Three drawer chest

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Project by John Mills posted 12-07-2016 01:07 AM 1273 views 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This chest was a project in a week long class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking. The class was long enough to get a good start on everything and have an idea of what you needed to do to complete it. One of the staff members, Zane Powell was the instructor. The architecture is web and frame, held together entirely by dovetails. I was able to dry-fit down the last detail then do the glue up. I learned a lot in those 5 days. It also drew on what I had learned in a previous hand joinery class.

The primary wood is cherry, the secondary is poplar. The finish is 6 coats of Waterlox applied following directions in an article by Mike Pekovich in FWW March/April 2011. His method differs from the manufacturer’s instructions. I finished it with two coats of paste wax. The cherry has a nice deep warm tone and the surface is smooth as glass. Although it is not perfect, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut about it and let people enjoy it. I feel like it is my first serious piece of furniture.

13 comments so far

View Quikenuff's profile


66 posts in 1105 days

#1 posted 12-07-2016 01:49 AM

Very nice work, looks like it will last a life time.


View AJ1104's profile


656 posts in 1895 days

#2 posted 12-07-2016 02:10 AM

Beautiful chest. I like the sapwood detail on the side chest. Great finish too.

-- AJ

View AshTheArtist's profile


28 posts in 772 days

#3 posted 12-07-2016 03:11 AM

Awesome! I like how some dovetails are different size signifying human skill not machine punched.

-- Ash @ touchwoodarts

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5825 posts in 2645 days

#4 posted 12-07-2016 03:58 AM

Excellent work, we are our own worst critics so don’t worry about mistakes. Think of it as character.. LOL

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

View BurlyBob's profile


6030 posts in 2501 days

#5 posted 12-07-2016 06:01 AM

That’s a great looking chest. That cherry is only going to get better looking with age.

View ccraven's profile


5 posts in 772 days

#6 posted 12-07-2016 06:33 AM

Very nice work…..i like the finish too as well as the dovetails on the drawer fronts.

View Halc's profile


146 posts in 1838 days

#7 posted 12-07-2016 01:41 PM

You did a great job on the chest, congratulations!

View Ottacat's profile


495 posts in 2087 days

#8 posted 12-07-2016 01:42 PM

Very nice looking chest. The finish looks great and all the drawers look great with those dovetails.

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2579 days

#9 posted 12-07-2016 02:11 PM

looks great

View splintergroup's profile


2500 posts in 1458 days

#10 posted 12-07-2016 04:28 PM

Sounds like a fun class!

I like the dust frame details that allows for chest side expansion.

I bet that was some serious bonding time involved with all those hand cut DTs!

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1011 days

#11 posted 12-07-2016 04:41 PM

What are your thoughts on the streak of cherry sapwood?

About how many hours went it to it?

Just curious, thanks. Nice work.

View John Mills's profile

John Mills

6 posts in 772 days

#12 posted 12-09-2016 01:00 AM


Gargey – I’ve concluded I don’t want to include sapwood in future projects. I was running out of cherry and had to include some sapwood. I joined two pieces that both had sapwood disguising the join somewhat, but I’ve really come to like the reddish bown in the piece and am distracted by the sapwood.

I am guessing I spent about 3 to 4 weeks on the piece counting only elapsed time in the shop and not counting drying time between coats.

Splintergroup – first – great nickname and image. Last Christmas my wife made up a shop First Aid kit for me – and it has definitely been used. Yeah it was a great class and several of the nights after instruction was over several of us spent serveral quiet hours cutting dovetails.

AJ – Other people also liked the sapwood but like I said – over time I decided it’s just not my cup of tea. I appreciate your comment though.

AshTheArtist – The picture with the chisel and the partially completed dovetails was part of my work in progress photos. I think so much of the work and the workpieces are visually striking when one works with wood that I like to stop and take a picture.

David38, Ottacat, Ccraven, Halc, Woodbutcher, Burlybob, Quickenuff – thank you very much. If I’ve missed anyone, I apologize. This is the first time I’ve really invested myself in a site like LJ. You all want to make me get back to the shop and keep doin’ it. Thanks

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 4059 days

#13 posted 12-09-2016 05:58 PM

Gorgeous piece of furniture well done.

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