Spice Chest

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Project by Paul M posted 07-14-2009 08:33 PM 2182 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Another challenge I had to take.

When asked if I could design and built a spice chest to fit into a narrow space between a doorframe and a windowsill, I of course said yes! Building a spice chest is pretty easy, but how to make it look different and interesting was the challenge.

For this I borrowed from the Asian Print stands serpentine spindles and used this concept to make a door. As you move across the room, the door changes shape slightly and goes from water like ripple to full slats that give an idea of what is inside.

Worked out well using red oak and shellac finish, and most importantly moved the spices from hiding in the cupboard to be easily reachable while saving cupboard space.

-- Paul from New England "No man is a failure who is enjoying life". William Feather

10 comments so far

View Derrek LeRouax's profile

Derrek LeRouax

129 posts in 3625 days

#1 posted 07-14-2009 08:45 PM

I would LOVE to know more about the process used to create that effect on the door! My grandfather had something like this (maybe just like this) that he picked up in his travels via the USN. I thought it was pretty cool. Do you mind sharing and/or writing up a blog on it? I’m sure others share my interest…

-- Derrek L.

View a1Jim's profile


117600 posts in 3908 days

#2 posted 07-14-2009 08:46 PM

Now that’s the way to spice things up.good job Paul

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4491 days

#3 posted 07-14-2009 08:48 PM

oh how I’d love a beautiful cabinet like this for my spices.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3811 days

#4 posted 07-14-2009 09:28 PM

Very nice…great way to utilize the space. Nice job. Now you just need to put a hook on the door to hange those bananas on. :-)

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View john's profile


2376 posts in 4712 days

#5 posted 07-14-2009 09:32 PM

Great job , I need a spice cabinet too !

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View Paul M's profile

Paul M

92 posts in 4051 days

#6 posted 07-14-2009 10:48 PM


Making the serpentine spindles is time consuming, but not too difficult. For the spice chest, I used a ¾” oak board and a ¾” set of stacked dado set at ¼” deep.

First step was to cut across the board leaving 1 ½” between the notches. Since the spindles would be going into ¼” mortises, I ripped the board into 3/8” strips.

Now the fun part. First I cut a angle on the band saw to nock off the corners and then used a oscillating spindle sander to round of the rest of the corners. Final stage is to cut the spindles into two sets so that by alternating the valleys the spindles appear solid from the side. Then trim and cut tenon on the table saw.

For the Asian Print stand, since the spindles show from both sides, I used 1 ½” oak and cut the profile into both sides, but alternated the cut so that the finished spindles just need to be rotated 180 give the affect.

If you use straight grained and rift sawn, the exposed grain on the valleys will show a interesting pattern and slight curve.

-- Paul from New England "No man is a failure who is enjoying life". William Feather

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3916 days

#7 posted 07-14-2009 11:17 PM

Nice very nice kindest regards Alistair

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

View Paul M's profile

Paul M

92 posts in 4051 days

#8 posted 07-15-2009 12:47 AM

Figured I might as well use up my 6 allotted pictures so I just cropped and sized a couple of pictures to show a bit more of the door detail for anyone interested in trying this.

-- Paul from New England "No man is a failure who is enjoying life". William Feather

View woodworm's profile


14471 posts in 3921 days

#9 posted 07-15-2009 03:29 AM

Very nice, thanks for sharing.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View TD Bridges's profile

TD Bridges

46 posts in 3466 days

#10 posted 11-13-2009 06:14 AM

Very nice. Showed the LOML and now it is on the project list.

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