Introduction: World War Two Bomber Toy Chest

I had a bit of history that wasn't in a condition to save but was still far too cool to get rid of, the insulated bottom half of a WWII fighter/bomber suit. Back before pressurized aircraft the pilots and crew had to face, in addition to the perils of war, the elements. Without a pressurized aircraft cabin it was nearly impossible to heat the interior of the planes. Warming the thin air was just to inefficient. Instead they piped oxygen directly to the crew and bundled them up in insulated arctic clothing. That clothing was the genesis of this idea.

I had the lower half of a flight suit but it had been badly stored. Both water and critters had taken their toll on my bit of aircraft history. I couldn't bare to get rid of it but due to the poor condition it wasn't a candidate for preservation or display. I had to come up with another use.

I try to build something every year for my son's school teachers, something useful and from our (he helps me) own hands. I knew that storage is always at a premium for a preschool classroom so a toy chest seemed like a great idea. In order to make it friendly for little backsides to sit and to incorporate some of the history of my materials, I covered the top of the chest with leather salvaged from the insulated World War Two coveralls. Accented with the covers of discarded history books and lined with pages from an old western, the chest was a big hit and I know that years later it is still in place serving young minds just like it served young men 70 years before.

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Bio: I am a teacher who enjoys environmentally responsible woodworking. Most evenings will find me in the shop working with my three year old son Shay ... More »
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