Greene and Greene Curio Cabinet #3: Making some sawdust (actually, lots)

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Blog entry by DynaBlue posted 05-04-2012 03:44 AM 2840 reads 3 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Planning for cloud lifts Part 3 of Greene and Greene Curio Cabinet series Part 4: Carcase glue up »

So I went and bought my cherry, regretfully understanding that much of it will go to waste. I laid out my parts on the rough lumber and cut it out using my jigsaw then forming the parts in the standard fashion. Lots of wasted cherry..sigh. Why waste? Because I need to keep to the rift/quartersawn areas of the boards and have to sacrifice the cathedrals. Many of my pieces will be very long and narrow, some very thin and narrow..none of that lends itself to a board with questionable dimensional stability. For the top I might be able to use the whole boards but not for the carcass. I’ll skip through the boring part..milling.

Once I had my boards milled up and straight as I could make them with hand tools (eh..reasonably straight but then again, I’m a perfectionist whose skills aren’t matched by his desires) I started to lay out my mortises using the story stick. The side cloud lifts are 1/2” thick stock to allow the glass panel to sit flush inside a retaining frame which means the mortises are off centered. The rest of the mortises were 3/8” and centered on the edges. I used a chisel to square off the mortise ends after some difficulty in accurately rounding over the ends of the tenons to match.

At this point I realized that I’d made a rather silly error..I should have routed the glass groove before I glued up the corner posts. Now I don’t have enough space to run the router where it needs to go. That’s something I’ll have to deal with in the future. That’s what you get when you don’t have a plan to follow, don’t make a plan to follow and don’t think things through all the way. The 6 P’s come to mind..belatedly.

I also ran into some issues with cutting the tenons. I was using the tablesaw to cut the shoulders and just going about it happy as a clam until I tried matching the pieces up. Then I realized that somewhere along the way my stop block had shifted on my crosscut fence and now my pieces had a couple different lengths between shoulders. So I recut every shoulder the way I should have in the beginning, using the rip fence as a stop. Nobody will notice that the cabinet is now about 1/8” shallower than it was intended. I also found that just cutting the face shoulders with the tablesaw and then cutting the edge shoulders with my handsaw worked better than doing it all on the TS. Just cut a little shy of the mark and clean up the residual wood with a sharp chisel. Easy. When it came to cutting the cheeks of the tenons I used an old Record shoulder plane to sneak up on the final fit. It mostly worked. Some of the tenons needed new cheeks glued on and resized. 32 mortise and tenons later I can dry fit together a case:

Shaping the cloud lifts and stretchers was easily accomplished by bandsawing the majority of the waste away, double sided taping the template to the blanks and final shaping with a flush trim bit. As you might expect from cherry there was lots of burn but it easily sanded off with my oscillating spindle sander. What isn’t going to go away is the casualty caused to the outside face of my back stretcher. While cutting the waste for the slot my jigsaw blade snapped off and before I could stop it I tattooed a bunch of divits across the board.

Sure hope it faces a wall because I’m not sure how to go about fixing that where the repair won’t look worse than the damage. At least the happy couple won’t have to worry about causing the first ding. Lesson relearned here..the blade had been cutting slower and I was going to replace it AFTER I finished cutting out those pieces. I should not have waited. It obviously got dull, got hot and got my detriment. Replace or sharpen tools when they get dull not when it’s convenient. I sure won’t make that mistake again until the next time.

I have all the carcass pieces dry fitted and now turn my attention to fixing the glass groove. It obviously won’t fit on a router table any longer, my small routers won’t fit inside the piece well enough to cut what I want it to and my only rabbet bit is a 1/2” shank which eliminates the small guys anyhow.

As an aside, I work in a woodworking supply store and you would be surprised how many people want to try to run huge bits using trim routers. The manufacturers obviously want to avoid this by only allowing 1/4” shanked bits. “Er, no sir, you can’t put that panel raising bit in your Bosch Colt. No, Bosch doesn’t make a 1/2” shank for the Colt, sorry. But we do have larger routers I can show you…” No joke. Or the guy who chucked up a forstner bit in his router (dunno how) so he could drill holes, broke the bit, by some miracle avoided injury and came in for ANOTHER forstner bit. He was very offended when we told him that you can’t run a forstner bit at 22,000 RPM. You see, apparently he knew that would be too fast so dialed the router down to 10,000 RPM THANKYOUVERYMUCH! At least he thought it through… A line from Cool Hand Luke comes to mind, “Some men you just can’t reach…”

Back to my issue. The only viable work around I could come up with was to fasten each post to the front of my workbench and run the rabbet bit in my 690 using a chisel to clean up the ends. I don’t have a picture of the actual process since I was deep in thought but here is a mock up of the idea. I used the benchtop as a stability base and must have checked those clamps about 10 times for tightness.

Not ideal but ideal went out the window a couple days least it worked for the most part. The part that didn’t work so well was that I hadn’t taken the length of my mortises into account when I routed the I was about to cut into my mortise on both the top and bottom of the case. That required a patch job so that the mortise wouldn’t end up with one unsupported wall. After the patching then it was simple chisel work and the sides were done. With some tenon revision, of course. I will admit this isn’t perfect but it’s far better than just leaving the mortise wall with no support. Just an invitation to a blowout.

I then reassembled the sides, marked the needed line on the top and bottom stretchers and routed them off as needed. Now some of you might have noticed my workbench has a divided top (21st century workbench by Bob Lang) and maybe thought the gap between slabs would be annoying or if it bothered me.

NOPE!! I love the clamping options it allows me. Yes, there are other holddowns that would work but I love this bench!

So at the end of this I wind up with:

Next up will be convincing myself that I’ve sufficiently worked the sides up and then start glue work.

Thanks for reading!


-- Mistake? No, that's just an unexpected design opportunity....

2 comments so far

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2539 days

#1 posted 05-04-2012 04:24 PM

Nice to see it coming together!

-- Brian Timmons -

View DynaBlue's profile


131 posts in 3245 days

#2 posted 05-04-2012 09:08 PM

I did start gluing it up today. The three pieces that make each cloud lift detail are where I’m starting..less to futz with when I glue the posts on that way. I can also make sure that each piece is square to its mating part.

-- Mistake? No, that's just an unexpected design opportunity....

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