Roubo Cabinet

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Blog series by Smitty_Cabinetshop updated 07-26-2011 04:24 PM 17 parts 65387 reads 130 comments total

Part 1: Why and What?

04-26-2011 09:26 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 7 comments »

Twenty-five months ago I built my Roubo workbench based on plans in C. Schwarz’ first Workbenches book. I read the cautions to keep the underside of the benchtop clear of anything that would impede clamping, protruding holdfasts, etc. and finished the base with a simple shelf. I did add a small, single drawer to the underside about six months later, based on examples in Roubo illustrations, but nothing else. About a year ago I was fortunate to come across a traditional cabinetmaker’s workb...

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Part 2: Design Specs

04-27-2011 04:39 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 2 comments »

Took measurements; here’s what will work best (all outside dimensions of the cabinet): 33 ¼” W x 13 ¼” H x 20 ¼” D Assuming full ¾” stock for carcase and all dividers, top drawer will be 10” x 2 ¾” (face), and larger drawers will measure 20 ¾” x 3 ¾”. The door (or larger, right side drawer) is 10” x 11 ¾”. Other hard requirements:- Has to fit between the legs of the bench (of course);- Must be set back enough to not make contact w/ the 203 clamps in the sliding deadman; and- ...

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Part 3: Materials

04-29-2011 03:51 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 2 comments »

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 h...

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Part 4: Resurfacing Material

05-02-2011 09:59 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 4 comments »

With plan and materials in hand it’s time to build panels that will become the Roubo Cabinet (with pictures!) Not for the faint at heart, this entry contains extensive hand plane use that many would consider exhausting and (essentially) pointless in the modern workshop. I, of course, see things differently. Up to this point, I’d not had a project that required solid wood panels that had to be joined / assembled to this extent. So ‘gluing up panels’ had meant rail and style stuff, not what ...

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Part 5: Panel Glue-Ups

05-05-2011 08:22 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 10 comments »

Laid out the pieces to get panels that will be the top and two sides of the cabinet / carcase, paying some attention to grain pattern as well as grain direction, to get pieces that would be visually appealing and that would (hopefully) smooth well at final finish. Here’s the walnut all laid out: I’m gluing up a total of four total panels – two walnut and two pine. Not rocket science – apply glue to both edges: Brush out, then squeeze. Walnuts were first, and one of those needed ...

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Part 6: Cutting to Size

05-09-2011 11:22 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 2 comments »

I don’t always subscribe to ‘measure twice, cut once’ because the stuff I build isn’t set in stone; designing around mistakes, when they happen, isn’t too difficult, typically. The foam board mock up I did for this cabinet, for example, represents a high-water mark of up-front design work for shop furniture! With more complex builds, Sketch Up may be something I need to learn. But I digress… After the many hours of work required simply to get panels made to work with (example of one of the...

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Part 7: Mitered Dovetails

05-12-2011 07:26 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 12 comments »

We are to the point, fellow woodworkers, that progress is being made that directly results in something that resembles an actual cabinet. So if you’ve followed along up to this point waiting for ‘real work’ to take place, yawning with each installment that detailed build plans (boring!), material prep (double boring!) and panel glue-ups (A blog entry on gluing panels? Are you kidding me??), this just may be the pay-off you’ve been waiting for. Of course, maybe not. But I digress, as usualR...

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Part 8: Dados and Partitions

05-20-2011 05:29 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 7 comments »

I’ve got a carcase that needs to be divided into sections to house five drawers for hand tools at the Roubo. As is usually the case with my shop work, there are more efficient ways to put drawers in cabinets than the methods I’ve chosen. Part of the answer to that is this Cabinet will be matched up to a bench that, as a pair of shop tools, will be productive way beyond my time with both of them. The balance falls into the mantra ‘practice with a purpose.’ I build things for the shop using too...

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Part 9: Framed Backpanel

05-25-2011 06:59 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 3 comments »

I have a fully joined carcase with partitions for five drawers, but it’s only got two sides, a top and a bottom. ie: it needs a backside! Options I’ve thought about include a series of half-lap boards nailed into a rabbet at all four edges, and a floating frame and panel. Because one of these is necessarily more difficult to do than the other, you can likely guess which one I’ve chosen… I started work with material selection. For the frame I’ve used a pretty non-descript (re: crappy) piece...

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Part 10: Placing the Backpanel

05-26-2011 11:44 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 8 comments »

With the back panel released from pipe-clamp jail and kinda-sorta smoothed with a #4, time to get it ready for fitting to the back of the carcase. What I want to do is get this panel inset into a groove planed (yes, with the #48!) inside said carcase so it floats in place / can expand and contract its little heart out. The panel will be ‘tongued’ on all four sides, so in order to get the ‘un-tongued’ dimensions right I first had to clamp the carcase tight to get a ‘finished’ inside dimension ...

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Part 11: Carcase Glue-Up

06-01-2011 06:01 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 8 comments »

You’ve heard of spot welding, as applies to metal? Well, the partitions in this cabinet are spot-glued, specifically with a brushed-out dab of glue at the leading edges of each. That should allow for movement with the seasons without cracking. The partitions ride in matched dadoes that must be lined up right and drawn tight between four large panels that are glued at the dovetailed corners. Oh, and the back panel floats completely in grooves in the side panels with a ‘button dowel’ at top ...

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Part 12: Drawer Faces

06-10-2011 10:26 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 17 comments »

The material for four of the drawer fronts had been identified and set aside when the dimensions of each drawer were pretty much set. Each of those came from the aprons of the donor table, looked quite scruffy, but cleaned up well on the face side. I did have to do some filler work on the insides of these pieces because of how they were ‘purposed’ on the Donor Table, specifically I cut blocks out of scrap walnut to fill cavities towards the bottom of each of two drawers so my drawer bottoms w...

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Part 13: Drawers Sides, The Big Drawer

06-23-2011 11:31 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 9 comments »

An update only because getting the drawers built is taking so long and is fixin’ to take awhile longer because shop time is giving way to quality family time. For The Big Drawer, I’ve worked side dovetails by marking for thickness and depth… Then worked the half-blind pins … And stuck it in place, without a bottom, just because I was ready to see progress! Five drawers to document in a future post, and I’m trying some different assembly methods ...

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Part 14: Gang of Four Drawers - Sides

07-19-2011 06:48 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 8 comments »

The Roubo Cabinet has been in work now since March. Weather is incredibly oppressive this month, with temps in Southern Illinois routinely in the mid-90s. And the humidity? As I’m fond of saying, “At least it’s a wet heat…” My shop is not climate controlled so going inside to work lately means sweat to the point of dripping within the first 5 minutes. I wipe down tools a lot, and myself too. Yuck. But this project is still in OPEN status, so turn on the squirrel fan, turn up the radio and let...

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Part 15: Hardware

07-20-2011 10:44 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 9 comments »

Q: What do you call a drawer that doesn’t open?A: Rework. Okay, lame joke but it’s a decent intro to the challenge of finding drawer pulls for this Roubo Cabinet of mine. Design constraints? Not many, but they’re important ones. 1. Stout enough to work on drawers full of tools (potentially heavy)2. Aesthetically in sync with the cabinet (I’ll know it when I see it)3. Hardware can’t stick out / interfere with the sliding deadman First thing I thought of were those wildly unde...

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Part 16: Final Assembly - Drawer Backs, Bottoms and Fitting

07-25-2011 04:48 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 10 comments »

This is the last post required to complete the build and make ready for applying the finish of my choice to get this one in the books. Once all the drawer fronts have been joined to the sides, and those cut to rough length, I had to work on adding backs to the drawers as well as bottoms. All drawer backs were set into simple dados that were cut on the table saw. For the Big Drawer as well as the Big Pair of drawers, the drawer bottom consists of a single piece of repurposed hardboa...

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Part 17: Finish Applied, Final Entry

07-26-2011 04:24 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 12 comments »

Two snapshots is all there is for this entry. Pulled the cabinet out of its cubby below the workbench and set it on top for an applied finish. I’ve thought for awhile there were some proud dovetail joints needing some final attention, but decided all was good. Finish consisted of a single coat of boiled linseed oil, which I will reapply this fall when my entire bench is due for a refresher coat of Watco’s. Started wiping the first drawer, big smile on my face. I was amazed / truly didn...

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