A spice chest

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Project by acanthuscarver posted 04-02-2008 05:11 PM 5872 views 6 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a copy of the only known Philadelphia spice chest that is modeled after a highboy. The piece is constructed of mahogany with poplar secondaries. The color is achieved using water based analine dye and the finish is my typical shellac. There are no secret compartments in this spice chest. I’ve also made another version of this spice chest with a more ornately carved bottom apron. I’ll add more photos when I get the chance.

Ok, by popular demand (and the fact that I promised it) I’ve added more photos. The crotch door panels are resawn from a single solid crotch and then laminated to straight grained mahogany. I looked for a shot with some of the drawers open but don’t have any. You’ll just have to take my word for it that they are constructed with hand cut dovetails. Not owning, or knowing how to use a dovetail jig will do that to a person.

J.C., I’ll be waiting to hear more from you. You guys are good for my ego. Sometimes, when you make things like this on a daily basis, you take for granted how special it is to have the opportunity to make things like this on a daily basis. Everyone has had such kind words of encouragement that it makes me pause and realize how truly lucky I am to be able to make a living at my chosen profession. Thanks to all of you.

-- Chuck Bender, period furniture maker, woodworking instructor

27 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5479 days

#1 posted 04-02-2008 05:16 PM

Fantastic piece! I would love to see more pictures of it?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5709 days

#2 posted 04-02-2008 05:34 PM

Amazing work!

More photos, heck ….. I’d really love to see it in person. :-)

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

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 5365 days

#3 posted 04-02-2008 05:41 PM

That’s incredible detail and craftmanship. Welcome to Lumberjocks!

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View tartanjock's profile


7 posts in 5238 days

#4 posted 04-02-2008 05:43 PM


You are more than a furniture maker. Thank you – MORE PHOTOS & DETAILS and more power to your elbow . . .

-- TartanJock

View ChasHutch's profile


56 posts in 5206 days

#5 posted 04-02-2008 06:16 PM

Dang. Absolutely awsome. How big is this? Could put something next to it for the next pictures? Maybe some spice bottles ?

-- Hutch - North Dallas, Tx - Safety First

View Hugheser's profile


14 posts in 5402 days

#6 posted 04-02-2008 06:31 PM

Incredible. Please post more pics.

-- Brian (Woodworking n00b)

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5453 days

#7 posted 04-02-2008 06:31 PM

This is just exceptional work! Just excellent. I definitely prefer the the carved apron over the plain one on the desk. The plain apron seems to need something. You are a true craftsman, my friend.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27248 posts in 5312 days

#8 posted 04-02-2008 07:33 PM

This is simply gorgeous. I certainly wasn’t expecting this when I opened it. I agree with the others about the pictures. You can post pictures in three slots. Use them all to showcase your piece from different angles and by all means open the drawers as well.

I can honestly say this is the nicest spice cabinet I have seen.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 5264 days

#9 posted 04-02-2008 09:14 PM

Hi Chuck

The piece is simply exguisite! You are a true craftsman of your craft. Your are truely Blessed to have talent like this. Thank you for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View rikkor's profile


11294 posts in 5365 days

#10 posted 04-02-2008 10:35 PM

Holy cow! This is sooo nice. Please post bigger pictures, I am not quite sure I drooled over every detail.

View Grumpy's profile


26811 posts in 5341 days

#11 posted 04-02-2008 11:42 PM

Excellent work Chuck.

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

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 5396 days

#12 posted 04-03-2008 02:39 AM

What is the size of the combined upper drawer faces behind the doors? That is one heck of a crotch piece.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14193 posts in 5473 days

#13 posted 04-03-2008 03:23 AM

great work and welcome to lumberjocks

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View acanthuscarver's profile


268 posts in 5202 days

#14 posted 04-03-2008 03:25 AM

Ok, ok, I’ll relent. I’m trying to dig up more photos of the piece but I have to sort through hundreds of them on the computer. As soon as I dig up more pics, I’ll post them. I should have a scroll board close-up as well as one with the doors closed. Wish I could post more but…

To answer a few of the requests, the piece is about 46” tall to the top of the center catouche. Seeing one of them in person is probably not possible as the piece is long beyond my posession. Unlike most of you, I don’t end up keeping the bulk of the pieces I make. I do have a house full of things I’ve made but that took many years to accumulate. You are welcome to come take one of my classes on how to make spice chests and begin the journey for yourself but I’m not here to promote my school. I’ll keep posting projects. Just let me know when it’s time to quit.

Yeah, that’s a big crotch. If I remember my measurements correctly, it’s clost to 20” wide. I’ve built a few of these spice chest and each one was a blast. For the record, I hand cut all my dovetails, including the ones on the drawers. The carving is all done by hand but I do use some power tools to make the bulk of the gooseneck moldings.

-- Chuck Bender, period furniture maker, woodworking instructor

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5805 days

#15 posted 04-03-2008 04:19 AM

That is a very interesting height. Great piece.

showing 1 through 15 of 27 comments

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