Use aromatic cedar to recharge cedar chests.

How to Recharge the Smell of a Cedar Chest

by Wade Shaddy

Cedar chests crafted from aromatic cedar have a pleasant, outdoorsy scent that reminds you of a deep forest. But it doesn't last forever. Most cedar chests are built from a variety of materials, none of which produce the aroma. The aromatic cedar is a thin lining that is added last. If you can't smell that calming scent when you open the chest, it's probably because the scent has depleted naturally from the lining. You can recharge the smell of the chest with basic carpentry skills -- and more natural aromatic cedar.

Measure the depth of the chest on the inside. If you can see individual pieces of the existing aromatic cedar standing side by side, measure one of them vertically.

Cut one piece of 1/2-by-4-inch aromatic cedar to the measurement with a miter saw. Use a hand sanding block with 100-grit sandpaper to lightly sand and round the top corner and edge of the cedar.

Stand the piece of cedar in one corner of the chest with the sanded side up, and one side flush against one wall. Shoot one, 1-inch pin nail, centered, through the cedar 2 inches from the top, and one pin nail centered 2 inches from the bottom.

Cut another piece of cedar and sand it. Stand it beside the first piece. Repeat shooting a pin nail at the top and one at the bottom. Repeat this Step until you have covered one side of the chest. If the final piece is too wide to fit tight on any side, use a table saw to trim it.

Cut pieces for each side, trimming down the final piece as needed until the four interior sides of the chest are covered with aromatic cedar.

Items you will need

  • Miter saw
  • 1/2-by-4-inch aromatic cedar
  • Hand sanding block
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Pin nailer
  • 1-inch pin nails
  • Table saw


  • Try to find fresh aromatic cedar. Smell it before purchasing. If it's not strong enough, it may have been sitting around too long at the store, or it might be the wrong kind. Try somewhere else. If you can't find 4-inch-wide aromatic cedar that's fine. Any width or thickness will suffice.


  • Avoid using chemicals to recharge the smell. Only real aromatic cedar provides the scent you're looking for.

About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images