18 Drawer Apothecary Cabinet

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Project by KnotCurser posted 05-22-2012 09:45 PM 7249 views 19 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is most certainly my most difficult project to-date. I made this cabinet for my office – it was designed to reflect the same wood types and style as my trestle desk that I made a few months ago. This inspiration for this comes from our own Lazy Larry and a blog he posted a while ago – thanks Larry!

The piece measures 45 inches long x 25 inches high and is 10 inches deep.

Each drawer face is 6 inches square and 8 inches deep. Every drawer is box jointed on all four sides – that’s 1800 box joints that had to be cut, fit and sanded flush! Not only does the grain follow across all three rows of drawers, but the bottom and top rows are book-matched.

The top and face frame is cherry. The drawer faces, top trim and bottom skirt are walnut. The other three sides of the drawers are quarter sawn sycamore.

Each drawer has a separate compartment to slide into and is fitted uniquely to it’s own compartment. Each compartment’s interior was painted a bright red and lacquered to make it very shiny and slick.

The rest of the cabinet was given two applications of tung oil and then a surface coat of paste wax.

This project took me MANY hours over the course of two months to complete. I am very glad I was able to accomplish something like this, but I am REALLY glad it’s completed! ;-)

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

37 comments so far

View Tokolosi's profile


674 posts in 1443 days

#1 posted 05-22-2012 10:08 PM

You should be very pleased! It turned out quite spectacular!

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View degoose's profile


7143 posts in 2442 days

#2 posted 05-22-2012 10:25 PM

And I have yet to finish mine… all the drawers are done… fitting wooden handles … still have to make the carcass
Now I know what mine will look like… thanks for posting… now I have to pull my finger out and get it done….

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ For lovers of all things timber...

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8619 posts in 2008 days

#3 posted 05-22-2012 10:38 PM

Wow! That is exquisite! What an incredible effort and simply beautiful results! I love it, Bob! Just love it!

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View SPalm's profile


5185 posts in 2970 days

#4 posted 05-22-2012 11:04 PM

Wow, beats the heck out of my underdrawers.

Very nice, Bob. A lot of love went into this one.
The red interior is kind of a neat treat. Is there a story behind that?

Well done,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View a1Jim's profile


113822 posts in 2665 days

#5 posted 05-22-2012 11:09 PM

Very cool Bob it wears me out just thinking about all those drawers and box joints.

-- Custom furniture

View scoops's profile


56 posts in 1512 days

#6 posted 05-22-2012 11:57 PM

Wow, Bob! Great job! And with all those box joints! Give yourself a pat on the back! There’s no doubt about that Lazy Larry, I was over at his place the other day and I think he inspires a lot of us with some of the ideas he comes up with and the work he does!

-- yesterday today was tomorrow

View KnotCurser's profile


1944 posts in 2156 days

#7 posted 05-23-2012 12:48 AM

Indeed, it was a lot of time spent on cutting box joints!

Steve, I did quite a bit of research on this type of cabinet and found they originated in Asia – mainly China and Korea. They have a habit of decorating every surface that is seen as well as unseen – usually in what we “Westerners” would consider a garish color. I loved looking at that ancient furniture and wanted a small piece of it in my home. :-)

And Larry – yours will be twice as nice as it contains twice the drawers! ;-)

Thanks for all the compliments everyone!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View gfadvm's profile


13935 posts in 1778 days

#8 posted 05-23-2012 01:09 AM

That turned out REALLY nice. Wood choice and the red lacquer makes this very special. I’ll bet everyone who comes in your office will comment. Is that floor bamboo? It is beautiful!

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

View grizzman's profile


7631 posts in 2391 days

#9 posted 05-23-2012 02:13 AM

what a fantastic cabinet, but it really deserves to be called a apothecary, and its really so beautiful, i was wondering if you datto each of the cabinet pieces, or if they are flush, but there sure is a lot of time in this one, pieces like this are true family looks like your floor is bamboo…it looks like the type you used andy in that one box you made…but bob this is a hands down beauty…thank you for sharing …something for larry to aspire to..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View JL7's profile


8125 posts in 2053 days

#10 posted 05-23-2012 03:05 AM

This really turned out great – the details are outstanding…...thanks for sharing!

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View Pete Jansen's profile

Pete Jansen

250 posts in 2009 days

#11 posted 05-23-2012 03:08 AM

Beautiful joinery and cabinet. Love it.

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

View gfadvm's profile


13935 posts in 1778 days

#12 posted 05-23-2012 03:13 AM

I agree with Grizz but that’s too hard to spell. How bout ” old timey pharmaceutical storage thingy?” It is a spectacular piece regardless of its name! Maybe we should call it Bob: easy to spell and timeless. LOL

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

View jeepturner's profile


936 posts in 1880 days

#13 posted 05-23-2012 11:29 AM

Nice cabinet. That is a lot of boxes, and lots of cuts.
I like the way you finished the inside of the box holes. Looks nice.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Mel,

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6793 posts in 3067 days

#14 posted 05-23-2012 11:32 AM

Great looking project.

You did an excelent job on this.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Woodfix's profile


328 posts in 2387 days

#15 posted 05-23-2012 11:33 AM

Very nice well done. Would look great in any room.

-- Living is a constant gamble, life is about working the odds in your favour

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