Many years ago, chests like this were commonplace. They were used for travel and storage and came in many different styles and sizes. Often built from lightweight crate wood, the chests were covered with crystalized metal, enameled iron, canvas, leather, horsehide (hair included!) or other materials and were usually lined with paper, linen or cloth.
Those old chests are hard to find and expensive now, but here's a do-it-yourself project to build two different antique chest reproductions at a fraction of the cost of buying. The dimensions for the round-top chest design (pictured) and the flat-top design (not pictured) are based on antique sources, but the materials and hardware have been selected for ease of construction and current availability.
Both chests are made from pine and plywood, with leather or naugahyde for the trim, straps and handles, muslin or percale for the linings, and assorted hardware. The choice of coverings and linings make each chest unique and can complement any room or setting.
The finished round-top chest measures 30 inches long by 21 inches tall by 18 inches deep, and the flat-top chest measures 36 inches long by 16 inches tall by 18 inches deep.
The Antique Chests plan, No. 762, is $6.50 and includes complete step-by-step instructions with photos, full-size traceable patterns, exploded diagrams and shopping lists and cutting schedules.
In addition, a 112-page catalog picturing hundreds of other do-it-yourself projects is available for $3.95. Prices include sales tax, postage and handling.
To order, clip this article and send it along with a check or money order to Steve Ellingson, c/o St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 2383, Van Nuys, CA 91498-2383. Specify plan number and allow 3-4 weeks for delivery (for first-class mail, add $1 per item).