Antique oak chests are attractive and practical, providing additional storage space, and some models double up as extra seats. Available in an array of sizes, shapes, and styles, oak chests are solid, durable, and functional. When buying an oak chest, it is essential to know what factors to take into consideration to enable you to buy a high-quality antique chest in great condition, that lasts for years, and that also meets your storage requirements.
Size of an Oak Chest
Firstly, consider how much available floor space you have in the area you want your oak chest to sit within your home. Remember to leave enough space behind the chest to comfortably open the lid completely and rest it against the wall, if it does not have self-stopping hinges. If you place the chest too close to the wall, the lid sticks and scrapes against the wall every time you open it. Establish what you want to store in the chest, considering the size of these items together. This gives you a clear idea of how much interior space you require from your chest.
Condition of an Oak Chest
The condition of the oak chest you choose is a crucial consideration, as it impacts the longevity of the piece and the strength, as well as whether it requires significant repair or restoration. Oak is reasonably easy to scratch, so look carefully at the surface for large dents, major scratches, and deep gouges, as these are incredibly difficult to repair or conceal. Check the interior of the antique chest to ensure it is free of mould, mildew, or rot, and ensure the bottom and sides are all solid and secure. Look at the joints, ensuring they are flush, solid, and well fitting. Powderpost beetles are a common problem with antique oak, so look for piles of frass, which is sawdust-like powder the bugs leave behind as they burrow, eat, and defecate. Lots of tiny holes also indicate the presence of a whole range of nasty wood-burrowing insects. If you want a project, purchase a chest that is of reasonably sound-build quality, but shows signs of wear and tear and neglect, and use your creative skills to rejuvenate the antique chest back to its former glory.
Purpose of an Oak Chest
A very robust oak chest works well as an extra seat, and you can always make it more comfortable by adding a blanket, a throw, or some cushions. Use a small oak chest as a jewellery box or use it to store treasured memories. A medium to large oak chest works well as a storage unit for your craft supplies, keeping them neat and tidy. You can even pad and upholster the inside of the lid and stitch on pockets, enabling you to safely store knitting needles, embroidery needles, and crochet hooks.