Charleston Double Chest

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Project by chobbs66 posted 06-22-2009 02:17 PM 4475 views 6 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Catching up another of my completed projects…


The piece is on the cover of “Thomas Elfe, Cabinetmaker” by Samuel Humphrey. The book also includes measured drawings, so I can’t take any credit for the design, it is a straight repro.

Materials: South American Mahogany from Irion Lumber (24” boards for sides). Bald Cypress for secondary.

Hardware: Ball and Ball pulls, Horton Brasses for locks

Dimensions: 77”H x 46”W x 24”Deep

Finish: Aniline Dye, Shellac, and Wax

This was quite an undertaking for me, started in January and after one hard week in January, and it took my until August to get finished. Mostly nights after 9pm after the kids went to bed. It was fun but sometimes grueling. I know for one drawer, the cockbeading seemed pretty easy, after 11 drawers I was pretty worn out. So it is great to have it behind me so I can work on new stuff.

I must give much credit to Don Harris, Matt Hobbs, and especially my Dad Ben Hobbs for all the work he did in stock prep and general figuring out the piece as we were all building one of these (Matt is the only one not finished). Without the teamwork of that first week I don’t how much longer it would have taken to get finished.

So I would love to hear any questions or comments, or criticisms. Thanks for checking it out.

Later, Cal

22 comments so far

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3967 days

#1 posted 06-22-2009 03:06 PM

Hey Chobbs,
Great design, detail, timber, and finish…..real nice job….well done.

View Alan's profile


443 posts in 4010 days

#2 posted 06-22-2009 03:19 PM

Wow, another great project. You do some really nice work. I may have taken 7 months, but it will last longer then a life time. Thanks for posting it.

-- Alan, Prince George

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4800 days

#3 posted 06-22-2009 03:22 PM

That is truly a wonderful piece. The detail work makes it very special. There are many of us out here that dream of one day attempting such a piece. The photos make the handles appear to be almost white, but can I assume that they are brass? Thanks for sharing. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4711 days

#4 posted 06-22-2009 04:05 PM

I find measured drawings still leave you plenty of room to take credit for not only your interpretation but significant elements of the design as well. You should be proud.

View Jeff's profile


95 posts in 3903 days

#5 posted 06-22-2009 05:47 PM

Criticisms?! Where do I start…. Hmmm, let me get back to you on that. What a fine piece of furniture you’ve made. Well executed. Well said Jon3.

-- - In the end, everything will be okay. If it isn't okay, it isn't the end yet.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4190 days

#6 posted 06-22-2009 05:50 PM

Absolutely beautiful well done all round beauty.We sometimes caLL this a high boy or a CHEST ON CHEST I think that’s correct.Alistair ps please correct me if I am wrong

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View SteveL's profile


177 posts in 4374 days

#7 posted 06-22-2009 06:34 PM

Marvelous work there Cal! It would be quite an undertaking for anybody! I have a short stack of mahogany that was probably cut 60 or 70 years a go, and have been wondering what to make with it, and where to get a match if I need more wood, so your tip about Irion is a good find for me. I’d love to hear more about the preparation of the dentil and other decorative mouldings you used—they look super!

-- SteveL

View Sleff's profile


28 posts in 4356 days

#8 posted 06-22-2009 07:49 PM

Wow that’s wonderful! I just love it!

-- -Sleff

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 3939 days

#9 posted 06-22-2009 08:13 PM

A real masterpiece Cal that you can be extremely proud of. Many of us can only dream about building something so fine. The many and interesting details are abundant and understated, a great advantage on this piece. Don’t worry about not having designed it. Just building it is quite an accomplishment! Hope we see more from you.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4824 days

#10 posted 06-23-2009 07:21 PM

Cal, all I can say is that I hope to live long enough to be able to turn out a piece worthy of being in the same room with that one.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View TimH's profile


37 posts in 4138 days

#11 posted 06-23-2009 07:40 PM

Absouletly awesome…very nice work!

View chobbs66's profile


42 posts in 4156 days

#12 posted 06-23-2009 08:03 PM

Thanks for the comments all.

To answer a couple of questions, yes the hardware is brass, of course. Luckily these are the bail pulls and not the bold solid type. Sometimes it would be as common to have as many $$ in the hardware as in the lumber, but not in this case, thankfully.

The fretwork was sawn out on the scrollsaw and then cleaned up with chisels, then applied to the case with hide glue (I used the liquid stuff). The dentil molding was cut by Don Harris on the tablesaw. The tricky part was mitering all the pieces without destroying them. I had to make two new of the small corner pieces of fretwork after they broke apart in my first try.

I have said many times in relation to this piece that it is simply a series of small steps that most woodworkers can do to get you home. Thanks again, Cal

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4379 days

#13 posted 06-24-2009 02:36 AM

Great looking chest. You did a beautiful job on this piece. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1914 posts in 4277 days

#14 posted 06-24-2009 03:36 AM

That is a perfect chest, just gorgeous!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View a1Jim's profile


117906 posts in 4182 days

#15 posted 06-24-2009 04:07 AM

OOOOO Cal wonderful classic chest beautiful work wonderful wood and great finish.


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