Mahogany and Curly Maple Jewelry Chest

This jewelry chest features a more contemporary design.

SHOP OWNER: Kent Fitzgerald

    I made this jewelry chest for my wife in the winter of '04-05. I intended it as a Christmas present, but it took me until Valentine's Day to actually finish it.
    This project represents a number of firsts for me: my first use of turnings (the legs and pulls), my first attempt at a more contemporary design (I've been working mostly in the Shaker and Mission styles), my first use of slightly exotic woods, and my first experience with mortise and tenon joints in round, curved pieces. It was a learning process!
    The design started as a scrap paper sketch. I played with the leg form until I arrived at a "pen shape" that I found satisfying. At one point, I considered a floating top, but I decided not to throw too many tricks at this piece at one time.
Mahogany and Curly Maple Jewelry Chest

    The frame’s construction features non-shouldered mortise and tenon joints. That is, there are no real tenons on the rails; the full width and thickness of the rail inserts into the mortise. Initially, I was concerned about the edge of the mortise being visible, but the hollow chisel mortiser left a very clean edge.
    The graduated drawer heights are a detail borrowed from Shaker design. After experimenting with different increments, I settled on 1/8". I was somewhat concerned that this might be too subtle, but I'm pleased with the results. The change in height is barely noticeable from drawer to drawer, but evident if you compare the top and bottom drawers. I think the variation makes the piece less blocky, and adds some visual interest.
Mahogany and Curly Maple Jewelry Chest

    I cut the drawer dovetails on my router table with an Incra fence. Since the drawer heights are graduated, the indexed design of the Incra made it easy to shift the center point of the dovetails by 1/16" for each successive drawer. If I wanted to be really slick, I could have made custom templates for variable pin spacing, but instead I just let the width of the half-pins vary, and jumped from three to four tails between the 3rd and 4th drawers.
    The overall dimensions are 15-inches tall, 17-inches wide, 10 ˝-inches deep. I used the Golden Mean Ratio to determine the proportions for the top (17 x 10.5). The materials are mahogany and curly maple, with a mahogany gel stain and Waterlox finish.

. . . Kent Fitzgerald



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P.O. Box 493
Springtown, PA 18081