I put in four solid hours of woodworking today. I put in about four solid hours of raking leaves on Saturday. And I put in about two solid hours of electrical work in my garage on Friday night. After a long work week, I was kind of hoping to relax this weekend, but that didn’t happen. Still, I’m glad that I put the time in, because I got a lot accomplished, namely, I finished the construction portion of my display cabinet project.
I started off the day’s woodworking with the back panel of the cabinet; I had picked up the 1×8 material for that portion of the project on Friday afternoon. I cut the boards to length, but I did not need to touch the width, as I was making the panel with three boards and added together their width would be a nearly perfect fit.
Firstly, I arranged them in what I thought was a pleasing lay-out, I then marked the front faces and the “tongues and grooves”. Last week I sharpened my LN #48 plane just for this task. If you aren’t familiar with the tongue and groove plane, it does a nice job, but you really need to be careful with it. The plane can wander, and that’s not necessarily a design flaw, but because it will follow every little bump, hollow, or bulge on the reference face of a board. I took my time, as well as made an incredible mess, and finished the boards in short order. Once the panel was assembled I only needed to take a few passes from each end with the smoothing plane to get the final width needed.
The next task on the list was beading the two “tongue” boards. I had planned on a bead for the back panel from the beginning, and because I am only using three boards, I decided to use the larger 3/8 bead because it is more bold. Before I started I sharpened the beading plane yet again, because I wasn’t taking any chances. Speaking of which, 3M makes a flexible sand paper which does a very nice job of sharpening curved profiles. In this instance, I cut off a piece of 3/8 dowel and wrapped a piece of the paper around it. It worked well.
Thankfully, the beading process went without a hitch. In fact, it took me longer to get the beading plane set than to actually make the two beads. To finish it off I used the same flexible sandpaper I had used to sharpen the iron.
Obviously a beaded tongue and board panel is the traditional way to dress up the joint, and it serves the purpose of masking any discrepancies in the joint itself. I just happen to like the look, and I think it fits this design nicely.
The last task of the day took far longer than I thought it would. I needed to lay out and mortise the bottom of the cabinet to receive the bottom trim board. The mortise lay out and chopping took no time at all, but making the trim board was another matter. In fact, I took few photos of the process because as the kids say “Sh*t just got real!”
I made two boards, one arched and one straight. The arched board did not look right. It just didn’t seem to match the look I was going for. I installed the straight board (which admittedly was there as a backup in case I messed up the first one) and liked the look better. In the meanwhile, it took me a good hour to get the board fitted with tight shoulders and no gaps. But the real conundrum came after.
I dry assembled the case to make sure that everything was okay, and I began looking at the arched board which serves as the top of the cabinet. Like the bottom trim board, I also made two arches: one bold and one more gently curved. The gently curved board seemed to fit the concept better, but once the case was fully assembled something seemed off. I had an extra board left, so I cut it square and put it in place at the top of the cabinet. Though it looks a bit more bland, I also don’t think it looks bad. I called in a second opinion and that second opinion agreed with me. So the squared off top is what I’m leaning towards. Considering the case is still only dry-assembled I have some time to think about it.
Next week will consist of the tedious task of prepping the case for finish. For the finish, I am going with a three-pronged attack: Wood Conditioner, Mahogany Gel Stain, and Mahogany Bri-Wax. Next weekend will be a busy one, but I am hoping to at least get the back panels stained, and with that the case fully assembled, glued, and nailed.
With that, I will be able to call this a completed project. It was a fun build, and even more enjoyable because I had very few miscues. The good news is that once this cabinet is finished I have the perfect location in my house for it. The really good news is I already have my next project lined up, and I will begin the drawings for it this week.