Making a necklace cabinet


I wanted to make a necklace cabinet as a gift.

The design of it is mostly based on the wall clock that I had made before, with the major difference being that the rails and panels have been moved to the back and there’s a door on the front.

Wood is the local stores version of Mahogany, so I think it is Sapele. I ripped up some maple to form a book-matched panel in the back.
The top and bottom panels have a very slight curve along the length. It may be hard to see.
The door panel was mortise and tenoned with 1/4″ mortise in the 3/4″ stiles.
The glass pane in the front is held in with 1/4″ x 3/16″ strips. The door itself is sized small for the given opening to give a shadow effect. I put a magnet catch inside the cabinet and routed out for a small metal plate to serve as the latch. I didn’t put an handle on the door. Instead I chiseled out a recess at the top left of the door and on the side of the cabinet for a finger pull.
Finish is about four coats of thinned out shellac, topped off with some wax.
I want to share some more photos of how this cabinet went together. So, here’s a play by play.

I started off by making some mock-ups.

First up was to get a rough size of the cabinet. The idea was to make it tall enough on the inside to take a 20″ chain folded in half, so about 12″ or so.


I liked the idea of having a curved front to the top and bottom parts. I thought I’d use housing dadoes on the bottom and join the top to the sides with dovetails.


I then thought about adding cross rails on the face.


Then I figured I’d attach the top to the sides in the same way as the bottom is done by using housing dadoes.


I found then that the cross rails just got in the way of hanging a chain so I chose to do away with them and just fill up the space on the front with a full-height door.
On the back I decided to put some cross rails and a panel.


With that all figured out I set about cutting the main parts, with the housing dadoes and put the top and bottom onto the sides.

You can see the mock-up sitting in the tool well


I didn’t know if I would use a sheet of plywood or not for the back as I had a piece of 3/4″ maple left over.

I set about ripping it up to make it bookmatched. I started the cut with a table saw and finished it off with a rip hand saw.

I then planed the edges down so that it would slide into a groove in the cross rails.


I planed and sanded the sections flat.


For the top and bottom, I wanted a slight curve on the front face. This I laid out by squeezing a ruler in a clamp.


I ran a groove in the cross rails and back panel with the table saw.

With everything lined up, I put it all together and glued it up.


I then set about making a door. Rails and stiles were made from 3/4″ stock. The stiles are about 1″ wide and the rails are about 1-1/2″ tall.

I ran grooves for a panel in the rails and stiles and then made some mortise and tenons.

This step I did over a couple of times as I made sloppy cuts and twisty tenons.


I decided to put a glass panel in the door instead of another maple panel. For this to work, I would have to make a rabbet in the door instead of a groove, but I went and glued the door together first and put off cutting the rabbet til it was ready.

I not only clamped the rails into the stiles to pull the joints together, but I also clamped the whole assembly to a flat board so that I could make sure it would not glue up with any twist.

I planed the face flat, skewing the plane across the joints.


I turned the groove into a rabbet on the inside of the door by chiseling away one of the walls of the groove. This wasn’t exactly pretty, but it worked.

Here is the door lying against the casework.


As part of the process I planed the back flat.


I then set about putting on hinges. Also, I got a magnetic catch and screwed the magnet to the inside of the cabinet and mortised a recess on the inside of the door to put in a plate.

You can see how the glass panel is held in with a small piece of trim that I ripped up. The trim is screwed in to hold the glass. This way it can be taken apart if the glass is broken.


I gave the lot a coat of shellac. I then went to lay out the hooks that hold the necklace. I pre-drilled holes for the hooks with a 1/16″ bit. This bit wouldn’t go into my electric drill, so I used this hand crank drill, which worked great.


I took the lot apart and gave it a couple of shellac coats and wax.

Here’s the finished product.




Finally, I was sent this photo of the cabinet put to use:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s