Roubo Cabinet #3: Materials

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 04-29-2011 03:51 PM 3020 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Design Specs Part 3 of Roubo Cabinet series Part 4: Resurfacing Material »

Depth of cabinet is figured at 20¼”, meaning that the full top requires a rough panel measuring 33Wx20D. Sides are only 13 ¼” high, so two of them end to end require a rough panel that is 27Wx20D. SO, I need 40 (plus or minus) inches of good material at least 33” along the grain. Almost four foot. And that doesn’t address the bottom of the carcase or the solid wood interior dividers (four of them) I’d like to have in the finished cabinet.

The material I’ve decided to use should at least handle the sides and top, and it comes from a walnut extension / drop-leaf monstrosity of a table my son bid on and won at a recent consignment auction we went to. Long story short, he had my bid number and bought this thing for a buck. “You always say you can use good wood, and this one has a lot of it!” Ah, so true…

Lest anyone think I’m tossing aside a piece of history in this mad pursuit of shop furniture, a few words on the table. It… is… crap. Aprons mortised into the legs, but with a top fastened to the aprons from the outside, using slotted screws seated in holes made with a spade bit. Every board on the top is cupped, glue joints open or failed, and the extension mechanism has failed completely. Really, the only reason it was sold as a standing piece at all is because someone had run a couple of two inch drywall screws through the top, holding everything together.

What to salvage? All top pieces, aprons and legs.

Also salvaged the wooden drop leaf supports. These appear to be hand cut; here are pictures of the supports and mortised hinges of the drop-leaf. I’ll keep the supports for later use (maybe?)

And here’s a pic of the rough pine I’ll have to use for the base of the carcase as well as for each of the inside partitions. I plan on edging them in walnut on the show side of the cabinet.

My concern is that a carcase made from this reworked walnut may end up being less than ¾” thick. How significant is that in a cabinet that won’t ever be moved while full? Not very, I guess. Also, the inside faces of the walnut, if irregular, will show through at the dovetail joinery. It is shop furniture, though, so I’m not going to go nuts worrying about interior surfaces.

Knobs / pulls will have to be low-profile, and I don’t have stuff for the interior drawer assemblies set aside yet, but those things don’t have to be decided right now. I’ve got panels to make and lots of dovetails between me and that (finishing) stage, so off to stock prep!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

2 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3143 days

#1 posted 04-29-2011 06:21 PM

nice start on the cabinet :-)
and I don´t think you have to worry too much about the thickness of the boards
and it will still gain a tremmendus mass to your bench speciel when your tools have landed

looking forward to the next one

take care

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2646 days

#2 posted 04-30-2011 12:10 AM

@Dennis – I think you’re right on thickness, too. Shouldn’t be a problem. Surfacing this material is going to be a blast, stay tuned!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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