How to Make a Cedar Chest

Making a cedar chest is an ambitious woodworking project. It may seem daunting at first, but learning how to make your own attractive and sturdy cedar chest can be a rewarding experience when you follow the right steps and use quality materials.

Not only will you have a beautiful functional piece of furniture for your home, but also you’ll gain valuable knowledge in carpentry that could come in handy throughout the course of your life. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything there is to know about how to make a cedar chest!

How to Make a Cedar Chest

If you have some woodworking experience and are looking for a great project to tackle, why not make a cedar chest? Not only is it an enjoyable and practical way to spend your time creating something beautiful, but the natural scent of cedar can add a luxurious touch to any living or sleeping space. Furthermore, building a wooden chest offers the opportunity to learn new woodworking techniques.

In this post, we’ll explain all the steps necessary for constructing your own unique cedar chest – from choosing between different types of cedar woods, understanding joinery methods, and picking out hardware, down to crafting intricate details such as dovetail joints. So grab your tools and let’s get started!

Benefits of a Cedar Chest

1. Practical Way to Spend Your Time Creating Something Beautiful

One of the most enjoyable aspects of How to Make a Cedar Chest is the fact that you will be creating something beautiful with your own hands. It may take some time and effort, but when completed, it can be considered a work of art as well as a practical piece of furniture.

2. Durability and Longevity

Cedar wood is one of the most durable materials available, and its natural properties make it highly resistant to damage from moisture, rot, and pests. This makes cedar an ideal material for crafting a chest that will last for many years.

3. Aromatic Beauty

Cedarwood has a uniquely pleasant aroma that is released when sanded or worked with tools. This makes it an ideal material when creating a chest since it will be enjoyed long after the project is complete.

4. An Opportunity to Express Your Creativity

As with any woodworking project, crafting a cedar chest provides an opportunity for self-expression and creativity. Choosing the design, stain or paint colors, and hardware are all ways to make the project unique and truly yours.

Make the Project Unique

5. An Heirloom in the Making

Finally, a cedar chest created with love and care can become an heirloom that is passed down through generations. A beautiful reminder of challenging times, hard work, and craftsmanship. Also, make sure to document the project process so that future generations may know how it was made.

Creating a cedar chest provides an opportunity to make something unique and long-lasting, all while expressing your creativity and leaving behind a legacy for future generations.

Building a cedar chest requires tools, materials, and knowledge of joinery techniques—all of which can be found in easy-to-follow tutorials. So grab your tools and get ready to make a piece of furniture that will last for years to come.

How to Make a Cedar Chest in 6 Easy Steps

Step 1: Gather All The Materials

The very first step is to gather all the materials you will need in order to make your cedar chest. You will need one 4×8 sheet of 3/4″ thick plywood, two 2×2 boards, one 2×4 board, four 1×2 boards, four 2-inch hinges, screws, and wood glue.

Step 2: Cut The Pieces

Cut the Pieces using a saw, begin by cutting the plywood into two equal. After this, measure and cut the 2×2 boards, 2×4 boards, and all four 1×2 boards to size. You have to make sure that the cuts are accurate and precise to ensure a secure fit.

Cut the Pieces Using a Saw

Step 3: Assemble The Sides

To assemble the sides of the cedar chest, start with one 2×2 board on the edge of one piece of plywood and glue it down to form the bottom edge. After this, attach two 1×2 boards on the top and bottom edges, using wood screws. For the sides, place two 1×2 boards on each side edge and glue them down then attach all four with screws.

Step 4: Assemble The Top

To assemble the top of your cedar chest, start by gluing a 2×4 board across one end of the remaining piece of plywood. Then glue and attach 1×2 boards along the edges and to the top of the 2×4 board.

Step 5: Attach The Hinges

To attach the hinges, place them on one side edge of your cedar chest, use screws to secure them in place. Make sure that the hinges are aligned with each other so they will open and close properly.

Step 6: Finish & Enjoy

The last step is to finish the cedar chest. You can either paint or stain it, depending on your preference. Once the finish has dried, you can now enjoy your very own homemade cedar chest!

Be careful when opening and closing the lid to make sure it is securely attached, and enjoy your new cedar chest!

By following these six easy steps, you can create a beautiful cedar chest in no time. With a few simple supplies and some patience, you’ll be able to make a stunning homemade piece of furniture that will surely last for many years to come.

Some Additional Tips to Make a Cedar Chest

1. Use Good Quality Wood

Select good quality cedar wood for your chest. Cedar is a strong, durable wood that smells pleasant, resists rot and insect infestations, and stands up to the elements. Also make sure the wood is free of any knots, gnarls, or blemishes that could weaken its structure.

Select Good Quality Cedar Wood

2. Sand & Finish Your Chest Properly

Sand your chest with fine-grit sandpaper until it’s smooth to the touch. Afterward, apply a coat of sealant or varnish for protection against moisture and wood rot. For additional protection, you may also want to add a few coats of polyurethane or lacquer.

3. Add Hardware to Your Chest

Finally, attach hardware such as hinges and latches to your chest so that it can be opened and closed securely. Make sure the hardware is strong enough to support the weight of the chest and its contents. Make sure to use rust-resistant screws, bolts, and nails for added durability.

4. Consider Reinforcing Your Chest

Depending on what you plan to store in your chest and how much weight it will have to bear, you may want to reinforce the interior with dowels or thick plywood boards. This will give the chest added strength and ensure that it can handle heavier loads.

5. Place Your Chest Strategically

Choose a location for your cedar chest that is dry, well-ventilated, and out of direct sunlight. This will help to protect your furniture from the elements and extend its life span. Additionally, make sure you place it on a level surface so that it won’t tip over.

Following these tips will make sure your chest looks great and lasts for years to come. With just a few simple steps, you can create an attractive and functional piece of furniture for your home. Good luck with your cedar chest project!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Precautions Should I Take When Working With Cedar?

When working with cedar, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Always use protective eyewear and gloves when handling woodworking tools and sawdust. Make sure you are wearing long sleeves and pants that cover your arms and legs while sanding or using power tools. It’s also important to make sure your workspace is well-ventilated. Cedar dust can be toxic if inhaled and cause respiratory issues.

What Are the Best Tools for Making a Cedar Chest?

When making a cedar chest, you will need some basic woodworking tools including saws, sanders, chisels and drills. You will also need a router, clamps and jigsaw for more intricate work. If you are not sure what type of saw or drill to use, consult a professional woodworker or hardware store employee who can help you select the right tools for your project.

You Will Need Some Basic Woodworking Tools

What Are the Different Stains and Finishes That Can Be Used on Cedar?

There are many different types of stains and finishes available for cedar. These include oil-based, water-based, varnishes, lacquers, and polyurethanes. Each type of finish provides a different look, so it’s important to consider the desired appearance before selecting a stain or finish.


Congratulations on building your one-of-a-kind cedar chest! Now you have a clear idea of how to make a cedar chest. Not only have you completed a meaningful and long-lasting addition to be kept for generations, but you have also improved your skills in carpentry and DIY projects at home.

Take the time to appreciate the unique craftsmanship that you just made. 

Your cedar chest can tell its own story, reminding future generations of all the hard work and effort that went into making it.

Reflect on what it stands for – family, tradition, and quality – as you cherish this cherished piece of furniture. With a few basic tools and some patience, anyone can make something special out of a simple piece of wood.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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