Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 291/365 Hope Chest

So it all started with the earthquake...which knocked over boxes of books....which meant I needed to set up a table to re-sort boxes of books on ....which meant I needed the room occupied by seven tubs of gourds...and those gourds sat on top of *this*....

A Lane cedar chest, in all it's 1970's orange with white vinyl glory. I had forgotten about buying it at an estate sale, at least four or five years ago.

We see a lot of Lane cedar chests in these parts, being that the company was established in Altavista Virginia in 1912. They struggled for a few years, until World War I came along and Lane scored a government contract to build pine ammo boxes by the thousands. After the war, the company used the new mass production techniques to build cedar hope chests. A "hope chest" was a traditional gift for a young woman with the idea that she would make quilts, embroider linens, sew her wedding dress and trousseau and then stash them all in her Lane cedar chest. With the beginning of World War II, Lane pitched their advertising to departing GI's -asking them to buy a hope chest for the girl they left behind. During the 1950's, the Lane Company gave a miniature cedar chest to every young woman graduating from a Virginia high school (stil have my mother's, and see one at almost every estate sale).

After building thousands of cedar chests in hundreds of styles, Lane was absorbed in a hostile takeover in 1987, with the new owner filing for bankruptcy in 1992, and the last American-built Lane cedar chest rolled off the lines in 2001.

This one has obviously seen better days (or maybe not - I'm not sure if burnt orange and white vinyl looked good even when it was brand new).

At any rate - I've bought another wooden blanket chest to sell at the booth, so I get to keep this one -first step is to remove that gross white vinyl padded top.

Ick. Ick. Ick.

A sneak peek at the beautiful wood -it's a cedar back.

And the bottom - that circle in the middle is literally a tight plug known as the Aroma-Tite.

When I peel back that icky vinyl, this is what's left of the 40 year old padding.

It flakes off easily, leaving no residue at all.

The inside is pristine - and the cedar aroma just rolls out of it.

The Aroma-Tite plug from the inside.

The famous Lane signature.

So now I've got it cleaned up and ready to.....do what? Right now I'm planning on painting the base a deep matte black, and then staining the top a deep mahogany. Anyone with a better suggestion?

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