen on multiple forums... the cedar "aroma" contains a chemical that is also in paint removers, so even if the inside of the lid is not cedar, you still might want to leave it unfinished. The usual comment is that the inside part that is finished becomes soft, or sometimes the finish even becomes sticky.

    When I have had to include a cedar drawer bottom for a customer, I use Spanish cedar, which has a milder smell, and doesn't seem to impact the finish (based on cigar humidors). Thus I don't have personal experience with aromatic cedar and finishes.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940
    I'll post pics later of the lock area repair. It came out pretty well! The lock button just protrudes the front of the chest through a 3/4" hole. There are some curved recesses cut into the back side of the front of the chest that the lock mounts too. I don't have any rounded router bits right now and didn't want to buy one just for this job. I ended up cutting out the damaged section of the chest that had been busted up to get into it. I used a piece of 1x pine and drilled the hole with a forstner bit. I used my trim router to make the curved recess for the top of the lock where it wraps over the front. Then I used a little larger forstner bit, a sacrificial scrap block, and some clamps to machine the recess for the lock. It worked perfectly!

    I was kind of bummed because after doing a little research (on craigslist), it looks like these chests aren't worth quite as much as I thought. My first thought was maybe $300 when it's repaired and restored. There are some out there in the $300 range, but they're the ones from the 40's and 50's. This one is from 1978. My sister is a big time quilter and she'd love to have a place to store some of her quilts. She also has a very small living room and could desperately use a little more seating in there. I just talked to her a little bit ago and I think that I'm going to finish the repair and I think we might just paint it instead of staining it. I'm just going to hit the inside lightly with some 220 sandpaper and call it good. It's in good shape, but a light sanding will bring back some of the aroma.

    A lot of the ones that are around the age of mine are in the $150 range usually. I think I'll get it fixed up for her and give her a good deal on it. This was a fun project and it will be useful for her.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
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    940
    Here are some shots of what I had to deal with as far as the lock damage issue.

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    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940
    Got the base finished!

    At this point, I just have to do a little wood repair on the rear of the lid for the new hinges. I decided to just build a new solid wood base instead of trying to repair the particle board/veneer one that was on it originally. Here's what I started with, and what I built today.

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    Here's what it looks like upright with the lid installed (set in place)

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    Last edited by John Pollman; 01-23-2013 at 12:45 AM.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  10. #10
    Glad to see you really meant wood replacement on that base!

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