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Thorsen House Cabinet

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Blog series by EläväPuu updated 06-04-2015 09:40 AM 14 parts 23948 reads 16 comments total

Part 1: Project Overview

11-24-2014 01:51 PM by EläväPuu | 2 comments »

Hello everybody! </drnick> This is my opening post on Lumberjocks with a new project which I have seen done several times previously. I can squarely lay the blame for this one on Joe McGlynn, whose own derivation of the Thorsen House dining room cabinet planted the seed for my own attempt. I’m aiming to document my thought processes and decision-making through this blog, so hopefully it should bring something new to the table other than snapshots of work in progress. As of writing...

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Part 2: Preliminary CAD plan and design specifics

11-24-2014 04:13 PM by EläväPuu | 1 comment »

I spent 3-4 hours this weekend poring over photos and videos of the original piece in situ. This is one of the appealing pleasures of Greene & Greene work and definitely one that feeds into my natural tendency for puzzles and rocket scientistism. Overall, the dimensions are not too far removed from the original which is fantastic in terms of not having to re-calculate proportioning to keep everything in check. The area the cabinet will be fitted within is 1640mm (64-1/2”) wid...

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Part 3: Basic Component Appraisal

11-26-2014 10:07 AM by EläväPuu | 2 comments »

Things have started to fit into place, if you forgive the awful phrasing. Specifically, I have been identifying exactly which parts of the original cabinet correspond to either fundamental components (“top”, “muntin”, “skirt”, “side”, “base”, etc.) or parts built upon those fundamental pieces such as door frame moulding. A lot of this was done by careful examination of the relatively limited materials available and basic sense checki...

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Part 4: Joinery Considerations

11-26-2014 04:39 PM by EläväPuu | 0 comments »

Today I was a little ill and took the time to do the numbers and futz around between my initial CAD plan and the Solidworks model. At this point – if it was not immediately apparent during the CAD work – I usually start rattling out the differences between the on-paper plan (although no paper has been harmed as of yet) and the working methods I’ll use to produce the end product. This is usually an ongoing process from the initial inception of a product anyway, however by the...

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Part 5: Finalising the carcasswork

12-20-2014 04:54 PM by EläväPuu | 0 comments »

Hi everyone – this post is more of a basic check-in than a large amount of progress. The build date on this project is still not set purely because I have other projects of higher priority. Specifically, I have a Gamble House dining room table and chairs to build. So anyway. This project will be pushed along through the design process whilst that one is playing out with perhaps a degree of crossover on when it will happen. Perhaps spring 2015? Based on my observations of the original...

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Part 6: hammering out the bugs

12-26-2014 04:47 PM by EläväPuu | 0 comments »

I trust everybody is full of mince pies and good single malts? Good. Progress on the cabinet design has been excellent, with only a few minor issues here and there. One specific one which I’ll outline is about the door design. First of all, a quick rendering of the more-or-less finished design. The eagle-eyed amongst you will note that I made the central door marginally too wide, causing the door to over-run into one of the dividers. Oops! That still hasn’t been fixed si...

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Part 7: Putting it to the wood!

03-27-2015 05:33 PM by EläväPuu | 0 comments »

Hi everyone! I’ve been somewhat out of radio contact due to pressing work for my degree and working on a business startup…. Between then (when was the last post?) and now, the entire piece was constructed in Solidworks, had the bugs refined out (mostly avoiding work overcomplication and basic logistics), ripped apart and reconstructed. Very little has changed from the original dimensions and layout. The recipient of the largest changes were the doors in terms of the muntin/mull...

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Part 8: Progressing....

04-01-2015 03:55 PM by EläväPuu | 2 comments »

Not a huge amount to add today I’m afraid. The main carcase of the cabinet has had its medium sanding completed (up to 240 grit) and the first guide layer of wax added. I’m genuinely not sure whether this is a valid or efficient method of using wax (it certainly uses up a lot of it) however it produces far superior results than those from the instructions or other methods I’ve picked up. My waxing procedure is to start early. Once all the glueup and sanding that alters fo...

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Part 9: A little more on finishing....

04-03-2015 09:15 AM by EläväPuu | 0 comments »

This blog entry was inspired by Mark Kornell’s query about my approach to waxing. I’m no expert on wax finishing and would never represent myself as such. I enjoy the learning and improvement process, and that is where I take the most reward from working with wood. Wax is a simple and easy to maintain finish which seems to live and age gracefully with the workpiece rather than trapping it in time. Furniture and guitars (my other problem) live with us as companions, picking up expe...

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Part 10: First cabinet door...."J'adore/j'ai a door"

04-03-2015 10:36 AM by EläväPuu | 0 comments »

Apologies for mangling French irretrievably there just to force out a pun…. The doors presented a few logistical challenges. Surprisingly, the internal rebate angles were the least of these. The largest challenge was in the form of how best to clamp the main outer frame whilst gluing. The frame comprises morticed hinge and lock stiles with two tenoned upper/lower rails. (the mortice and tenon sizes increased in height which the drawing does not indicate) Prior to any shapin...

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Part 11: Reworking the muntins

04-20-2015 06:59 PM by EläväPuu | 4 comments »

Relatively slow progress this week as I’m juggling many things. I was unhappy with the weighting of the first set of muntins, plus I made a simple error. Nothing amazing, but it was enough to convince me to pull the muntins and start afresh. Incidentally, the muntins were surprisingly strong in situ. One never gets much opportunity to test joinery to destruction in a real-world setting so it’s reassuring to know how much integrity exists within the work we do. In addition to th...

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Part 12: A little on Ebony plugs....

04-22-2015 07:30 PM by EläväPuu | 0 comments »

This Thorsen House cabinet repro is probably the third large-scale Greene & Greene project I’ve worked on in addition to numerous smaller lighting items. Common to the lot of them are masses of Ebony splines and plugs. Lots of information exists on people’s own ideas of how to pillow, round, shape, soften and relieve simple square plugs. Probably the most common that I’ve come across is William Ng’s tactic of chucking up a squared and thicknessed stick and pillo...

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Part 13: Making headway on the glass work....

05-10-2015 04:59 PM by EläväPuu | 2 comments »

It’s been a while since I’ve updated with progress, so here’s a minor update. The last couple of weeks have been spent finessing the cabinet with tons of sanding and re-waxing. Everything is going wonderfully on that side of things as long as we ignore the tired aching hands! The last couple of weekends have been spent doing the Tiffany-type glasswork. We chose a Verrerie de Saint-Just clear textured glass (which we believe is now discontinued) complimented by a relativel...

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Part 14: Complete! (in a manner of speaking)

06-04-2015 09:40 AM by EläväPuu | 3 comments »

The cabinet is in situ! We spent a few hours prepping and mounting the cabinet using four of these superlative products from Whitechapel Ltd: http://www.whitechapel-ltd.com/product//274BF4.htmlGenerally designed for bed construction, they easily have more than enough strength in terms of shear resistance and weight bearing. Amazing things. I recommend them and Whitechapel highly. So, the cabinet is complete save for the ongoing glass panel work. The world seemed to have gone through some s...

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