Chest of Drawers with Leaf Inlay Top

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Project by Matt posted 07-17-2015 10:20 PM 1162 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The carcass for this project was made of walnut, unfinished, and was being sold at an estate sale for a local cabinet maker on Whidbey Island. Roughly 1.5 years later, I’ve finally made drawers for it and finished it. The top drawers are maple on the sides and poplar for the back while the bottom two are poplar from a local tree (same one as the coffee table) for both the sides and the backs. The fronts are sapele and the drawer bottoms are baltic birch ply to mitigate expansion problems.
For the top, the base wood is walnut, but I wanted to bring in the sapele and maple from the drawer fronts and handles. Initially, the ideal was to inlay a geometric design (some sort of spiraling maple shape), then it was going to be fall leaves scattered over the top (just like the fall table). The wife believed all of these ideas to be “too busy” and, heeding her advice, I elected to go with two inlayed branches out of sapele and the mitered maple border (1/4”). Having done the fall leaf table prior, this one was much easier as I’ve now learned to angle the scroll saw 1 degree to give the inlay sides an angle for a tighter fit when clamped in. The top is attached to the carcass with oak cleats a’la the WoodWhisperer’s chest of drawers build, to allow for seasonal expansion of the solid walnut top. The Outside is finished in Arm R Seal. The inside is finished in shellac to avoid off gassing issues. The project had alot to teach me about dovetails and fitting drawers one piece at a time. Thanks for the look.

6 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2887 days

#1 posted 07-18-2015 12:06 AM

That’s a very interesting combination of woods. It turned out just spectacular! The leaves and the drawer pulls make it extra special. GREAT job.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2541 days

#2 posted 07-18-2015 01:29 PM

nice job

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3064 days

#3 posted 07-18-2015 02:43 PM

This looks very nice, Matt.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View WhattheChuck's profile


344 posts in 3758 days

#4 posted 07-18-2015 02:50 PM

Nice job! I get most of my wood from dead men’s wood collections. My hope is that before I die, I leave very few boards behind from my own collection to the next generation!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View tnwood's profile


261 posts in 3284 days

#5 posted 07-18-2015 05:51 PM

Great look; especially the top. Very well done and tasteful. Your wife was right.

View Tim's profile


3 posts in 1343 days

#6 posted 07-22-2015 11:13 AM

Beautiful piece – and I have also learned that when it comes to design, I’m inevitably better off when I listen to her advice.

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