DIY Apothecary Cabinet




About: I'm a passionate maker and video creator on YouTube!

This little cabinet will test your ability and patience in woodworking

but at the end you'll have one wonderful cabinet for generations to come.
Happy woodworking.

Link to material used for making the Apothecary cabinet:

Here is video build with no narration (below find longer narrated versions):

To see construction details with narration please see these videos:

Step 1: Dimensioning the Wood

This cabinet is made from White Oak, Olive Ash, Iroko and some plywood for dividers, back and drawer bottoms.
Every project I start with dimensioning wood since I buy it at the local lumber mill.
There I buy smaller scraps at a very good price that would otherwise be burnt.

Step 2: Cutting the Dovetails

Don't be fooled by the size of this cabinet. It has all hand cut dovetails joinery - 116 through dovetails and 96 half blind dovetails!
But with patience this is done in few days of cutting and chopping.
I can't stress enough how important is that your tools are very sharp, it will make this job pleasant and safe as well.

I made videos on how to cut through dovetails and half blind ones, check them out:

Step 3: Cutting the Grooves

After dry assembling the dovetail joints I took the carcass apart and started to cut the grooves for the back panel, and dividing panels. I used 4mm and 8mm plywood for those.
When grooves were cut in the carcass I assembled it with glue for a permanent joint.
Then I cut dividing panels and grooves in them as well and glued them in the carscass.

There are a lot of steps here so the best is to watch my video few times to pick them up.
Once you have it it will go easy.

Step 4: Finishing the Carcass

I glued all of the dividers in place as well and covered the plywood edges with solid oak strips.
The painter's tape works great as a clamp until the glue dries on those narrow strips.

I planed and sanded flush the dividers and attached the plywood back to the cabinet.

Finally I applied boiled linseed oil and dark furniture wax to bring that beautiful oak grain and pores to life.

Step 5: Drawer Wood Prep

I repeated the same steps as with carcass material to prepare all the pieces that will be used for the drawers.
It is best to mill the wood and then leave it laying flat for few days to acclimatise to your shop.

Step 6: Cutting the Drawer Dovetails

This is the most time consuming part in the project

but a nicely made joints will make this piece heirloom worthy and last for many generations.
So take your time and make it your best.

Step 7: Finishing the Drawers.

Drawers get glued, the bottom fits in the grooves cut on the table saw and some by hand.
Finally install the hardware you want, I love this vintage looking brass hardware with labels.
I got them from amazon super cheap:

Step 8: Beauty Shots

The cabinet is finished and I'll keep organized my tea collection in it.

I love how it looks and it will look even better as the wood ages and gets darker.

If you like this one please check some of my other projects on my YT channel:

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    49 Discussions


    7 weeks ago

    Wow! Beautiful


    1 year ago

    Absolutely beautiful work. Love it!

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    Phenomenal stuff. Really enjoyed the way you put the video together as well

    1 reply
    DIY Andrealukej32

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you very much!
    I made 2 videos with narration explaining the process and then one complete video with no talk and just woodworking.


    Question 1 year ago

    Nice work, what an amount of dovetails to cut! How long did it take you to make this , start to finish?

    1 answer
    DIY Andreaztifpatrick

    Answer 1 year ago

    It is crazy amount, but it is doable.
    It took me about 2 months to finish, but I was doing many things in between.
    Sometimes is nice to take a break from repeating task, like chopping dovetails.
    If I had a deadline (and dry, planed wood) I would probably be able to make it in 7-10 days.
    Go and try making it, it is possible and the result will make you smile everyday you see it.

    DIY AndreaWindowsA

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you very much. I'm very pleased wit the outcome :)


    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    beautiful project I could use it around the shop. but are there any plans for it I couldnt find a link for the plans

    2 answers
    DIY AndreaJosephHuntley

    Answer 1 year ago

    Hello Joseph,
    I don't have plans for it since it is a very custom project.
    I'd advise you to draw your own plans and size it to your needs.
    Here are some measures from mine:

    The external measurements are 580x380x170 mm.

    The outer oak thickness is 20mm.

    The divisions are 4 and 8mm plywood.

    The drawers have fronts 10mm thick, sides and back 6mm thick and plywood bottom of 4mm thickness.

    Having said all this, I made this cabinet for my space, and I would recommend that you make it to your necessity.

    The challenge is to make so many dovetails and other joints, but in reality it is a very simple design.

    Greetings from Croatia and good luck :)

    JosephHuntleyDIY Andrea

    Answer 1 year ago

    thanks I just needed a few rough measurements to go by as I wasnt sure what size the drawers were

    AMbros Custom

    1 year ago

    Beautiful work brother, blessed to see build like this.