the Carpentry Way: A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (51)                                                          

A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (51)

Post 51 in a series describing the design and construction of a pair of cabinets in bubinga and shedua.


Work to fit the two shelf panels to their frames and the surrounding carcase wraps up.

Here, the lower shelf has been fitted up to the carcase sides and the central compartment divider:

That lower shelf looks like one piece but it is in fact three.

Then the upper shelf similarly fitted (the entire assembly is upside-down in this view):

Looks a bit like something out of Star Wars (tie-fighter?).

Ditto for the second cabinet:

My shop has become a lot cleaner of late, in case you were becoming concerned.

Then, to take a break from the mania of joinery fitting, I set up my milling machine to process the compound bevel cuts on the bottom of the bronze leveler feet:

This was a great way to spray bronze shavings all over the damn place. Those things get everywhere - I'm worried they are in my toaster oven back at home (don't tell my wife).

The fixturing I put together involved a small used vise I picked up a few months back, which was in turn clamped onto the sine table, and the whole works turned to the 45˚ position so I could use the powered x-travel function to advantage:

Placing the part at a 45˚ orientation simplified the bevel cutting, Since the legs average slope is 0.5/10, the compound bevel is along the 45 axis is 0.7071/10, since 0.5*√2 = .7071 after all.

I did a round of passes and this was the result:

Later on, I did further round of passes to deck another 1mm or so off the ends. Those leveler feet are nearly done, but you know, sometimes 'nearly done' can actually mean 'a whole bunch of work ahead' since the last 5% takes 50% of the time. The patination of the feet to a shi-bu-ichi finish is the looming challenge in that regard.

Back to the bubinga, now planing the central dividers preparatory to applying finish:

In other news (please excuse my jumping around between various things. Today is my birthday and I feel like I can play fast and loose with the program, caution thrown fully to the wind) I realized that I hadn't yet incorporated any system of stops for the drawers. Not the sort of thing one would want to overlook. People have been hung for less.

One can have drawer stops which limit the travel to the closed position, and stops which limit how far out the drawer can be withdrawn. I decided I could dispense with the latter (I think it is handy to be able to pull a drawer right out if need be without having stops in the way), however as far as 'closing stops' went, there were some options:

After some rumination, I decided to place the stops so that they would work against the lower edge of the drawer front. Placing them at the back meant making the drawers shorter to accommodate them, so that was less desirable in this case.

The stops of course needed to be connected somehow to the drawer dividers. Typically, these might be glued-in or screwed-in blocks. That seemed less than optimal and I prefer to not rely glue whenever there might be a better solution. Next step up would be mortising the stops into housings. The stops could be glued or fastened to the housings with a countersunk bolt. This - using the bolt and housing- was strongly considered and would have been  a reasonable way to proceed. However I am hardly a reasonable person. After considering it a while longer, I decided I would mortise in sliding dovetail keys which could act as stops. I haven't seen this done before but it seemed reasonable.

Here's a couple of the drawer dividers, then, mortised for sliding dovetail stops:

12 drawer rail pieces and 24 sliding dovetail housings later...

And no, I didn't hang myself off a local bridge afterward. I still have to mortise the lower carcase boards for the same stops, after all....

Interspersed with the mortising work I started putting finish (General Finishes Enduro Var) on some parts. Here are the shelves after two coats each side:

The shedua sliding door panels and the bubinga vertical dividers also have had two coats each side:

Those panels look better than the photo, let me tell you that at least. If only I had photography skills the world would be my oyster! You know, I happen to like oysters, come to think of it.

My world is small and insignificant, and hardly worth mention, but it's a world paneled with VG bubinga and shedua here at my tiny shop. I like it, you know, and could even get used it! Is this the new 'normal'? I can see the bumpersticker: Got VG?

The literature for the Enduro Var says 3 coats are typical, however I'm sure I'll do at least 5 coats. I'm planning to put at least two coats onto the parts before assembly, and a few coats after that. I like Enduro Var as it has next to no VOC's, dries really fast, allowing for more rapid progress, and clean up of the brushes, etc., is easy using warm water. Up next: post 52