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Jewelry Chest with secret drawer

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I finally had a few days to spare so I spent them in the workshop building this jewelry chest for my grand-daughter's 10th birthday (this coming September). It's made from cherry, with pine for the drawer sides, cherry ply or masonite for the drawer bottoms, and 1/4 mdf for the back. I used mdf for its stability as it needs to slide in a slot to reveal the secret drawer.

I started out with a set of plans...

As you'll see, I changed them a bit as I went along.

Fist step was the cut a dovetail slot in the base and fit a catch. The catch is held into the slot by the spring, salvaged from a ballpoint pen (free from an airline). I stained the catch only so it can be seen clearly in the photo.


Next, I cut the sides and slotted them to accept the drawer supports. I also cut a 5/16" slot on the inside rear of the sides for the sliding back. The drawer supports were made of 3/8 scrap pine faced with 3/4 x 3/8 cherry. This pine had been in the shop for years and was nice and stable - but had a few holes in it. Never mind, they'll never be seen. I also changed the design at this point as I didn't like it so regular. The thinnest drawer is not on the top, which makes the design 'move' nicely for me. I also didn't like the two rows of half width drawers and changed it to just one. The depth of the secret drawer changed, too, from 2" to 1 1/4", as the top looked too heavy.


Add the top and front fascia and the carcass is glued up.


Next step was to make all the drawers. The fronts are 3/4 cherry and sides 1/4 pine. The bottoms in the small drawers and the secret drawer are masonite and the others 1/4 cherry ply. Backs are 1/2" ply. The drawers were made 1/16" too big on width and height so that they could be planed to fit after assembly.


I needed to add some height to the bottom so that the back could slide down far enough for the secret drawer to be accessed, so I made a simple base. The 'feet' are solid steel drawer knobs with black nickel finish. Very heavy! Note the inset at the back to allow for the cabinet back panel to slide. I chose a slightly different colour cherry for the base - quite pink - to give it some 'weight' and ground the piece.


The whole lots was sanded three times. 100, 220 and 300 grits then one coat of satin varnish applied. The varnish was rubbed down with 0000 steel wool and final thin coat of varnish, also rubbed out with 0000 wool and a final wax with clear wax. I did not do the final rub out the drawer fronts or the drawer runner edges in order to leave a slightly mottled finish compared with the smooth of the cabinet.

I spent a long time (at least a day) looking for ideas for knobs and settled on a selection of large beads mounted on brass ferrules (left over from a previous project). They are held in place by 0.5mm brass pins drilled into the wood and the whole lot is epoxied in place. The smoothness of the beads and brass ferrules contrasts wonderfully with the slightly rougher texture of the drawer fronts. On one of the drawers (second up) I had added my granddaughter's name and the year in old english gold lettering before I varnished it. Can't see it in the photos, but as the cherry ages and darkens it will show up more and more.

I had planned to put a cornice around the top, but decided against it. The base changed the overall look of the piece, and when I tried dry fitting a cornice it just didn't look right. So here it is finished.




And a view of the back dropped to reveal the secret drawer. To get at this drawer the bottom drawer has to be removed completely so that you have access to the catch that releases the back to slide down. There wasn't room to put a bead handle on the secert drawer, so I made one from purpleheart (nice contrast with the cherry) and fastened it with epoxy and two brass pins.



After I'd finished, I noticed that the beads I'd used on the bottom drawer are representations of apples -and my granddaughter's name is Zoe, which means 'Eve'. Coincidence?

I hope she likes it...
 

Waka

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Brian

very nice box and I do like the idea of a secret drawer, that will appeal to youngsters.

very good review, thanks for sharing it with us.
 

devonwoody

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Yes I like it.

The third picture down gave me a bit of a shock, I thought you were working in my workshop, it's almost a carbon copy of my own as regards the window scene.

Got a jewelery box myself coming on as well with five drawers.
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Brian

What a wonderful project, I'm sure that your grandaughter will be delighted.

Thank you for taking the time to post the wip photographs as I find them so helpful.

Cheers
Neil
 

CHJ

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White House Workshop":po5ishj6 said:
I finally had a few days to spare so I spent them in the workshop building this jewelry chest for my grand-daughter's 10th birthday (this coming September). It's made from cherry, with pine for the drawer sides, cherry ply or masonite for the drawer bottoms, and 1/4 mdf for the back. I used mdf for its stability as it needs to slide in a slot to reveal the secret drawer.

I started out with a set of plans...

As you'll see, I changed them a bit as I went along.

Fist step was the cut a dovetail slot in the base and fit a catch. The catch is held into the slot by the spring, salvaged from a ballpoint pen (free from an airline). I stained the catch only so it can be seen clearly in the photo.


Next, I cut the sides and slotted them to accept the drawer supports. I also cut a 5/16" slot on the inside rear of the sides for the sliding back. The drawer supports were made of 3/8 scrap pine faced with 3/4 x 3/8 cherry. This pine had been in the shop for years and was nice and stable - but had a few holes in it. Never mind, they'll never be seen. I also changed the design at this point as I didn't like it so regular. The thinnest drawer is not on the top, which makes the design 'move' nicely for me. I also didn't like the two rows of half width drawers and changed it to just one. The depth of the secret drawer changed, too, from 2" to 1 1/4", as the top looked too heavy.


Add the top and front fascia and the carcass is glued up.


Next step was to make all the drawers. The fronts are 3/4 cherry and sides 1/4 pine. The bottoms in the small drawers and the secret drawer are masonite and the others 1/4 cherry ply. Backs are 1/2" ply. The drawers were made 1/16" too big on width and height so that they could be planed to fit after assembly.


I needed to add some height to the bottom so that the back could slide down far enough for the secret drawer to be accessed, so I made a simple base. The 'feet' are solid steel drawer knobs with black nickel finish. Very heavy! Note the inset at the back to allow for the cabinet back panel to slide. I chose a slightly different colour cherry for the base - quite pink - to give it some 'weight' and ground the piece.


The whole lots was sanded three times. 100, 220 and 300 grits then one coat of satin varnish applied. The varnish was rubbed down with 0000 steel wool and final thin coat of varnish, also rubbed out with 0000 wool and a final wax with clear wax. I did not do the final rub out the drawer fronts or the drawer runner edges in order to leave a slightly mottled finish compared with the smooth of the cabinet.

I spent a long time (at least a day) looking for ideas for knobs and settled on a selection of large beads mounted on brass ferrules (left over from a previous project). They are held in place by 0.5mm brass pins drilled into the wood and the whole lot is epoxied in place. The smoothness of the beads and brass ferrules contrasts wonderfully with the slightly rougher texture of the drawer fronts. On one of the drawers (second up) I had added my granddaughter's name and the year in old english gold lettering before I varnished it. Can't see it in the photos, but as the cherry ages and darkens it will show up more and more.

I had planned to put a cornice around the top, but decided against it. The base changed the overall look of the piece, and when I tried dry fitting a cornice it just didn't look right. So here it is finished.




And a view of the back dropped to reveal the secret drawer. To get at this drawer the bottom drawer has to be removed completely so that you have access to the catch that releases the back to slide down. There wasn't room to put a bead handle on the secert drawer, so I made one from purpleheart (nice contrast with the cherry) and fastened it with epoxy and two brass pins.



After I'd finished, I noticed that the beads I'd used on the bottom drawer are representations of apples -and my granddaughter's name is Zoe, which means 'Eve'. Coincidence?

I hope she likes it...
 

wizer

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Sadly WHW isn't with us anymore, his work and comments greatly missed.
 

big soft moose

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wizer":3jee0380 said:
Sadly WHW isn't with us anymore, his work and comments greatly missed.
is that as in now found on the "other forum" or do you mean he's gone to the great big workshop in the sky ?
 

wizer

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The latter. Sorry I should have been more specific.

RIP
 
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