Apothecary Chest

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Project by Derek Cohen posted 08-01-2018 03:54 PM 3052 views 9 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Apothecary Chest
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This is the end of my build. If you are interested in the build itself, it will all be on my website in the next day or two. Just look under Apothecary Chest

Talk about down to the wire. It’s 11 p.m. and I’ve just completed a coat of Howard’s wax after the last coat of Livos Universal Wood Oil. The drawers were all finished inside and out with Ubeaut Hard Shellac (dewaxed blond shellac). The inside of the chest (drawer recesses) was given a coat of paste wax. Tomorrow morning I take the chest to the Perth Showground for the annual West Australian Wood Show, where it will take its place among others in the furniture competition. I started this piece 3 months ago.

I could tell you how the base gave me fits. It was a difficult task to design a stand for a curved cabinet. Probably why Krenov never built an apothecary chest! :) Last night I completed the base, and Lynndy loved it. Compound curves forever. Damn sexy. The base, that is.

But when I placed the chest on it, the combination looked awful … top heavy … ugh! I was out of wood, out of time, and it looked like I was out of the competition.

This morning I woke up and had an inspiration. Cut the legs shorter. This evening, after work, I did just that. And I like the finished piece. I think the balance is right. So does Lynndy, which matters. The dimensions are 1000 high (39”) x 460mm (18”) across.

Here is the chest, and where it will be positioned in the entrance hall …

A few pics of the base …

Much time was spent designing and building the drawers, which curve across the fronts …


Yes, I changed the steel for brass screws (no slotted ones the correct size, however) ...

And made knobs in the same Black Walnut, and fitted coplanar to the drawer recess (that was a headache before finally coming up with the simplest solution, to use the drill press!) ..

I was very pleased with the drawer stops …

... and you can see the shiplapped back if you peak …

It has been a long, but exhilarating build. I hope that you got something from it too.

Regards from Perth


-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at

22 comments so far

View Notw's profile


1098 posts in 2997 days

#1 posted 08-01-2018 04:09 PM

A very beautiful piece that I am sure you are proud of.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17533 posts in 3862 days

#2 posted 08-01-2018 04:25 PM

Extraordinary piece, Derek. Congrats, very nicely done.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View awsum55's profile


1140 posts in 1752 days

#3 posted 08-01-2018 04:29 PM

VERY nice! Good luck in the competition.

-- John D, OP, KS

View theoldfart's profile


12867 posts in 3695 days

#4 posted 08-01-2018 04:30 PM

Love the last minute “design feature” ingenious to say the least. Also the adjustable drawer stops are pretty sharp.
Beautiful piece Derek.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3842 days

#5 posted 08-01-2018 04:33 PM

Looks great, no doubt about that.

View Peteybadboy's profile


4010 posts in 3193 days

#6 posted 08-01-2018 06:07 PM

Really nice work! Good luck in the show.

-- Petey

View pottz's profile


20680 posts in 2228 days

#7 posted 08-01-2018 07:56 PM

i got a lot of inspiration from that gorgeous cabinet,you did a beautiful job on the joinery and dovetailing.thank you for sharing your work.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


10402 posts in 3653 days

#8 posted 08-01-2018 09:04 PM

Beautiful work, a real masterpiece!!

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View AandCstyle's profile


3306 posts in 3501 days

#9 posted 08-01-2018 09:13 PM

Derek, another absolutely stunning piece. Your competition should be quaking in their boots. :)

-- Art

View therealSteveN's profile


8871 posts in 1818 days

#10 posted 08-01-2018 10:08 PM

I love apothecaries, and that is a wonderful example. Very nice work Derek. I can imagine the fits the curves may have cause you, but the end result is very nice, very nice.

Thanks for posting, and all the best at the showing.

Congrats on your 3 here, well deserved.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5095 days

#11 posted 08-01-2018 10:16 PM

Derek , nice job and congratulations on your ‘Daily Top 3’ award.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View ralbuck's profile


6773 posts in 3510 days

#12 posted 08-01-2018 10:18 PM

A very beautiful piece that I am sure you are proud of.

- Notw

I think the last minute cut down was a very fine idea.IT does not just look good; it looks FANTASTIC!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1524 posts in 2878 days

#13 posted 08-01-2018 10:31 PM

After you show it, you can use it in the shop to hold tools, or parts.

-- Jeff NJ

View AJ1104's profile


1365 posts in 2903 days

#14 posted 08-02-2018 12:51 AM

Tremendous design and build! I love the curve and the walnut looks amazing. Great job!

-- AJ

View BurlyBob's profile


9338 posts in 3509 days

#15 posted 08-02-2018 06:14 AM

That is totally awesome!

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