Small Jewelry Cabinet

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Project by Froggy posted 02-12-2011 12:36 PM 4358 views 18 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a gift for my wife’s birthday last year. The main idea of an overall case design and angled doors was taken from the larger and more complex jewelry cabinet plan in Woodsmith #106. The cabinet is made of a red cedar and oak plywood. I know, not the best choice of wood for this kind of project, but I loved the grain of one cedar board I came across in a store, and that was it—I just knew I had to do something nice from it. BTW, this is a rare case when the unfinished wood actually looked better—the beautiful silky texture was pretty much lost after finishing the cabinet with poly. One other thing that I love about the unfinished cedar is the smell – it smells sooo darn good! I actually collected some shavings from planing the boards, and put them in closets and drawers… :)

This cabinet was made mostly using hand tools. I only did edge profiles on a router table, and sanded flat boards with the orbital sander (I HATE sanding). Everything else was done with japanese saws, a couple of hand planes, chisels and sanding foam blocks.

Brass hardware and self-adhesive felt are from Lee Valley. I made ring inserts in a drawer using some kind of dense packaging foam cut into strips, with felt wrapped around them. The finish is 3 coats of Minwax spray poly. Some people say this cabinet looks bigger on the photos than it actually is—it is just over 14” high.

11 comments so far

View dufus7441's profile


60 posts in 2896 days

#1 posted 02-12-2011 01:33 PM

very nice job. i don’t see anything wrong with the comibination of wood you used. you are right the grain patterns look great.

-- Paul

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3798 days

#2 posted 02-12-2011 02:26 PM

Beautiful jewelry box. Very nicely done. Thanks for posting. I did two similar jewelry boxes for Christmas presents last year, if you care to look.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3312 days

#3 posted 02-12-2011 03:10 PM

great work, the woods contrast each other very nicely. The cedar looks like an aged cherry but alot nicer and the green felt sets it off just perfect.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3091 days

#4 posted 02-12-2011 04:12 PM

Nice work!! Woods look great.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3736 days

#5 posted 02-12-2011 04:18 PM

I wonder if shellac would have preserved the silky feeling? I like the combination of woods. I am also learning to like working with red oak.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3101 days

#6 posted 02-12-2011 04:19 PM

Beautiful piece! I’m sure she loved it. Thanks for sharing….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Dominic Vanacora's profile

Dominic Vanacora

508 posts in 3893 days

#7 posted 02-12-2011 05:24 PM

Wow, your good, really good. This piece is Beautiful. I have been wanting to make a J box for my loved one for sometime, and this will be perfect. I love the size the design and the selection of woods.

-- Dominic, Trinity, Florida...Lets be safe out there.

View steliart's profile


2698 posts in 2712 days

#8 posted 02-12-2011 05:33 PM

awesome cabinet

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of all inventions

View Richard's profile


1916 posts in 2714 days

#9 posted 02-12-2011 06:01 PM

Very nice looking piece of work, I really like the side storage for hanging necklaces or chains . What bit did you use to cut the profile on the top and bottom?

View Froggy's profile


77 posts in 2686 days

#10 posted 02-12-2011 10:57 PM

Thank you kindly for the feedback, everyone!

What I meant by saying it wasn’t a good choice of wood is that, first off, red cedar is definitely not a traditional or expected material for this kind of cabinet… Also, it’s a very soft wood, which makes it prone to knicks and scratches—it doesn’t stand to abuse nearly as well as hardwoods. But I chose it because of the grain and texture, and so far it’s looking pretty good.

Mark, I agree with you on shellac finish—I am quite sure it would look much better on this piece. Unfortunately, at that time I knew nothing about shellac, and didn’t try it until later. I am now using a dewaxed shellac (Zinsser SealCoat) as my universal finish, and I like it a lot. It sure does much better job preserving the texture of the wood than poly.

Richard—the profile was made using just a standard roundover and cove bits. :) I actually used two layers (mitered frames) for both top and bottom pieces—they are made with an offset and glued together. I made a roundover on one of them, and a cove on another, leaving a lip on both to create an accent in the center of a profile.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2828 days

#11 posted 01-16-2012 04:08 PM

everything about this is absolutely awesome.. I like the way you did the insides of the drawers with the ring holders, and the felt wrapped inner drawer sleeves (i’ll call em that). very nicely done

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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