Apothecary Cabinet #1

Shortly after we finished the Barn Wood Benches, Sam wanted to get started on a project he’d been thinking about for a long time. An Apothecary Cabinet!

We had received a lot of inspiration throughout the years on what style we wanted. A 5′ cabinet, maybe 12″ wide with two sets of drawers running down most of it, and maybe a larger drawer at the bottom.

We picked out the wood from our stock we had, and went with reclaimed white and red oak.

(FYI; this one was Sam’s project, so I was in assistant mode)

Sam found two 1/4″ panels of amazing plain sliced saw tooth marked oak. These pieces had been shaved off of one piece of barn lumber (both sides of one piece) so them matched each other perfectly.

We found some 1/4″ white melamine scrap to use for the sides, and a 3/4″ alder veneer for the back. Now, to lay up anything on melamine, it’s best you use Roo Glue. (We didn’t have any at the time, so we took a chance on this stuff from Lowe’s or Home Depot which turned out to work just fine.)

Sam was able to cut both panels out of one of these boards, then cut out the top using part of the second board. After the panels were laid up and dried, Sam worked his magic, and cut out a bunch of molding and nosing, and scribed it all in for the perfect fit:

Reclaimed oak apothecary cabinet box with cathedraling and saw tooth marks

Now it was time to make the boxes. (Design change! This was going to have only one set of boxes running the whole length.) We reclaimed 10 pallets, by skill-sawing the slats out. We ended up with 70+ pieces! Since there was snow and ice on most of them, I hauled them all inside to let them defrost in our bathtub. By the end of it, I thought Why do I do this to myself? I should have taken a picture of the tub! It was full to the brim of defrosting old pallet planks!

At this time, we did not have a planer or bench top sander…

So when the boards had been dried enough, I started orbital sanding each board. Disclaimer: you may think you can sand a cup or bow out of a board… but you can’t!

So now that the pallet slats were all sanded, I had to eyeball each each one for thickness, and try my best to glue these pieces together to make our box bottoms. After measuring our glued up material, we were able to get 4 bottoms out of each glued up base, so: we table sawed them all down.

Next was making our sides. Back to the pallet slats, we trimmed them down, glued them up, and pin nailed them to the bottoms. Some; Sam mitered.

Plain wooden drawer box with a black knot in the back panel

Then came the faces of the boxes. This is where a strong feeling of keeping all the sister wood together came about. The two panels we were using had grown and lived together all it’s existence! It had to stay together…. so then, it was decided. The box faces would be the same as the side panels, cut down and sequenced. However, we were a bit worried that the strong characteristic of this wood may be dizzying. Well, we went with it anyways.

Tall skinny apothecary cabinet with the top four drawer fronts after being waxed, the next three are missing, and the next four drawers are not waxed

The boxes and faces were fitting in nicely. So next, we did a stain mixture, (2 parts dark walnut, 4 parts Old Master’s fruitwood (Lowe’s)10 parts mineral oil) and came out with our new color of drawer boxes:

Two dark stained drawer boxes

After that, we used beeswax to bring out the natural color in the whole piece. Here’s how it turned out!

The top half of a tall skinny apothecary cabinet with sequenced oak saw tooth marked drawer fronts that have been coated with beeswax
The top half of a tall skinny apothecary cabinet with sequenced oak saw tooth marked drawer fronts that have been coated with beeswax

We are still waiting on our order of drawer pulls to install. An update will be made shortly!

With Love, Erika Nora

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