Pennsylvania Spice Box

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Project by Jeff in Huntersville posted 494 days ago 5308 views 18 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a Pennsylvania style Spice Box built from Steve Latta’s plan. The main body is walnut. The drawers are aromatic cedar and the drawer fronts are Santos Rosewood. The back is cherry. The inlay is holly. The main part of the chest is oiled with light walnut Danish oil then covered with several coats of clear wax and buffed.

It’s all pretty straightforward cabinetry but on a smaller scale than I’m used to so there are some compromises that I’m not going to tell anyone about. The most difficult part was the inlay. Lee Valley has a great set of tools that make the process a little easier. At first I was disappointed with the inlay until I scraped and sanded the surface level. Then it really stands out.

The hanging pulls were difficult to find. They have to be sticking out a maximum of only about 1/2” to allow the door to close and have to be sized proportionally to the drawers. Horton Brasses came to the rescue here.

Apart from the obvious drawers in front, the back slides out to reveal two hidden drawers. One is at top for flat documents. A hidden box holds valuables.

I had originally planned on giving this to my daughter as a Christmas present. According to lore the inside of the door has spaces to inlay the initials of her and her husband. However, since she’s not even engaged I guessed I had some extra time. It took me until a few weeks ago. Maybe in a few years it’ll come back and I’ll be able to add the initials.

34 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


5285 posts in 1224 days

#1 posted 494 days ago

Stunning, real quality build.

View Oldtool's profile (online now)


1777 posts in 817 days

#2 posted 494 days ago

Absolutely beautiful. Excellent craftsmanship, superb build. Something to be very proud of, and I’m sure your daughter I’ll always cherish it.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View cajunpen's profile


14376 posts in 2692 days

#3 posted 494 days ago

That is something to be proud of. Your skills really came to the front on this one.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13737 posts in 964 days

#4 posted 494 days ago

Really classy piece

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View bonobo's profile


231 posts in 682 days

#5 posted 494 days ago

Amazing. All that stringing must have been really tricky.

-- β€œThe easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” ― Mark Twain

View hoss12992's profile


2571 posts in 519 days

#6 posted 494 days ago

Great job!

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View PaulLL's profile


148 posts in 602 days

#7 posted 494 days ago


View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


9761 posts in 1244 days

#8 posted 494 days ago


-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Don's profile


13 posts in 496 days

#9 posted 494 days ago

Wow! Very nice!

View MonteCristo's profile


2094 posts in 814 days

#10 posted 494 days ago

Nice job ! When you speak of plans, did you get actual drawings or just what was in FWW ?

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View deon's profile


2171 posts in 1652 days

#11 posted 494 days ago

Exelent work and design.

-- Dreaming patterns

View a1Jim's profile


112010 posts in 2203 days

#12 posted 494 days ago

Beautiful work Jeff.

-- Custom furniture

View Manitario's profile


2299 posts in 1509 days

#13 posted 494 days ago

Looks really good Jeff. I like that you managed to included a pic of your Workmate. What is a spice cabinet used for; do you just put loose spices in the drawers or is it just used as a small cabinet?

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

398 posts in 1820 days

#14 posted 494 days ago

I want to thank everyone for the kind comments and for helping me to my first top three! I had small pangs of remorse when I gave it to my daughter. It took a long time to make and I liked how it turned out. But I’m glad it’s started its journey along the path to family heirloom. I have a son, too so it looks like there’s another one in my future.

Rob, from what I’ve read a spice chest orginated in colonial days. It was probably presented to a newly married couple as a “fine” piece of furniture. Whether gifted or bought, being small, it was probably the only fine piece affordable. It served double duty as a store for spices, tea, etc. and the hidden areas could be used to fool would be thieves. I’m not so sure about the origination but the use seems sensible. Even today I don’t think a thief would recognize it for what it is and it’s heavy so they wouldn’t walk off with it.

View CharlieM1958's profile


15684 posts in 2844 days

#15 posted 494 days ago

This is a real heirloom piece for sure. Great work!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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