Friday, December 07, 2012

My mother's hope chest, revisited

A few months ago I mentioned getting rid of stuff.  One of the items I was going to do something with was my mother's hope chest, which was made for her by her dad when she was a teenager.  It had been stored in the barn for years.  I had made a feeble, very unsuccessful attempt to remove the varnish, which only put the poor thing in worse shape.  In 2010 I did an entry about it, with pictures, HERE.  
My children are not sentimental about family mementoes passed down from people they never knew.  I have no skills or patience at working with furniture... I'm the person who doesn't even bother to decorate her home.  I sort of camp out wherever I live and I am perfectly happy that way.  I was going to pay someone to restore the chest to its former glory, but once Cliff retired, we didn't have extra funds for that.  
A cousin in Iowa read my entry last summer and emailed me, saying that if nobody else wanted the chest, she would take it.  I was so happy to know this piece of furniture, made by my grandfather's hands, would stay in the family.  Pauline has several children, so there is a good chance it will be in the family for more generations.  She sent me an email to let me know what she has done so far, and to tell me of the plans she has for this treasure.

Here's what she had to say about the project:  
"I am glad that I have the chest pretty well sanded.  I still have to work on a couple of the legs and a couple spots on the top.  I have decided to use wood pegs to attach the legs.  And won't put the wheels back on.  The lid is still a challenge.  I think we will have to shim around the edges of the top of the chest or possibly even turn the lid upside down.  I couldn't believe how many nails were in those legs.  Just taking them off was a challenge.  But it is starting to look good.  Our oldest son, Jeff made a cedar chest when he was in high school, about 32 years ago.  Since we save almost everything, I still had some pieces of cedar left.  Now the question becomes, Where did I put it?  It took me a couple days to find, as I had moved it from the store room to the basement and finally to an out building in a barrel.  After looking in the first two places my memory finally kicked in and I was able to find it.  So I got the boards cut and are ready to lay in the bottom of the chest.  I have enough that I could line the sides, but I don't think I will." 

 So the chest is saved for future generations.  I'm happy, and glad I have a cousin industrious and talented enough to tackle this project.  Cliff and I laughed at her comment about the nails, because we are pretty sure one of my parents was responsible for that.  I think the legs fell off and they just nailed them back on any which way.    


Helen said...

Looks like she is doing a great job.

Jean said...

It's going to be so pretty when she gets through working on it, and to think just how old it will be. My husband and I refinished an old dresser that some one had give my son years back and it was old then, when he moved out of his trailer I told him I would take the old dresser. It looks real nice we have it store away in the shed. I don't have room in the house. I now have it all wrapped up in a thick comforter maybe one day.

Paula said...

It looks like a good strudy chest and it made an interesting entry. I still have my Limed Oak hope chest from the 50's in the garage. It's kind of ugly now with a broken leg but the chedar still smells good inside.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Some people have a knack for that kind of thing and the patience to do it too. I don't. Glad your chest found a good home.