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Dilo's Latest Piece: A Baroque Style Jewel Chest

by Dilo Fernandino
Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Hi fellow Woodworkers,

(Dilo rides again… after a quite long break!)

This time I am showing you a tiny chest of drawers specially designed by me in the Baroque style and intended to satisfy a need for fancy storage from a clever collector of jewels, watches or pens. It has a pair of front doors with a lock that encloses seven small drawers and two large lateral doors with locks that close two side compartments.

A major fact that must be said is that this is the first time in my life that I am creating a woodwork intended for sale. I am sure that I will have a very hard time in selling it at a fair price (not degraded) since the modern Brazilian “culture” does not recognize woodwork as artwork. So, I will have to make my strategy towards the likely target buyers, and consider some changes in my typical working patterns. I will have to be bold enough to face this new way of thinking.

Aiming at that commercial purpose I had to make a fundamental change in my mind: to replace the wood I had long been working with - the Rio-rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) - for Canjerana (Cabralea multijuga) which is quite similar to the Spanish-cedar (Cedrela odorata). The main reason is the Rio-rosewood’s rarity and its extreme carving difficulty, qualities which prospective customers will never recognize and pay accordingly. The secondary reason is the unique Canjerana’s property of changing its own color from the original pinkish to a beautiful dark purple, by just suffering a quick action of the air/sunlight.

I bought a rough board of salvaged and cup-warped Canjerana (90” x 16” x 1 ½ ”) with bug holes and some sapwood. However, I did not take it to be machine-processed into the necessary thinner pieces because I could not allow any waste produced by the planer and the table saw, since it would reduce dramatically the usable wood. Instead, I cut all the thinner beams and boards using just a handsaw and planed them individually by hand. Although its cedar-like consistency is the usual standard among Brazilian carvers, it looked to me rather as a mild slab of beeswax. So the effective woodworking time that I spent on the Canjerana wood was about one quarter of the whole time that I would have spent on the Rio-rosewood.

It was entirely made in my closet-size workshop during my spare time and took 4 ½ months to be completed, including its blue velvet lining. The finishing was done with a personally prepared wax (carnauba, beeswax, turpentine). Exclusively hand tools were used.

Dimensions: 27” high x 20” wide x 16” deep

Best regards,

Dilo Marcio Fernandino

Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Previous Wood News articles by or about Dilo Fernandino:

My Unusually Small Workshop

Readers Respond to "My Unusually Small Workshop"

Genesis of a Lower Cabinet

Progress on my Lower Cabinet

A Dream Comes True

Dilo's Solo Exhibition in Brazil

Dilo can be reached via email at

Visit Dilo's woodworking website at .
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