AMBROSIA MAPLE CHEST
Finally completed, this project began over five years ago.
SHOP OWNER: Sal Zaffuto
LOCATION: Milltown, NJ
This project began innocently enough in 2005 when a friend sold me several boards of ambrosia maple. Since I had just bought the Leigh D4 dovetailing jig, I decided I was going to make a blanket chest. So, I dovetailed the four corners, routed a dado for the poplar bottom, and did my glue-up. I also glued up a few boards for the top and decided to make breadboards for the front and sides. I cut the 45s for the three breadboard pieces and glued on the front piece. Then I set the blanket chest in the corner of my shop for the next 5 years because I didn't know how I wanted to finish the skirt.
In early 2011, I decided I needed the extra space this chest occupied. I fiddled around with several designs for the cutout of the skirt until I settled on one I liked. Then I made templates out of MDF. I traced the designs on all the skirt sides and cut away most of the waste on the bandsaw. I pinned a template to each side and used a flush cutting router bit to clean up. The skirt corners are mitered with wide triangular glue block supports on the inside corners. I rabbetted the top inch of the skirt to support the box. I cheated and purchased maple molding to wrap around the skirt.
I applied three coats of Bush's Oil, which I think gives it a warm color. I bought about $250 of wrought iron strap hinges, stays, and handles, which really makes the project. I'm so proud of this project that I plan to make another out of mahogany. But this time I will also dovetail the skirt corners. I also plan to complete it in a little less than five and a half years this time!!
. . . Sal Zaffuto