Friday, April 24, 2015

American-Chinese Wedding Chest

A number of years ago I was perusing the listings on one of my favorite antique Chinese furniture stores on eBay.  One of his items was a wedding chest.  I became intrigued and did a little research.  The short version is that when a couple would marry, the bride and groom would place wedding gifts into a chest.  The chests are fitted with a pole hole.  So at the end of the ceremony, the couple would insert a pole and carry the gifts off to make their new home.

The price my favorite seller was offering the antique wedding chest was a little salty, $600 as I recall.  So, I decided to make an Americanized version to give to the son and new daughter-in law of neighbors as a wedding gift.

I made a project plan - that now is lost in deep archives.  If someone is interested in making a similar chest, I have photos of the parts.  Overall the chest is made of pine with a little fir and aspen.  All the wood is standard dimension.  The turned balusters are for stair railing.

The boxes are made with a continuous tenon joint.  Nothing fancy.  On the inside bottom of the boxes is a cleat to support the pine bottom.  On the removeable boxes and the top, the cleat extends 1/2" below the bottom for nesting.

   The balusters and bottom box form the foundation of the chest.  The rail style feet are screwed from the bottom up.  The yoke is screwed into the balusters.

The top is just another thin box with arched ends to give a roll top.  Beadboard is used for the top and box bottoms.  The tricky part of the project is making the boxes close to the same size.  The joinery is simple. Most of the work was done on a tablesaw.  I used standard finishing products.  All the materials are available from local big box hardware stores.

Here are a few more photos of the finished chest.  Have fun.


  1. Nice article, Which you have shared here about the Chinese furniture. Your article is very interesting and this Chinese Wedding Chest is looking very beautiful. Mountainfurniturecn is the best Chinese furniture manufacturer that provides best designer furniture at an affordable price.

    1. Thank you William. I appreciate the link to Mountain Furniture. Good to know.