Jewelry/keepsake chest

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Project by Hammerthumb posted 143 days ago 1479 views 9 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had intended on posting this project right after Christmas as it was a gift for my wife. If anyone has followed the “Furniture Makers” thread, you might have seen a few pictures during the build. This project is a jewelry/keepsake chest. My wife has several small boxes that she has used for this, so I thought that I would help her get a little more organized. The chest is 15” tall, by 12” deep, by 25” wide (these are approximate as I really did not measure after I got the top, bottom and feet on).

The primary wood for the case is Ipe. The secondary wood for interior construction and the drawers is Maple. Drawer fronts are of Bubinga. I turned four columns that went on each corner with a cove piece behind them. The cove piece serves as part of the case construction which also allowed for side compartments which are used for hanging chains or necklace. The only metal parts used in construction are the barrel hinges that I used for the doors of the side compartment and a few brass pins. All other joinery uses glue with traditional joinery and a few 1/8” and 3/8” dowels. The doors and back are of frame and panel construction. All wood used for this is solid except for the top, which is Cherry veneer surrounded by Ipe. I stained the Cherry veneer to resemble the drawer fronts, but I am still on the fence over the grain pattern.

The sides of the case were made by joining 2 of the cove pieces with some solid 5/8” maple. This is actually the back of the side compartments. The maple was grooved on the inside to hold the web frames later in construction. The 2 sides were then joined to the double raised panel back At this point I had a case that I could at least stand up for more measuring and fitting.

During construction, I had just finished the web frames (3/8” with 1/8” bridal joints, never done that before) and slid them into the case. I thought that if I could radius the front, this would not be just another boring chest with drawers. I cut some radius pieces at approximately 5/8” over 20” and joined them to the web frames. It looked so much better that way. I did not know that it would make several other aspects of the build more difficult.

The top, bottom, and columns were joined to the case with 3/8” dowels. The web frames were then slid into their slots. I pinned them in through the front cove pieces using 1/8” brass, and left them to float freely in the grooves of the Maple side pieces. You might notice the “dog ears” of the web frames as they sit on the edge of the cove pieces. I thought this added a nice touch to the design.

I knew that I would have to radius the drawer faces, top and bottom, but did not take into account the half blind dovetails. I ended up cutting them at a 3.5 degree +/- angle to the drawer faces. Not to difficult, but took a little more thought while cutting them. I cut and fitted the drawers so they are recessed from the web frames slightly. I think Maloof has done something similar. The drawers are: 1.5”, 2.5”, 3.5”, 4.5”. The top 2 drawers are for rings, second 2 drawers have compartments for watches and pens, 3rd drawer has 7 larger compartments, and the 4th drawer has a compartment large enough for papers, and a few smaller compartments. The drawers were lined prior to installing the dividers with batting and furniture fabric. The drawer pulls are Ipe, They are pinned to the faces with hidden dowels. The pulls are faceted with 11 facets. These also went on the side doors.

As the corners of this cabinet are rounded, I followed suite with the feet. They are made with L shaped pieces that I rounded at the bandsaw, smoothed, and then put a bevel at the top of the face side.

Finishing is very simple. I sanded to 600 grit. Applied Danish oil, and wet sanded with 1000 grit. I added some transtint to the Danish oil for the drawer faces as I thought they were too red and needed to be toned down a little. I then applied a dark paste wax. and buffed it out.

Sorry to be so long winded. I hope you enjoyed the project.


-- Paul, Las Vegas

29 comments so far

View BigRedKnothead's profile


4734 posts in 613 days

#1 posted 143 days ago

This is an impressive piece of craftsmanship Paul. Thanks for sharing the ride with us.

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View RogerBean's profile


1125 posts in 1585 days

#2 posted 143 days ago

Nice work indeed.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14722 posts in 2307 days

#3 posted 143 days ago

That is absolutely awesome craftsmanship!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View CL810's profile


1967 posts in 1619 days

#4 posted 143 days ago

Simply outstanding in every respect Paul. Favorited. There is so much to like about this piece; design, craftsmanship, wood choices, finish…

Great job.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View a1Jim's profile


112014 posts in 2208 days

#5 posted 143 days ago

Wonderful piece and done so well .

-- Custom furniture

View Jeff82780's profile


182 posts in 1625 days

#6 posted 143 days ago

You do exceptional paul! Keep those projects coming!

View theoldfart's profile


4042 posts in 1082 days

#7 posted 143 days ago

Truly exceptional Paul. All the aspects are outstanding. Ive done a little with Ipe’ and it’s a bugger to work with so again I’m suitably impressed. Keep ‘em coming

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View ShaneA's profile


5289 posts in 1229 days

#8 posted 143 days ago

Amazing job on this one. Very fine looking piece.

View Hammerthumb's profile


1210 posts in 606 days

#9 posted 143 days ago

Thank you all for the kind words.

Agree with you about it being difficult wood Kevin. I have a love hate relationship with it, but became allergic to it mid project. I had to use a respirator for most of the build. Still have about 50bdft in the wood pile, but I’ll give it a rest as far as upcoming projects go.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View SoonerFanJerry's profile


70 posts in 158 days

#10 posted 143 days ago

Beautifully done!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13779 posts in 969 days

#11 posted 143 days ago

That’s really impressive

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

View Mauricio's profile


6805 posts in 1783 days

#12 posted 143 days ago


-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View josh's profile


888 posts in 1200 days

#13 posted 143 days ago

that’s a beautiful wood.

-- Josh; Former Pennsylvanian, current Coloradan

View hoss12992's profile


2583 posts in 524 days

#14 posted 143 days ago

Absolutely beautiful. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View CharlieM1958's profile


15688 posts in 2849 days

#15 posted 143 days ago

That’s really impressive. No…. make that amazing!

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

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