The Slightly Confused Woodworker

Home » Shaker Enfield Cupboard » Enfield Cupbboard day 2.

Enfield Cupbboard day 2.


I continued work on my Enfield Cupboard yesterday afternoon. I had planned on getting the face frame finished, as well as the case side arches sawn so I could glue up the carcase today. Unfortunately, I ran out of time, but I did manage to get the face frame ready to go.

I started out by laying out the mortises for the top rail. I decided to chop them out by hand because there are only two. That part went fairly quickly, but the poplar I’m working with is stringy, and it wasn’t easy to get the mortises cleaned out. I then made the tenons on the rail by using the table saw jig I built a few weeks back. It worked well, but I did have to wax the runners of both the jig and the table saw fence to get it to slide more freely. Before I go on I will admit that I hate making mortise and tenon joints. Firstly, I’ll say that I’m not all that great at fitting them from the get go, and I always have to spend the extra time getting them fit properly. In this case it was about 15 minutes of added work with a router plane. I would much rather make ship lap joints, which I’m good at and are much of the time just as strong. In any event, it was finished and I moved on to sawing the arches at the bottom of the stiles.

Mortises laid out

Mortises laid out

Mortises chopped

Mortises chopped

To lay out the arches on the stiles I followed the measurements on the original Enfield plan. I marked some guidelines, and used a French curve to draw the arch. I sawed the first arch with a jigsaw, used it to mark the second arch, and did the same. I then clamped both together and cleaned up the cut with a spokeshave and some light sanding. Before I glued up the face frame I planed the edges, just a few passes, with a smooth plane and gave it a very light sanding. I then glued it, clamped it, and let it dry overnight. Today, I hope to get the case sides finished, though I’m not necessarily sure about gluing it up yet. It’s quite cold right now, and the temperature isn’t expected to rise much above freezing. The case is too large to bring inside to dry, so I’m going to play it by ear.

Face frame fit

Face frame fit


On another note, last winter I built a Dutch Tool Chest. I felt it would be both useful and fun to build. It does a nice job of holding tools, but I have to say that it is really getting on my last nerve. What is the problem? I have nowhere to put it. The chest always seems to be in the way, and I’m constantly moving it whenever I woodwork. Considering that the chest weighs around 120 lbs, this part isn’t fun. One solution I’ve seen is to attach a French cleat and hang it on the wall, which I might do, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose? It is too deep to be a wall cabinet, at least in my garage, and too large to be unobtrusive on the floor. If I had the time and money, I would make a proper wall cabinet for tools and be done with it. Live and learn I guess.

****once again, sorry for the lack of photos. My charming little photographer wasn’t home again****



  1. gman3555 says:

    It’s looking good. The cold always causes me issues with glueing up. I have a small heater that I run when I’m in the shop but I never leave it on when I’m not in there. So glue ups in cold weather generally are done on the weekends and drug into the house to fully cure. Then back out into the shop before the weekend is over. I also have to remember to bring the glue back in too.

    I use a wall rack and it works for me. I just make sure to take each tool down every couple of weeks and wipe them down with an oily rag.


    • billlattpa says:

      Thanks Greg. I sawed out the arches pn the case sides this morning and came very close to hauling the whole cupboard into the spare bedroom to glue it. Like you, i have a portable heater that i sometimes use and that is probably how i will end up gluing the case. It’s actually bigger than it looks, so i dont want to move it until it’s finished.
      I may end up going to a wall rack; i just dont have the room for anything else.

  2. Jeff Branch says:

    Bless you for chopping out mortises no matter how few you need to make. I used to make mortises with my router table, but have not done that in a while. Your cupboard is look mighty fine. I don’t have floor space for a tool chest. The Dutch tool chest wouldn’t work in my shop, but many people seem to love it. 🙂

    • billlattpa says:

      I was going to use the router table, but chopping them went fairly quickly and painlessly. The tenons were another matter…
      The dutch chest is great as long as there is floor space available. It was also fun to build. Unfortunately my set up is better suited to a wall cabinet. Still, i dont regret making the dutch.

  3. Art Watson says:

    Thank-you again for sharing, I love watching folks make stuff.

    I have a similar issue with my big honking English-style tool chest. It is very large, even bigger than the Dutch chest. Mine is on casters but my shop working space is so small, I can’t wheel it anywhere. Now I have tools in my chest AND tools on the wall and I use both sets. The trouble is that my workbench sits between the two so I’m constantly running around the bench.

    I know that one day I will rearrange my shop but like dominoes, moving one item tends to affect every other and I’d rather build stuff.

    Oh and one other recommendation on the English style chest would be some sort of chest lid support. I darn near broke my wrist when it slammed down on my arm. I was attempting to pick up a screw and inadvertently rested my right hand on the open chest. It is on casters, rolled back, the lid contacted the wall and down she came. I was fine but my right wrist looked pretty awful but thankfully no real damage. I now support the lid with a wooden dowel secured by spring clamps until I figure out something a bit more eloquent.

    • billlattpa says:

      I like the Dutch tool chest, but it seems that every time I turn around I’m picking it up and moving it to another side of the garage. The worst part about that is I then have to walk over to it every time I need to grab a tool. The other day I put on a shop apron to keep the measuring and marking stuff at hand, which helped. I’ve also been loading up the tool tray on the bench. I’m thinking of making a basic wall rack for chisels that runs the length of the back wall where I could keep all the chisels out and ready to go, and then put them away at the end of the day in the tool chest. The truth is that what I should be doing is getting rid of some of my daughters toys which she is too big to use, such as her little powered car, which would free up a lot of space, but that is something I need to convince my wife to go through with.

      The dutch lid once came down on my hand, luckily it’s not heavy and didn’t have far to fall. Still hurt a little, though. I had thought about rearranging the garage but I’ve decided against it. Everything I could do would be a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” scenario. There isn’t much left I can do there unless we stopped using it to park my wife’s car. So unless we move to a new house and I get a room that I can dedicate as a workshop I’m pretty much stuck with what I have now.

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November 2014
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