Refinishing a Wood Hope Chest?

I have my mom's Hope Chest from 1942. The inside is cedar; the outside is a very thin layer of veneer over some type of wood. It's in pretty bad shape. I was wondering if I could buy some of that thin veneer, glue it over the four sides, then make a tapestry lid and end up with a coffee-table looking thing (extra storage). I would have to buy four short/squat legs and somehow finish the corners of the veneer after I get that glued on. Does anyone know where I could buy thin veneer?


Carolyn from Shreveport, Louisiana

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May 20, 20080 found this helpful

Dear Caroline Hoping to help you with your hope chest, I think your hope chest is worth more then you think my mother gave hers to my daughter and she got hers in 1925 from my dad and she was offered 1,000 for it my daughter finished it and it looks like brand new and she uses it as a coffe table I think you should sand the outside and go to a paint store like lowes or home Depot and they could tell you what you could use for the outside of your hope chest they do not make chest like those any longer.I think the outside is cedar also, so be careful not to ruin it Take care

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By OrahLee (Guest Post)
May 23, 20080 found this helpful

I'd go to one of the woodworkers specialty stores. In our Yellow Pages they are under "Woodworking and Supplies" and you can get all sorts of wood products--- veniers, solid exotic wood, etc. They ought to have hobbyists who can give advice too. Look for books about refinishing trunks there and at Lowes and HobbyLobby too.


If you wanted to practice before doing a family treasure, take a premade box, like from Michael's, and fix it up.
Take your time and try for accuracy in all your work and it will turn out FANTASTIC !
AND P.S. You might become addicted to doing this and have a great hobby that can become a 2nd income someday. My Mom did.

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May 23, 20080 found this helpful

The veneer is applied during manufacture with a whole lot of pressure and special glues. Good luck.

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May 24, 20080 found this helpful

Thank all of you for your replies. I'm afraid I've bitten off more than I can chew with that veneer stuff.Went to the suggested web site and, hmm, I don't know, it seems awfully complicated. I am beginning to think I don't actually know what "veneer" is.


We have a craft store (Hobby Lobby) that has pieces of thin (maybe 1/16th inch?) wood (one was labeled "Birch"). Is that veneer? Couldn't I just glue that on (w/wood glue) and cover the places where the wood joins with a glued-on strip?

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May 26, 20080 found this helpful

I'm following your post fairly closely given that I need to patch my daughter's vanity in a few spots. I'm somewhat lucky that once applied, I plan to give it a new coat of antique white paint.

I ran across the following website:

Fingers crossed!

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By SunshineRose (Guest Post)
June 2, 20080 found this helpful

I think you can do what you want if you settle down and realize this is not a one day project. Pick a wood you like and don't worry if it is veneer. I think the glue is very important.


Put it where you can tip it on it's side and weight it down. You could use contact cement but you one have one chance. It sounds like you have very nice project in mind. Don't get overwhelmed. I would just do one step at a time and not rush the project.
Best of luck.

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By Mark (Guest Post)
August 16, 20080 found this helpful

My hope chest is from the 1920's and I only need to restore the outside it is all cedar and the inside still smells like cedar - What do I use to restore outside of chest? My E-mail address is kissmybass1 AT - Help?

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