The Pennsylvanian Spice Chest

Presented by Steve Latta

Photo: Courtesy of Fine Woodworking Magazine

The Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking is very excited to welcome internationally reknowned furniture maker, author and instructor, Steve Latta.

Spice Chests have a rich history in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the place Steve Latta calls home. Spice chests were popular among the Quakers of the Delaware Valley during the late seventeenth and throughout the eighteenth centuries.

As a symbol of the family’s prosperity, the Spice Chest was often displayed in public rooms of homes. They were fitted with banks of small drawers, which housed spices, important documents, silver, jewellery and other valuables. The cases were most often made of walnut, with inlays consisting of combinations of maple, boxwood, holly, cherry, walnut burl, locust, and red cedar set into the surface for contrast.

In this unique week-long class, we will cover all of the necessary steps to complete a box similar to the one pictured here. Although small in size (53cm in height), they offer all the lessons found in a larger case piece with a dovetailed carcass, bracket feet, moldings, dividers and drawers. Add an inlaid, frame and panel door and you have a true tour-de-force!

We will devote a portion of the class to exploring the techniques Steve uses to accomplish the intricate inlay work that is so characteristic of these great American treasures. The project’s level of detail lends itself to careful work at home in your own shop- at your own pace, therefore; you should not expect to finish the whole project during your time in class. Rest assured you will finish all the machine work and at least most of the assembly. This is a great project with one of the best traditonally based teachers in the world. You will learn new skills and techniques that you can use in any number of larger and more challenging projects in the future.

Steve Latta

Alastair Boell

$1980 (Inclusive of GST)
All materials included

DEPOSITS - A $400 non refundable deposit will be required when registering for this Master Class.

9:00am to 5:00pm
8th to 14th June (7 day course)

Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking.
14 Cottage St, Blackburn VIC

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About the Instructor
Steve Latta makes both contemporary and traditional furniture while teaching woodworking at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and Millersville University in Lancaster County, PA.

For the past several years, Steve has been a contributing editor to Fine Woodworking magazine and since 1994 he has contributed more than 50 articles. He has also released several videos on inlay and furniture construction. He has lectured at Colonial Williamsburg, The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, and Winterthur Museum as well as numerous other schools and guilds.

Working in conjunction with Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, he helped develop and market a set of contemporary inlay tools. When not in the shop, Steve can be found on his motorcycle, hiking in the woods with his lab, Neesa, or cuddled up with a good book. He lives with his wife, Elizabeth, in rural Pennsylvania with their children, Fletcher, Sarah and Grace nearby.