Cedar chest, beautiful wood, but broken legs

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I found this in the bedroom of the house we are moving into. It had been in the his family for a long time but the legs are in bad shape. Each one has cracks and/or extra screws or nails holding them on. But the one actually fell apart. The chest is laying up-side-down on the dining room floor and I need to take it out of there. What do I do about the legs? Do I buy new ones and put them on with screws from the inside? And what kind do I get? Thanks for you input.
q how to fix broken legs on a cedar chest, home maintenance repairs, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, rustic furniture, woodworking projects, Upside down
Upside-down
q how to fix broken legs on a cedar chest, home maintenance repairs, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, rustic furniture, woodworking projects, one
one
q how to fix broken legs on a cedar chest, home maintenance repairs, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, rustic furniture, woodworking projects, two
two
q how to fix broken legs on a cedar chest, home maintenance repairs, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, rustic furniture, woodworking projects, third
third
q how to fix broken legs on a cedar chest, home maintenance repairs, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, rustic furniture, woodworking projects, fouth
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q how to fix broken legs on a cedar chest, home maintenance repairs, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, rustic furniture, woodworking projects, 3rd and 4th legs
3rd and 4th legs
  46 answers
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jul 06, 2015
    The curv;y legs don't look like they belong to the chest. Maybe they were added at some point. My choices would be: just add felt tabs on the corners and don't worry about legs at all - or buy new legs which are plainer and straighter from the hardware store - or possibly bun feet would look nice.

    • Pat Brinkley Spencer Pat Brinkley Spencer on Apr 01, 2017
      I was thinking the same thing. If the floor is hard then the felt pads would make it easier to move the chest. Might need to felt the whole bottom if the screw holes are split or rough. If you like legs, the bun feet sound like a good idea and the most likely to slide easily. Probably could install them with liquid nail, love the stuff! Good luck

  • Nikkea Masters Nikkea Masters on Jul 06, 2015
    Buy new legs and paint them in a shiny silver finish or silver leaf. Clean and oil the wood. Use it as a bench at the end of the bed (shorter legs required), a drinks cabinet in the living room (have the top open from the front (top to bottom and make the legs taller), or put it in the entryway (very tall legs here) with art or a mirror above it and a lamp and other decorative goodies on top.

  • Linda Eskritt Linda Eskritt on Jul 06, 2015
    My father made our cedar chest back when he was in high school, it looks like yours but no legs I would just take them off!

  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Jul 07, 2015
    You can buy furniture legs at big box store (expensive), or online (much cheaper). But agree with above, they look to be added and not original. These type chests didn't come with legs. Can also check second hand stores for a piece and just use the legs really reasonable too!

  • Mimi Mimi on Jul 07, 2015
    Whatever you decide to do the damaged cedar can be filled in with wood putty then sanded smooth :)

  • Gayle Gayle on Jul 07, 2015
    I agree that the legs look as if they were added. What do you plan to keep in this chest? I have one like it in storage and don't use it because the cedar odor permeates everything. We really don't have woolens, etc. to store, so I'm at a loss as to what to put in it.

    • See 2 previous
    • Pat Brinkley Spencer Pat Brinkley Spencer on Apr 01, 2017
      Mine is full of extra blankets, pillows, and linens.

  • 117135 117135 on Jul 07, 2015
    Put on some casters and make it into an industrial coffee table.

  • Tris Smith Tris Smith on Jul 07, 2015
    Whatever you want. Legs or no legs. Casters or wood or metal legs. Casters with locks and bench pillow and now it's storage and a bench seat easily moved. Many possibilities. Nice

  • Barbara Hall Barbara Hall on Jul 07, 2015
    I have two cedar chests and neither have legs. Why don't you just remove the legs and add a long foam pillow for sitting?

  • 512181 512181 on Jul 07, 2015
    First thing you want to do is make sure the lock is safe for children. Many old cedar chests can lock from inside and if a child crawls in, they may not be able to get out. I know Lane offers a new lock. https://www.lanefurniture.com/about/product-safety You can just disable the lock too. The other thing is you want to replace the hinges with safe ones. You want ones where you have to push on the top to close it. The hinges prevent little fingers from getting smashed. Look for toy box hinges or soft close hinges. I think the legs might be original. They look like they are cedar that match the chest. You could try gluing the cracks and using a clamp to close up the cracks. Then use wood filler to fill the rest of the cracks. Lightly sand legs and chest and use a paste wax on the chest to provide a nice glow. I sometimes fill in cracks with paste wax too, and it looks fine. You could add casters, or use no legs. You might be able to find a 4 x 4 cedar post and make some square type of leg too.

  • Karen Karen on Jul 07, 2015
    I have my mother's like this. Replaced the legs with ones from Home Depot or Lowe's. Have extra sweatshirts and tshirts stored in it.

  • Katie Katie on Jul 07, 2015
    If you want to add new feet they can be attached using top plates. They will be sold near the furniture legs. I just added furniture feet to my box spring to do away with my metal bed frame and that's how I attached the feet.

  • Lisa B. Lisa B. on Jul 07, 2015
    If you don't want to add new legs you could build a tray style base for it to rest on top of out of scrap lumber and stock molding stained to match.

  • Therese Ryan-Haas Therese Ryan-Haas on Jul 07, 2015
    I added bun feet to a dresser that had non. I bought bun feet from Menards. Just follow this tutorial on youtube.Installing a Bun Foot with Wood Screws https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLfZGAVKSAQ

  • Sue Peet Sue Peet on Jul 07, 2015
    Can always add casters to the bottom to make it easier to move. My Mom gave me hers years ago and I use it for storing memories like love letters from my husband when we were dating, certain clothes from the past, etc. Cedar chests are wonderful to have in your home.

  • Rose Rose on Jul 07, 2015
    I would add bunn feet also.

  • Carol Whitehouse Carol Whitehouse on Jul 07, 2015
    I also added bun feet to a chest that had the same problem with the legs. Once I took off the old ones I was able to see where I could put them. If its like mine was there was good wood in the middle of the screw holes that was solid. If there isn't a solid area to work with you could put wood the dimensions of bottom into the chest and work with that. I was lucky that the top had a panel that we were able to take out and put glass in. I turned it into a coffee table that holds my GMIL hand made quilts. Thru the years we added a few things like the baby blankets my sister made for the kids and another blanket that my other sister made her favorite niece. It has been a show piece for many years.

  • Diane Diane on Jul 07, 2015
    Can the legs be removed and it sit flat on the floor? Mine does.

  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jul 07, 2015
    Wood glue and clamp it. I have a old old side board where the legs were torn all apart. I wood glued each one of them and clamped them. Then reattached them back in.

  • Carolyn Morris Carolyn Morris on Jul 07, 2015
    I think bun feet would look good. I have the one my Dad gave my Mom before they married. It was "blonde" and had a box frame for the legs. I stripped it and stained it dark; took the frame (which was in bad shape) off, and added casters. It is easy to move to vacuum, etc.

  • Lynda Mitchell Lynda Mitchell on Jul 07, 2015
    What about taking legs of and adding wheels.

  • Bob Link Bob Link on Jul 07, 2015
    I found an old cedar chest in very poor condition also but was able to fabricate new legs and redo the outside

  • Bob Link Bob Link on Jul 07, 2015
    If I couldnt make new legs I would search and find som that look almost the same and remount them however you can GOOD LUCK

  • Pam Walker Pam Walker on Jul 07, 2015
    If it was me, I'd remove the legs & take them to a carpenter & have new legs made to match (shape & staining). Then, I'd put a brace (a thick piece of wood which matches the stain of the trunk) glued to the bottom of the trunk. I'd then attach the legs to the brace instead of the trunk itself. This will give the trunk more support plus have something more substantial for the legs to fasten to. Hope this helps. :)

  • Tamara Wood Tamara Wood on Jul 07, 2015
    I THINK IT WOULD BE MORE ATTRACTIVE IF YOU HAD BIG ROUND FEET DIRECTLY ON THE BOTTOM. VERY RUSTIC LOOKING AND UTILITARIAN TO ME. THAT GIVES IT SO MUCH CHARACTER.

  • OhSally OhSally on Jul 07, 2015
    I don't think the legs look right with the chest...might they have been added later? If it were me, I would remove the legs altogether, add those glider thingies to the bottom and use it without legs. You could enjoy the natural wood or paint it to match your decor.

  • Sandi Jones Sandi Jones on Jul 07, 2015
    Pre-fabricated furniture legs are readily available from Lowe's and Home Depot. Ebay is also another resource. These can be ordered finished or unfinished, in a variety of styles. Good luck! it's a beautiful piece.

  • Lynn Hood Knowles Lynn Hood Knowles on Jul 07, 2015
    The big box lumber stores also have wooden "bun" feet that would raise the chest off the floor and allow the dust bunnies free range. I think you apply "bun feet" from inside the chest. I have a fear of furniture on the floor and then having water damage.

  • Sherry Fram Sherry Fram on Jul 07, 2015
    I agree with the bun feet. You can get a variety of sizes so just go look & pick out the ones that appeal to you,

  • Comet Comet on Jul 07, 2015
    I have two cedar chests like this and they have very different style feet--I agree with the above poster--these are prob NOT the original ones! The ones I have use the same cedar wood and are like two small brackets; like small shelf brackets with the decorative edge; the straight "back"{ edge is butted up to make a corner piece. I suspect if you google up CEDAR CHEST IMAGES you will find some ideas that are nicer than these! You can buy cedar wood or you could go for a different look and buy pine feet and paint them---if you use feet obviously you will keep it off the floor and away from water etc but you also can move it MUCH easier--I also have a LARGE campaign chest that rests on the floor and Whoa Nellie is THAT hard to move! You have quite a few options for this--most lumber stores sell feet that could be used as-is or finished as you like; or ebay and ETSY have options. The legs that are on there now look like they might have come off of a chair---

  • Jean DeSavage Jean DeSavage on Jul 07, 2015
    I would put wheels on the bottom instead of legs. That way it's raised, but it is also easy to move for cleaning.

    • See 1 previous
    • RIVER RIVER on Jul 07, 2015
      @Jean DeSavage I luv your idea, nice brass wheels would make a wonderful addition to it, or old black wrought iron type ones.

  • Patti Nicholas Patti Nicholas on Jul 07, 2015
    I had the same problem and trying to replace the legs proved difficult because the bottom of the chest isn't terribly thick or strong. My solution was to build a false bottom for strength and put industrial looking casters on it. Now it can easily be moved and since the base is now stronger I don't have to worry about it breaking.

  • Loretta Loretta on Jul 07, 2015
    Wheels or chunky wooden legs

  • Darlene Darlene on Jul 08, 2015
    I would just remove the legs, add 4 of the slider caps that you can purchase at Walmart, clean the chest real good and use as a coffee table.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jul 09, 2015
    Back again. If you're going to store fairly heavy things, then I really like the idea of coasters or castors.

  • Marta Marta on Jul 09, 2015
    Hi everibody! I think that might be better to you is replace them into wheels and revamp the boxcase whith a new color that marches your taste! It's a cheap solUtion. Many greetings from Barcelona!! Marta

  • Sandi Jones Sandi Jones on Jul 10, 2015
    Here is another online source for legs from another HomeTalk post http://www.diyupholsterysupply.com/furniture-leg.html

  • Joanne Buckley Joanne Buckley on Jul 11, 2015
    check out your local Habitat for Humanity store, they will have tons of options

  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Jul 14, 2015
    I'm really ambivalent about using legs on it. We just put in new carpeting in the bedrooms and I was considering using the chest, without the legs after I used the wood filler on the underside where the legs are/were (and sanded really well) and put something on the chest so it wouldn't hurt the new carpet. Now I am thinking maybe the bunn legs would do, but with only one screw holding them on......I'm still not sure what to do.

    • Katie Katie on Jul 15, 2015
      @Shirley Kalinosky, I just attached eight bun feet to my box spings under my king size mattress. That one screw in each foot is holding up over 500 lbs of people mattress and box springs. If you use the top plate, sold near the bun feet, you screw that on to the bottom of the chest in the corners then screw the foot in to it. It wouldn't hurt to use wood filler on the old screw holes and sand it smooth before installing.

  • OhSally OhSally on Jul 15, 2015
    I think not adding feet is a good idea. It just doesn't look like it's supposed to have legs to me, as I stated before. And, you won't have to worry about dust bunnies or pet hair, etc.getting under it if it's right on the floor.

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Jul 18, 2015
    If you go the gthe Home Depot website, you will see a variety of feet that you can use to replace the broken ones yu now havehttp://www.homedepot.com/s/furniture+legs?NCNI-5. If you are worriedabout leaving an indentation in your new carpet, you can use those roun disks that go under legs that helpdistribute the weight of the funiture (your trunk). Better yet, what I would do, is get furniture movers to help move the trunk if it gets too heavy and you wnat to move it to another spot http://www.homedepot.com/b/Search/N-5yc1vZc2cc/Ntk-Extended/Ntt-furniture%2Bmovers?Ntx=mode+matchpartialmax&NCNI-5. Good luck.

  • Kathy Murray Kathy Murray on Sep 09, 2015
    I agree with OhSally, I would not put legs back on. I have never seen a cedar chest with legs on it. If you wanted you could easily add square rubber protectors on each corner.

  • Carol Carol on May 14, 2016
    I do not like the original legs, I think they were added later. I don't think it originally had legs . I think a decorative skirt or big bun feet would look great, if you wanted it higher off the ground. My big blanket chest has a decorative skirt, maybe you can cut it yourself or have a woodworker cut it for you. The chest we are refinishing for one of our children will get big bun feet that I got at a yard sale. Try Pinterest or Goole for cedar chests with feet or waves skirt.

  • Elainr Elainr on Jun 21, 2016
    I have one with the same problem. I am building a base from 1x3? In the shape of a picture frame slightly smaller than the chest. I will attach it with "L" brackets then paint.

  • Eleanor S. Young Eleanor S. Young on Mar 31, 2017
    Put casters on the bottom. I have one just like it over 50 years old.

  • Sue Sanders Sue Sanders on Apr 01, 2017
    I agree that the type of legs on chest do not belong. Go to Lowe's, Home Depot, or similiar "do-it-yourself" store and pick out some approperiate legs. Short wide square type would look good on chest. I like the leg idea to bring chest up off the floor. Might gets some legs for my chest. Think the wider legs would not leave a deep imprint on carpet...a caster would leave a deep depression.