A few months back I was fortunate enough to travel to Japan. One of my highlights there was a visit to the Takenaka Carpentry Tools museum to learn a little more about traditional Japanese woodworking. I was amazed to see how much precision and detail could be achieved with nothing but hand tools .. and many of the techniques date back over a thousand years ago! What's even more impressive is that they didn't use any nails, screws or glue to join pieces of wood .. the wood joints are made so precise that they are plenty strong by themselves.

Meanwhile, a close friend of mine asked if I could make her a blanket chest. The only requirements were to make it 60x55x60cm and it should have a sliding compartment; apart from that, anything goes! Of course I had to try out as much of the stuff I picked up in Japan as I could. I won't claim I'm much of an experienced woodworker, given this is my first attempt to properly use a chisel. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed making this blanket chest, and I learned a *lot* in the process. Throughout this instructable, I will also add a list of "lessons learned" to some steps. Who knows, maybe you'll find some of it useful. Alright, enough talk, let's make a blanket chest!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Here's the list of all tools and materials I've used in this project. I'm sure there are many ways to achieve a similar end-result with a different set of tools, but just to give a rough idea:


  • Bandsaw (alternatively: table saw + jigsaw)
  • Chisels + mallet
  • Hand plane
  • Drill press (just a drill should be fine too)
  • Plunge router
  • Random orbit sander
  • Measuring tools (combination square, ruler, utility knife, pencil)


  • Wood:
    • a sheet of 2.8cm thick pine wood (to be precise, Scots pine wood)
    • a sheet of 1.8cm thick pine wood
  • Some metal hardware:
    • a pair of hinges
    • a latch/sliding lock
    • a chain
  • Wood glue
  • Walnut colour wood stai
  • Primer + black lacquer paint
  • Sandpaper (60 and 120 grit)
  • Double-sided tape
  • Stick-on table feet
<p>Beautiful ! Your friend is lucky. I really love the way you made the tray.</p>
<p>Thank you!</p>

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More by timmolderez:Japanese-styled blanket chest Indoor pet flap Watering cup 
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