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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ed Roos Cedar Blanket Chest Model # 5205 (Ca. 1930)

Sometimes a little detective work really pays off. I recently restored a blanket chest for a customer. The chest looked to be an early 1930's chest in a Jacobean style ( this style, especially with turned feet, was popular in the early to mid 1930's). The chest was void of any stamps or makers marks and I assumed it was probably a Lane chest form Altavista, Virginia. While working on the chest I discovered on the bottom of the chest the numbers "5205". I entered this number and cedar chest into Google and found out that this chest was a chest made by the Ed Roos Cedar Chest Company of Forest Park, Illinois. For more on the history of this company and to view some other examples, follow this link:


Here are links to some photos of the Ed Roos Factory:



The chest I was working was made from cedar, with poplar as a secondary wood and walnut veneer. It had some structural issues as well as finish issues. The legs were loose and one fell off entirely in the shop. The chest was also missing its front rail between the front legs. The finish was damaged in several areas and because of this (and the customers desire to have the piece a different color) we decided to strip the finish off. Below are several photos of the work and the finished product.

Here is a photo of the chest when it entered my shop.
This detail shot shows some damage to the finish on the top.

Here is a photo of the broken leg!

This next photo shows the base of the chest being glued in place.

A detail shot of the foot being glued back in place.

In this photo, you can see the new front rail being attached to the chest, as well as the gluing of some more loose joinery.

This photo shows the chest stripped and sanded, ready for stain and finishing.

The color of the stain chosen was based on a sample given by the customer. This photo shows the chest after staining.

The next three photos show the chest during the finishing process. This is followed by four more photos of the chest completed.


  1. wow! beautiful work=) most excellent~

  2. gorgeous, can you do mine, it is the exact same chest.

  3. Beautiful work, and thank you for posting the informational link about Roos! You have a very nice site.

  4. I have a small Roos Sealtite lid Cedar chest that I purchased from a neighbor. It is very small, more like a child's size. It has the original paper on the lid giving instructions on the proper use of the chest and on the bottom there is a paper that is partially torn that states-'Ed Roos Company of Forest Park, Edward Roos President, Forest Park, Illinois(suburb of Chicago). I can not find any numbers or dates on the chest, although there is also a stamped mark inside the lid. This chest was painted white and is presently very "Shabby Chic". I don't know if was painted originally. The other thing that I have noticed is that there are wing four wing nuts on the bottom of the chest, and the chest sits up on little turned legs. Any idea what it might be worth?

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  6. I have a Roos cedar chest from 1941. some of the veneer needs to replace, and the walnut I get from Rockler is to dark when stained. I exchanged it for African Mahognay. When stained color looks a lot closer to the 1941 walnut, except for the grain pattern. What type of walnut did Roos use back then?