Spice Box

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Project by Reddial posted 07-16-2012 02:13 AM 4526 views 11 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

About a year ago, I became facinated by Steve Latta’s replica of the 18th century Spice Box with Line and Berry inlay. But it really just wasn’t my style. So I made quite a few modifications but kept my main focus of integrating some line and berry inlay.

The line and berry tools that Steve Latta uses in his video are, as he says, relatively easy to make yourself. However I took the easy road and baought the entire set from Lie-Nielson who now is making Steve’s line and berry tools. The tools I got costs about $400.

This spice box is made of all solid woods, no ply or mdf. The outside is all mesquite except for the quilted cherry door panels and ebony pins. All the interior is soft maple with quilted maple drawer fronts with ebony pulls. The center drawer front is quilted cherry. The overall demensions are 22H X 17W X 11D.

The ‘V joinery’ for the interior box liner was a little tricky, but was worth the time to provide smooth transition for the half rounded edges of the drawer separators.

The cherry was used on the doors and center drawer front to accommdate the inlay. There is absolutley no way that I could plow the grooves for the inlay into mesuite!

The drawer fronts are hand cut dovetails. The ebony pulls are secured with 1/8” dowell.

The back of the cabinet is ship-lapped mesquite.

The drawer bottoms are lined with very soft leather.

I finished it with 3 coats of clear satin poly, 320 between coats.

Lessons learned:
1. Not at the level I want to be with the stringing, line and berry but was happy as my first attempt
2. Poly on the outside of the drawer sides made them a little sticky when pulling open. Had to remove most.
3. There is no substitute for the quality of Brusso hinges. Expensive but worth it. Tried several other before returning and going back to the Brusso.

-- Darrel..."The biggest threat to 'good' is 'better'.

25 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3836 days

#1 posted 07-16-2012 02:53 AM

Very nice work !
Is it normal to line the drawers in a Spice box with leather and what purpose does it serve ?
Thanks : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View 489tad's profile


3434 posts in 3159 days

#2 posted 07-16-2012 03:14 AM

Thats fantastic. Well done. The wood selection is very nice and I like the round over on the drawer dividers.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View MichaelAgate's profile


398 posts in 2471 days

#3 posted 07-16-2012 03:17 AM

Greene and Greene spice box :)

-- Michael and Matthew

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2336 days

#4 posted 07-16-2012 03:19 AM

Incredible workmanship. I can only dream of making that fantastic.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Reddial's profile


48 posts in 2424 days

#5 posted 07-16-2012 03:50 AM

No. Spice boxes had no drawer linings. They were used as a secure storage for ‘spices’ which only the rich could afford. Also, they normally had secret spaces in them where they would hide valuables and important papers. I put the leather in to accommodate possible storage of jewerly or collectables.

-- Darrel..."The biggest threat to 'good' is 'better'.

View shipwright's profile


8086 posts in 2946 days

#6 posted 07-16-2012 05:23 AM

Really a nice piece Darrel.
The inlays work very nicely and your attention to detail is just sweet.
I also like the “v” joinery.
Well done.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View DamnYankee's profile


3312 posts in 2710 days

#7 posted 07-16-2012 06:09 AM

Beautiful work. Really like the wood/grain selection.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View TomTinkerSum's profile


226 posts in 3983 days

#8 posted 07-16-2012 06:35 AM

WOW!! Great work all the way around.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic.... :)

View ruddy's profile


546 posts in 3087 days

#9 posted 07-16-2012 07:47 AM

Lovely joinery, great combination of some lovely wood. I am inspired by your inlay work.
Thanks for posting this piece.

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View CJay's profile


133 posts in 3379 days

#10 posted 07-16-2012 08:29 AM

Stunning. Love the Greene and Greene style.

How did you attach the frame and panel back? It’s a matter of embarrassment to me that i still don’t know how to do them.

-- Chris Boreham, Oxfordshire, UK - -

View Ken Fitzpatrick's profile

Ken Fitzpatrick

376 posts in 4171 days

#11 posted 07-16-2012 10:50 AM

Absolutely beautiful!!!! Hope you are keeping it. Approximately how many hours do you have into it. Thanks so much for sharing.


-- • "I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm."....... Calvin Coolidge

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2556 days

#12 posted 07-16-2012 12:00 PM

Beautiful job all the way around. That quilted cherry looks great where you used it and your inlay work is spot on. This, in my opinion, is a fine piece of woodworking and craftsmanship. You should be proud of this one!!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View RKaste's profile


144 posts in 2304 days

#13 posted 07-16-2012 12:58 PM

Thanks for the inspiration, have always wanted to try and make a spice box and this beautiful piece of craftmanship just pushed me over the edge. It off to the work.

-- --May you have fair winds and following seas--

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 3833 days

#14 posted 07-16-2012 01:01 PM

Looks amazing, I really like the redesign into a G&G style piece.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3188 days

#15 posted 07-16-2012 01:45 PM

Very Nice !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

showing 1 through 15 of 25 comments

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