Greene and Greene Curio Cabinet #5: The End

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Blog entry by DynaBlue posted 08-09-2015 06:00 PM 1152 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Carcase glue up Part 5 of Greene and Greene Curio Cabinet series no next part

Okay..this project has become known amongst my friends as “The five-year cabinet”. Shortly after the last post my wife became sick and required two major surgeries before the end of the year. That pretty much forced this project to the far back burner for the remainder of the year. Then I started back in college at 46, going for a Biology degree and the amount of homework I’ve been doing was yet another nail in the coffin, so to speak, for getting this done in any kind of timely manner. However, this summer I did not take a class and I had time (and LOTS of wife encouragement) to finish this cabinet. With that, I resumed work.

I either didn’t take any pictures of the door work or the photos were lost in various iterations of computer replacements, but here is a picture of the carcase mocked up with the doors.

The doors fit well and the cloud lift details aligned nicely with those on the sides of the cabinet. With that done, I began work on the top. The original design did not use, by my best estimation, a true breadboard construction. Since this is going to a Navy family and they would be likely to move to various climates, I opted for the stability that a breadboard would provide. I used the Darrel Peart book, “Greene & Greene: Design Elements for the Workshop” as my inspiration and guide. The top was constructed per the book using cherry with ebony splines and plugs. The book recommends some jig setups to make the job easier and they worked out well. There is some tense router work as you groove from long grain into end grain but it all came out nicely in the end.

Sanding and finishing went along about as you probably expect: very tedious. The finish was done in two stages. All interior surfaces of the cabinet were finished in dewaxed shellac to prevent lingering odors and the exterior was done in Liberon finishing oil. The interior was rubbed out with 0000 steel wool lubricated with Feed n’ Wax while the exterior was oil sanded up to 400 grit. The goal was a smooth, satin-sheen and the 400 provided exactly what I was looking for.

The doors have a positive stop at the bottom, provided by the floor of the cabinet, however, they needed something a the top. After getting some good ideas from a friend, I decided to use magnet closures to hold the doors in a closed position. Because I didn’t want to go with the rather stock, relatively low-end look of plastic and metal catches, I created my own. A piece of cherry was counterbored to hold two pairs of 3/4” rare earth magnets. I used two magnets per door because my testing showed that two provided a more positive attraction than single magnets. The magnets were epoxied in place and a piece of face grain cherry was veneered over them, providing the appearance of magnetic wood. The doors were counterbored for the metal strike and the strike was then covered over with a felt dot, once again, hiding the metal. In the first of the following pictures you can see on side of the magnet block at the upper end of the divider.

After three years of waiting I was finally able to insert the shelf pin sockets and see if all those holes I’d drilled were, in fact, coplanar. And they were! I think I went a bit overboard in my desire to provide adjustability and there are 29 positions for the shelves, but oh well, it was only drilling holes. But 7.25 bags worth of pin sockets later and I was strongly questioning my sanity regarding that point.

You can also see that the glass sides and one piece of door glass have been installed using retainer strips. I used steel screws and candle wax to ream and lubricate the holes and then drove in the final brass screws. I tipped the cabinet on it’s back and installed my signature ‘finish’ penny, a 2015 to commemorate the year the project concluded.

The final touch was to install the door pulls that my wife found. Some very nice pieces hand-made in England. They look great and match the general style of cabinet very nicely.

My glass shelves should arrive in the next couple of days and then it will be ready for final delivery. I used two different websites to calculate the shelf glass requirements. I used The Sagulator to estimate the sag and I used the Dulles Mirror and Glass website to calculate shelf weight and load capacity.

It’s been a very long project, mostly because life got in my way, but it’s done. I’m very pleased with this cabinet. Thanks to those who might have followed along.

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

5 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2285 days

#1 posted 08-09-2015 07:31 PM

This is such a nice piece. I love it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View sras's profile


4363 posts in 2548 days

#2 posted 08-09-2015 11:56 PM

Excellent! I like your choice of G&G elements – well balanced and done well…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View sugarpine's profile


107 posts in 1918 days

#3 posted 08-10-2015 01:31 AM

You should be damn proud of your work. Looks great !! You put nearly as much effort into the narrative and we woodworkers appreciate it. May your next project be for you and your wife!

-- sugarpine

View DynaBlue's profile


131 posts in 2609 days

#4 posted 08-10-2015 05:43 AM

@helluvawreck & sras – Thank you, I truly appreciate the comments!

@sugarpine – LOL.. if I could only type about the projects they might get done quicker! It’s that darned woodworking part that slows me right down.

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

View CaptainSkully's profile


1407 posts in 2977 days

#5 posted 08-19-2015 05:23 AM


This is a spectacular piece! Right up there with Darrell Peart and Bob Lang. Seriously, something for the rest of us to strive for.

Best regards,


-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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