Heart Pine China Cabinet

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Project by Roz posted 04-02-2015 06:13 AM 1911 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have wanted to build this cabinet for several years. I was given several planks of Heart Pine salvaged from the church pews of an old country church razed in the 1960s. Along with those I was also given many 1 1/4×8x10 Heart Pine boards that must have been part of the church building. The real story of this project is the wood itself. From what I can see this wood must have come from a very old church. It is possible that church was as old as the 1840s when the area was being settled. There is no longer any way to know precisely. The pews were built with cut nails, painted in a thick brown paint and averaged 22 inches wide by 12 feet by 1 to 1 ¾ “ thick. There were signs of rough working with function in mind. The boards that came from the pews were too wide for my planer.

As I planned and sawed this wood I discovered the wide range of color and wood still full of pitch. My favorite was a couple of deep red boards that I suspect may have been from virgin timber cuts. I have never seen anything like it before and it is definitely pine. Those are the boards I used to make the raised panels. In addition to the nails there were several initials scratched into some of the boards no doubt by board children. Still several more were riddled by insect damage and old tool marks were everywhere. I tried to save all that character I could. The 1 1/4X8X10 boards made the boxes, doors, base and top. I did this because of the uniformity in their color. There are several more growth rings per inch in this wood than in other pine I have used.

The cabinet design is inspired by the pine country furniture I have seen in many antique books and the Welch dressers I admired while in the UK. It is built in 4 separate sections to make it easier to move.
The base is a cradle for the lower cabinet made with a rabbit joint and substantial feet (not visible) to provide support for the rest of the cabinet. There is clearance for the vacuum to get in under the base.

The lower cabinet is a paneled box with two adjustable interior shelves. The bottom and back are made of Clear pine and A/C plywood panels. There are two drawers on full extension black roller bearing slides. The drawer boxes are clear pine and Luan.

The upper cabinet is paneled with two adjustable shelves and two glass paneled doors designed to add beauty and allow for a wide range of shelf position without detracting from the appearance of the cabinet. I recycled broken glass sheets taken from my house. This glass has waves and imperfections present in it that add character and interest and give the cabinet an aged look.

All the hardware is forged black iron. Most of it is from Acorn but the larger upper hinges are 7 inches long, expensive, sold each, and come from another source. I do think they add a lot to the look of the cabinet in spite of the pain I experienced in purchasing.

The pediment top is a standalone unit with a 5 inch crown molding. I made the molding in shop with Freud molding bits and heart pine. It drops into place over guide blocks mounted on the top of the upper cabinet which hold it still and secure. The pediment crown provides a flat top surface, as requested, for the Porcelain chickens that reside there now.
Like many of the cabinets of the era from which I took my inspiration this one has a secrete storage compartment. Can you guess where it is?

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

9 comments so far

View hunter71's profile


3544 posts in 4193 days

#1 posted 04-02-2015 08:54 AM

Something to crow sure.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View DonB's profile


586 posts in 3698 days

#2 posted 04-02-2015 10:48 AM

Beautiful. The hidden compartment looks to be the right far panel next to the lower right door. The shadow makes it look that way anyway. I sure understand the Porcelain Chickens. Finish looks very nice.

-- DonB

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30597 posts in 3344 days

#3 posted 04-02-2015 10:56 AM

Really beautiful piece. Be proud for sure.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View hotbyte's profile


1045 posts in 3981 days

#4 posted 04-02-2015 12:49 PM

Very well done! I love heart pine…I’ve salvaged some during renovation of our c1895 home. Amazing how strong the cuts smell of fresh pine.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4340 days

#5 posted 04-02-2015 02:42 PM

Beautiful cabinet Terry and some excellent work too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jack1's profile


2158 posts in 5033 days

#6 posted 04-02-2015 03:17 PM

Great work and wood. Thanks.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 3207 days

#7 posted 04-03-2015 05:16 AM

Beautiful work…. My guess is after you take the chickens off the top you could lift the lid….. Cause there would be a lot of empty space available there due to the crown mouldings….

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4792 days

#8 posted 04-04-2015 02:20 PM

Good guess Gshepherd.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3873 days

#9 posted 04-04-2015 06:34 PM

This is a real beauty. You did a fine job on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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