DIY With the Doctor: Transform Old Cedar Chest to Memory Chest

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My dad will always be my favorite person. He died April 20, 2016. It meant the world to me to get his personal belongings back from his wife. I was overwhelmed with my Dad's most precious personal effects and didn't want to just stick them in boxes in the attic. Instead I decided to turn an old beat up Lane Cedar Chest I found at Habitat for Humanity (one of my favorite stores) into a personalized Memory Chest with a bench seat to hold my Dad's things where I could pull them out and sit and look at them. Here's what the Chest looked like when I started:  

 

Not pretty  

Not pretty  

The front handles were broken and missing

The front handles were broken and missing

The top was a mess

The top was a mess

The inside is gorgeous. Beautiful smelling cedar with the original Lane tags. So let the sanding begin.  

Once it was thoroughly sanded I stained it with Minwax Dark Walnut, everything at Cavalleria has this stain. We use a standard pallet here for the entire farm.  

I bought some new pine trim and used wood conditioner first. it helps with the pores of soft wood, so take the time and do this step. Let it dry about 15 minutes then start staining. I put four coats of stain on the trim. 

Next I measured for the trim cuts and cut the trim on my Chop Saw. I sanded down any rough edges and stained the pieces again.  

Using a Brad Nailer I attached the trim to the chest. It was beautiful. Now for the personalization.  

I bought cardboard letters in my Dad's initials at Hobby Lobby. I spray painted them using Rustoleum Oiled Rubbed Bronze. You all know I spray paint tons of things instead of buying new or throwing away. The letters turned out great. I Brad Nailed them on and hit the trim and the front of the letters with one more coat of stain to cover up the nail holes. My Dad's personalized memory chest is coming together. 

Next I wanted a bench seat on top of the chest, so using a piece of remnant fabric from our bedroom drapes I added foam to the top of the chest, then cut the fabric to size and stapled it on. Perfect. Project complete.  

...and I love it. It's personalized. And it's special.  

 

I love it. It sits in my dressing room now so I see it every day. It's got a great old world feel. 

I love it. It sits in my dressing room now so I see it every day. It's got a great old world feel. 

Remnant fabric from Master Bedroom drapes I made five years ago  

Remnant fabric from Master Bedroom drapes I made five years ago  

I love you Dad and I miss you. I hope you like your new chest.