Building a Credenza #2: Milling the Main Parts

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Blog entry by Blake posted 05-09-2010 08:28 AM 9845 reads 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Design Process Part 2 of Building a Credenza series Part 3: Hand Cutting Dovetails »

I’ve been thinking about this design for several months. But I decided to get serious about it a few weeks back when I found the perfect piece of wood to built it with.

The design:

This is the HUGE slab of Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) that I found at the local lumber yard. It is 8 feet long, 18” wide and seven quarters thick (almost 2 inches).


The slab is fairly straight grained and uniform in color but I’ve seen Jatoba finished before and its beautiful. The slab will make the top and sides. I also picked up some 3/4” stock for the drawer fronts that is actually figured. I forgot to take a photo of it but its gorgeous. You will just have to take my word for now.

I have worked out a really great working relationship with a fellow woodworker in town. His name is Don and he’s a really nice guy. He welcomes me into his professional furniture-building woodshop whenever I need bigger tools or more space to work. In exchange I help him when he needs an extra set of hands. So to mill and re-saw my slab I went to his shop.

Here is the 3×3 mahogany stock I am using for the legs, about to go through the planer:


The Jatoba slab going through the jointer:




Don took a bird’s eye photo from the stairs as I was working:


Here it goes through the 19” Grizzly bandsaw:


I re-sawed and book-matched the top and sides.


Back at my shop

Here is the book-matched top being glued up:


The top, glued:


And the sides:


In this photo you can start to see the beautiful figure of the Jatoba:


Here are the milled mahogany legs. Sitting on top is the leftover mahogany that I decided to laminate to the leg pieces near the base in order to flare the bottoms out wider…


The leg blanks glued up:


Once I had all the parts made (but not finished) I clamped the legs and sides together and rested the top on them to get a sense of the overall size and proportions of the cabinet.


I have not cut the legs down to there final height and I still have the opportunity to trim any of the parts to change the dimensions if it doesn’t feel right. I decided to stop here and come back another day with a fresh eye before making any final decisions.

This is typical of my design process in any project large or small. Only about half of the design work is done before I start building. The rest of the final decisions (including most of the joinery and aesthetic details) are made during the building process.

Man that Jatoba is nice! You can see another project in the background… that will be posted soon.


Total building time so far: 10 hours

-- Happy woodworking!

12 comments so far

View Brian Havens's profile

Brian Havens

196 posts in 3254 days

#1 posted 05-09-2010 08:44 AM

I will be watching this one.

Perhaps you will make use of that punching bag (behind the jointer) to get you though the more frustrating parts. ;-)

-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3263 days

#2 posted 05-09-2010 08:50 AM

looking dam good sofare
what a niiice slab you scored there
glad to see you have a lot of fun with those big mashines
looking forward to your next blog on this


View degoose's profile


7238 posts in 3503 days

#3 posted 05-09-2010 09:21 AM

Such sweet grain to bookmatch… I for one will be watching.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3212 days

#4 posted 05-09-2010 11:48 AM

I really like Jatoba. I also like the little one setting on top of the one you are building, nice job.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View EternalDesign's profile


237 posts in 4143 days

#5 posted 05-09-2010 12:05 PM

Right on man.

-- Brian, Eternal Furniture & Design

View Dave Price's profile

Dave Price

90 posts in 3122 days

#6 posted 05-09-2010 02:56 PM

nice pics that will be a very nice piece good job!!

-- Dave Price , Roswell New Mexico

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 4105 days

#7 posted 05-09-2010 03:12 PM

Looking good so far. I have the same kind of relationship with a friend of mine that owns a cabinet shop. He is a 25 year veteran cabinet maker and I pitch in and help him out and in return I can use his shop and larger tools (especially his Powermatic shaper and 30” dual drum sander) for things I cant do in my one car garage shop!


View bigike's profile


4054 posts in 3436 days

#8 posted 05-09-2010 03:18 PM

great start i wish i had the money to get wood like that to build something big. ;)

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View sras's profile


4884 posts in 3277 days

#9 posted 05-09-2010 04:14 PM

This is going to be fun to watch! Looks like you will have a very nice piece when you are done. Thanks for sharing!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3821 days

#10 posted 05-09-2010 09:30 PM

Nice pictures.

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 3955 days

#11 posted 05-09-2010 11:35 PM

man you don’t waste any time getting this thing going. Sweet wood. Off to a great start Blake. I was just wondering how your other project was going so it looks like we will get to see that soon as well.

View pauls's profile


30 posts in 3624 days

#12 posted 05-16-2010 05:15 PM

Blake, Nice slab of Jatoba…one of my favorite woods..that slab must weigh a lot!!! You sure do some outstanding work & I look forward to the finished project.

-- PS. "Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they're yours." R. Bach

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