The following photos represent several days of building. This definitely feels like the SLOW part in the middle of the project. But by the end of today I felt like I was over the hump.
There is something indescribably beautiful about a heavy chunk of lumber before it gets milled. Here is the piece I will use for what I call the “stretchers” that run from side to side along the bottom edges of the cabinet.
Stop to enjoy the view outside my shop
These pieces will be mortised into the mahogany legs. I cut the tenons on my radial arm saw. This is the quickest and easiest way I know to cut tenons. Almost no set up time at all. A stop block on one side makes the length of each tenon the same and the cuts are made freehand until I hit the stop. Then I break out the waste chips with my thumb and slide the tenon back and forth under the spinning blade (up to the stop each time) and it skims the surface until its smooth and flat.
Dados and Rabbets
Next I cut the various rabbets and Dadoes that will receive the drawer fronts, the plywood bottom of the cabinet and the back panel.
Laying out the mortises in the legs which will receive the stretchers:
I hog out most of the waste with a forstner bit.
Then finish off with a mortise chisel:
There is no shame in adding a veneer to the face of a loose-fitting tenon…
The four legs and stretchers joined (no glue yet)
The back panel is solid 1/4” thick Jatoba that was cut from the same slab that the top and sides were originally cut from. On this piece its important to me that even the back is as beautiful as the rest of the cabinet.
I carefully used my biscuit jointer to slot the thin stock:
The back panel joined and glued:
Isn’t Jatoba gorgeous?
Here is another one of those “stretchers.” This one is actually glued and screwed to the underside of the cabinet TOP in the back of the cabinet. It will receive the top of the back panel and strengthen the top against sagging. In this photo the cabinet is upside-down on my bench:
Then I put slots on the inside-edges of my legs to receive the sides of the back panel:
And here is the resulting joint:
This photo is out of order (it shows part of the back panel before it was glued up) ...but it shows how the back panel goes in the slots:
Since the back is solid wood it will be a floating panel. These rubber “space balls” sit in the slots above and below the panel and hold it tightly in place but allow it to move over time.
“Space balls” in the slot:
The MASSIVE glue up
These dowels align the sides with the legs:
The dry fit:
And finally, the glue-up. This turned out to be a BEAR of a glue-up job. I had a hell of a time getting everything together, aligned and clamped in time for it to set.
Total building time so far: 48 hours
-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com