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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lane Cedar Chest with Walnut Veneer (ca.1950)

One of the pieces I am currently working on is a Cedar blanket chest with Walnut veneer. This chest was made by the Lane Furniture Company in Altavista, Virginia. I have worked on many of these chests in the past and they came in many different shapes and sizes. I think that all of the chests had Walnut veneer. Lane is still in business and I read on their website that between 1912 and 1987, Lane manufactured and sold an estimated 12 million cedar chests. For a look at the Lane furniture company history, follow the link below. I also found a link to a recall for the Lane locks. If you have small children and one of these chests you might want to follow the link below the history link:



The chest I received had a lot of veneer damage and the finish needed to be removed and replaced. below are several photos of the work with descriptions of the process.

Here are two photos of the chest as it came to me. I had already started removing the finish from the top when I took these photos,so the top looks a little glossy.

Here is a photo of the chest with the finish removed.
The top had lost a lot of its veneer and several patches were necessary. the photo below shows one of the damaged areas.
In order to cut a patch to size I sometimes make a rubbing of the damaged area on paper and tape the paper to the veneer. I then cut out the patch along the edges of the paper. below is a photo of the rubbing above the damaged area.
The next step is to place the patch over the damaged area and cut scribe the edges and remove the excess veneer so that the patch will fit into the space.
The last step before gluing is to scape any dirt and old glue out of the damaged area. In this photo I have added a little space for a second patch on the right side.
Here is a photo of all of the patches and loose veneer being glued down on the top of the chest.
Here is the patch described above in place. the excess over hanging the edge of the top will be cut off flush.
The next three photos show several other patches glued in place around the top.

Once the patches were sanded flush and the excess was trimmed off. the patches were stained to blend in with the top. the next two photos show this.

This photo shows loose trim which was glued back in place.
On one side of the chest, the feet were missing the veneer completely. the next few photos show the veneer being replaced

Here is a photo of the veneer being glued on the back foot.
This photo shows the veneer glued in place. the excess was trimmed off and the veneer was stained to match the chest.
The next two shots show the chest with a few coats of finish on it.

Sometimes when I get patches laid out well, I stain them to blend them into the existing wood rather than using touch up powder to Faux the grain. This is not always possible, but I like the results when it works. The patches are still visible upon close inspection, but they look very natural. Below are three photos of the patches during the finishing process.

The last three photos show the chest about two thirds through the finishing process. I will post some photos of the chest when it is completed


  1. Wow, beautiful restoration, thank you so much for sharing. Just dusted off a Cedar Chest from 1940 and wanted to bring it to life again. Great photos, thanks again!

  2. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really

    enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you

    post again soon.

  3. I just got an old Lane Chest with veneer off all over the place (it was about to be thrown out). Is it possible to remove all of the veneer,sand the wood and just apply a stain instead of new veneer?

    1. I have the same situation and am wondering the exact same thing. The inside is beautiful and if I can get the outside to look 1/2 as nice, I would really like that.

    2. Does anyone have an answer for this question? I need to know also.

    3. I too have the exact same question. I wonder if the veneer has a purpose I am unaware of. I would hate to take it all off when it is needed.

    4. I have the same question. I'm hoping that the craftsman will notice if a new post appears, and answer us.

  4. Do you know how I can buy a complete lock and key for my Lane Cedar Chest? It was made in 1915.

    1. They are giving them away for free, for safety reasons. Go to the Lane website.

  5. Wow great job! I must say coming from a family of master craftsmen I am very impressed with how well it blended. Attention to detail is becoming a lost art.

  6. You manage to restore it beautifully and it looks like new again. This is why I love log furniture because it never goes out of fashion. The details and design of that chest is really nice and you truly have a talent because you managed to repair all those damages in the details. That is really hard to do.

  7. Wayne Weir November 10, 2014
    Beautiful. Because of your blogspot I am currently in the process of restoring my mothers circa 1946 Lane chest style #2138. The top, thankfully is ok except for the right and left trim. It is peeling at the bend and a few in the straight edge. Otherwise it is fine. The bottom edge of the base is the worst and is splintered and peeling up to 2.5 inches from the bottom. Thanks to you I am going to attempt what you have shown and replace the veneer that is damaged. I appreciate your post because I was almost going to just cover the bottom with a cover board. Thanks again for your encouragement.

    1. Just saw your post. Thanks for the kind words. How did it go?