Wednesday, 20 February 2013

On the Bench - A Display Cabinet

As mentioned in a previous post I had to buy a new jointer plane because the old one broke during a jointing operation. I was actually making boards up for this project.
A customer has an existing commercial European white oak cabinet with 4 drawers and a sliding door. The front of the cabinet, including the drawers and door, has a gentle curve. The client wants a matching display cabinet to go on top of the existing cabinet.
The cabinet had to follow the curve of the front and have 4 open shelves separated by a vertical divider.

Existing cabinet
Existing cabinet in situ
 I used Sketchup to come up with a number of designs and came up with this.
Sketchup visualization

Upper Cabinet

The new cabinet is to be made from 25mm (1") thick boards on the top and bottom. The sides and centre divider are made from boards 22mm (7/8") thick. The shelves are made from boards 14mm (9/16") thick.

In the design I have made the base about 10mm (3/8") from the front and side edges. The rear of the base lines up with the existing lower cabinet. The sides will be fixed to the top and bottom using mortise and tenon joints. The rear of the cabinet will have oak ply panels. The orientation of the grain will be left right instead of the usual up down direction. This is because the existing cabinet has its drawers and sliding door with a left right grain orientation.

Top and Bottom

I have milled the top and bottom boards already and cut them to size.

  • Bottom is 1020 x 450 x 25 thick (40" x 17-3/4" x 1" ). Made from two 10" wide x 5/4 white oak boards.
  • Top is 1020 x 250 x 25 thick (40" x 10" x 1"). Made from one 10" wide x 5/4 white oak board.
They are now awaiting routing for the mortises.
I am using a metric 8mm routing cutter with an 8mm shank that I bought to cut the mortises. However I don't have an 8mm collet for my router. Amazon to the rescue again and the collet is on its way to me as I type. All my routers are 1/4" or 1/2". I can't remember why I ordered a router cutter with an odd 8mm shank! It must have been a senior moment.
The top and bottom front edges will be angled to match the curve of the sides. This will give a pleasing transition between cabinets. 

Sides and Centre

I have already glued up the boards making the sides. They are now awaiting being cut down to size.
A template for the curve has been made and will be used to rough cut with the band saw and then routed to the pattern.


The shelves are made from some 6/4 oak. I'd actually ordered 5/4 but it came thicker which was beneficial.
My bandsaw only has a 6" capacity and the boards are 10" wide. I cut them to 5" boards and then resawed these boards down the thickness making bookmatched boards of around 3/4" (19mm) thick rough sawn.

The shelves are to be able to be repositioned by the client and they have specified a socket and flattened pin system.

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