Jewelry/keepsake chest

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Project by Hammerthumb posted 04-05-2014 07:17 PM 3543 views 11 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had intended on posting this project right after Christmas as it was a gift for my wife. If anyone has followed the “Furniture Makers” thread, you might have seen a few pictures during the build. This project is a jewelry/keepsake chest. My wife has several small boxes that she has used for this, so I thought that I would help her get a little more organized. The chest is 15” tall, by 12” deep, by 25” wide (these are approximate as I really did not measure after I got the top, bottom and feet on).

The primary wood for the case is Ipe. The secondary wood for interior construction and the drawers is Maple. Drawer fronts are of Bubinga. I turned four columns that went on each corner with a cove piece behind them. The cove piece serves as part of the case construction which also allowed for side compartments which are used for hanging chains or necklace. The only metal parts used in construction are the barrel hinges that I used for the doors of the side compartment and a few brass pins. All other joinery uses glue with traditional joinery and a few 1/8” and 3/8” dowels. The doors and back are of frame and panel construction. All wood used for this is solid except for the top, which is Cherry veneer surrounded by Ipe. I stained the Cherry veneer to resemble the drawer fronts, but I am still on the fence over the grain pattern.

The sides of the case were made by joining 2 of the cove pieces with some solid 5/8” maple. This is actually the back of the side compartments. The maple was grooved on the inside to hold the web frames later in construction. The 2 sides were then joined to the double raised panel back At this point I had a case that I could at least stand up for more measuring and fitting.

During construction, I had just finished the web frames (3/8” with 1/8” bridal joints, never done that before) and slid them into the case. I thought that if I could radius the front, this would not be just another boring chest with drawers. I cut some radius pieces at approximately 5/8” over 20” and joined them to the web frames. It looked so much better that way. I did not know that it would make several other aspects of the build more difficult.

The top, bottom, and columns were joined to the case with 3/8” dowels. The web frames were then slid into their slots. I pinned them in through the front cove pieces using 1/8” brass, and left them to float freely in the grooves of the Maple side pieces. You might notice the “dog ears” of the web frames as they sit on the edge of the cove pieces. I thought this added a nice touch to the design.

I knew that I would have to radius the drawer faces, top and bottom, but did not take into account the half blind dovetails. I ended up cutting them at a 3.5 degree +/- angle to the drawer faces. Not to difficult, but took a little more thought while cutting them. I cut and fitted the drawers so they are recessed from the web frames slightly. I think Maloof has done something similar. The drawers are: 1.5”, 2.5”, 3.5”, 4.5”. The top 2 drawers are for rings, second 2 drawers have compartments for watches and pens, 3rd drawer has 7 larger compartments, and the 4th drawer has a compartment large enough for papers, and a few smaller compartments. The drawers were lined prior to installing the dividers with batting and furniture fabric. The drawer pulls are Ipe, They are pinned to the faces with hidden dowels. The pulls are faceted with 11 facets. These also went on the side doors.

As the corners of this cabinet are rounded, I followed suite with the feet. They are made with L shaped pieces that I rounded at the bandsaw, smoothed, and then put a bevel at the top of the face side.

Finishing is very simple. I sanded to 600 grit. Applied Danish oil, and wet sanded with 1000 grit. I added some transtint to the Danish oil for the drawer faces as I thought they were too red and needed to be toned down a little. I then applied a dark paste wax. and buffed it out.

Sorry to be so long winded. I hope you enjoyed the project.


-- Paul, Duvall, WA

30 comments so far

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8574 posts in 3137 days

#1 posted 04-05-2014 07:48 PM

This is an impressive piece of craftsmanship Paul. Thanks for sharing the ride with us.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 4108 days

#2 posted 04-05-2014 08:21 PM

Nice work indeed.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


21620 posts in 4830 days

#3 posted 04-05-2014 08:31 PM

That is absolutely awesome craftsmanship!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View CL810's profile


4155 posts in 4143 days

#4 posted 04-05-2014 08:40 PM

Simply outstanding in every respect Paul. Favorited. There is so much to like about this piece; design, craftsmanship, wood choices, finish…

Great job.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4732 days

#5 posted 04-05-2014 08:44 PM

Wonderful piece and done so well .


View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 4149 days

#6 posted 04-05-2014 09:39 PM

You do exceptional paul! Keep those projects coming!

View theoldfart's profile


12732 posts in 3606 days

#7 posted 04-05-2014 10:31 PM

Truly exceptional Paul. All the aspects are outstanding. Ive done a little with Ipe’ and it’s a bugger to work with so again I’m suitably impressed. Keep ‘em coming

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

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3753 days

#8 posted 04-05-2014 10:51 PM

Amazing job on this one. Very fine looking piece.

View Hammerthumb's profile


3098 posts in 3130 days

#9 posted 04-05-2014 10:58 PM

Thank you all for the kind words.

Agree with you about it being difficult wood Kevin. I have a love hate relationship with it, but became allergic to it mid project. I had to use a respirator for most of the build. Still have about 50bdft in the wood pile, but I’ll give it a rest as far as upcoming projects go.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View SoonerFanJerry's profile


81 posts in 2682 days

#10 posted 04-05-2014 11:45 PM

Beautifully done!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30627 posts in 3493 days

#11 posted 04-06-2014 12:00 AM

That’s really impressive

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4306 days

#12 posted 04-06-2014 01:06 AM


-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Josh's profile


1234 posts in 3724 days

#13 posted 04-06-2014 01:55 AM

that’s a beautiful wood.

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View hoss12992's profile


4180 posts in 3047 days

#14 posted 04-06-2014 01:55 AM

Absolutely beautiful. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5373 days

#15 posted 04-06-2014 02:32 AM

That’s really impressive. No…. make that amazing!

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

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