Oak Bar Cabinet (my wife's xmas present) Making good on my mistake.

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Blog entry by Don W posted 12-06-2011 11:36 PM 3576 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife wanted a Bar cabinet similar to one in her Pottery Barn Catalog. She typically finds something she wants and we “fix” the design. I have to admit, she is better at the implementation of a design than I am.

This one was pretty close to what she wanted though, or so we thought. Here is the original Picture as seen in the catalog.

So the first thing I did was take inventory on my wood supply. After showing some samples of what wood I had available (not much, my supply is getting low) she chose the native sawn oak.

The oak was sawn with my alaskian mill from a log segment similar to this one.

The lumber has been air drying for about 2 years now. It was just a flat sawn oak from left overs the loggers left behind. A couple of 4 and 5 foot chunks to gnarly for real logs, but just the way my wife likes them.

I then cut one edge square with a skill saw. The use of my home made bench hold downs were exceptionally helpful holding the pieces while I snapped a line and cut one edge with the skill saw.

Each piece is planed, and the cut edge is jointed on the Delta jointer.

If additional jointing was needed a quick shot with the #8 was in order.

Next I glued up the larger panels.

I’m not quite sure why I didn’t glue in sections, but I ended up doing a lot of flattening. I know better, but I thought the joints were going to be a bit more even than they wound up to be. I used a combination of my #5 jack and my 604 to get them flat and even. Because of the grain and knots in this lumber, there was some apparent tear out.

To eliminate the tear out it was on to a combination of my scraper plane and cabinet scrapers.

Next was cutting the dados. For all the hand tool elitists, you need to close your eyes for this one. I decided to go ahead with my tried and true router and jig.

So here is where the story got a little interesting. I had it together dry, and my wife came into the shop. “A little short isn’t it” was the response. Its 31” just like the dimensions in the catalog I said. But the catalog says 36”. No, I printed them right off the web page. Long story short, one page said 31” and a second page said 36”. Redesign!! We now need to add 5” somehow. This was a 2 am “I got it” revelation. Final design is actually better than original, but it took some “real” woodworking craft to pull it off. You know, the good woodworker knows how to cover his mistakes!

To raise the cabinet, I added a second drawer and moved the wine cubbies to the top. To do this I simply added the cubbies to the top of the existing cabinet. To secure it I first drilled and dry doweled the first top to the sides. I then screwed the first top to the added section of sides. This will be covered by a piece of live edge trim to hide it and give the assumption it was by design. This also allowed me to use a piece with a live edge for the “real and final” top. Adding a shelf to the open section filled the open space. Using another live edge gave it more of the look we were going for.

All actual ripping was done on my table saw, but the smoothing was done with my #60 ½ and the edges rounded with the ¼” molder.

Here is the new and final design. I need the 2 drawers and there will be a glass door on the left bottom.

Next Challenge was fastening the decorative steel on the corners. Thanks to Smitty, It will be done with some rusted old screws. The metal was a piece off an old piece of farm machinery discovered in the woods somewhere and dragged home. All I had to do was cut it to length. Cutting to length was completed with my horizontal metal band saw.

Next were the 2 drawers. Hand cut dovetails with my restored Disston 70 of course.

Now if you go over to Al's Hand Planes of your dreams thread it was suggested that this was done intentional to increase the probability of this becoming a plane cabinet. I think the odds of that are pretty slim.

I hope to have the drawers finished tonight with an update on how they came out.

Stop back for a progress report.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

22 comments so far

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 2270 days

#1 posted 12-06-2011 11:47 PM


it’s looking good, and impressive the speed at which it’s coming together.


-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View CharlesAuguste's profile


126 posts in 2119 days

#2 posted 12-06-2011 11:50 PM

Don, cutting your own lumber and turning it into furniture, great work!!!
Looking forward to see more of this cabinet!!

-- "the future's uncertain and the end is always near" J. Morrison

View Mauricio's profile


7115 posts in 2729 days

#3 posted 12-07-2011 12:06 AM

Nice, cant wait to see it when its done.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View ShaneA's profile


6606 posts in 2176 days

#4 posted 12-07-2011 12:22 AM

Don, looks good. I think you height “mistake” will end up being an improvement. Extra GI points for self milling the lumber! Cant wait to see it finished.

View Brit's profile


6845 posts in 2420 days

#5 posted 12-07-2011 12:58 AM

Good save Don. Looking great. I never realised you could link to a particular post on a thread. In fact I didn’t even know that the post # was a hyperlink. That will come in handy.

-- Andy -- "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo)

View CJLambert's profile


8 posts in 1941 days

#6 posted 12-07-2011 02:27 AM

Wow.. Looks great.. You are very good at what you do..

-- CJ Lambert

View chrisstef's profile


16154 posts in 2584 days

#7 posted 12-07-2011 02:34 AM

Donnie boy, ya done well brother. Nice cover up … i tend to make mistakes like that myself, like the breezeway bench 26” long .. little slim for 2 people. Good use of rusty iron too. You know we’re gonna need your GI Index when you’re done.

-- Something, something, something.

View Brit's profile


6845 posts in 2420 days

#8 posted 12-07-2011 02:43 AM

Don’s off the scale on the Galoot index. :-)

-- Andy -- "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo)

View chrisstef's profile


16154 posts in 2584 days

#9 posted 12-07-2011 02:52 AM

Hes so off the scale i thought he would have bought a old bar cabinet, left it outside for 15 years and then restored it … BY HAND ;)

-- Something, something, something.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


14006 posts in 2196 days

#10 posted 12-07-2011 02:58 AM

Making up well for the use of that routah, he is!

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18219 posts in 2145 days

#11 posted 12-07-2011 03:22 AM

Thanks for the smiles. I plan to put in a galoot index. See what tomorrow brings. First if you haven’t been here, then take a short trip .

I only had a few minutes tonight. I got one drawer pretty well finished. I had to reglue the last side for the second drawer. (thinking as I’m typing I haven’t cut the drawer bottom yet)

I thought I’d point out a fairly important tool if you cut dovetails using a pencil to mark

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View mafe's profile


11333 posts in 2667 days

#12 posted 12-07-2011 04:45 PM

Wauuu that is takeing shape fast.
I can almost smell the shaves here.
Nice details and really nice work.
So yes I guess the chance for it to become a plane cabinet is really small, smiles.
Merry christmas.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18219 posts in 2145 days

#13 posted 12-10-2011 02:28 AM

Not much to report. I haven’t had much time in the shop the last few days. I had just enough time tonight to finish my the dovetails on my last drawer.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18219 posts in 2145 days

#14 posted 12-13-2011 03:43 AM

well, I finally made some shop time to put into this project. Here is where we are at tonight.

I decided to use the screws I got from smitty to hold the metal on the edges. (Thanks again Smitty)

I drilled 3 holes, counter sunk them in the metal, drilled pilot holes and grabbed a brace with a straight bit for each metal edge.. I’ve got some of the old round headed bolts that were still in the metal when I dragged it home. I cut the heads off and I will be epoxying them into some of the additional holes. The rest of the holes will remain.

you can barely tell they are there.

the top has been planed (I love that LN 62) a quick hit with the #82, cabinet scraper, some 220 and then Tung oil. The plugs are walnut.

The door has half lapped joints with a fake rusted tin panel.

I’ll finish the tung oil and door this week with any luck. Hinges are on their way (so I’m told).

Once again, thanks for stopping by!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Brit's profile


6845 posts in 2420 days

#15 posted 12-13-2011 08:08 PM

That looks fantastic Don. Very creative work. Has your wife seen it lately? Does she approve?

P.S. – I still think those cubby holes would look great with some block planes in them. You could probably even fit some wooden smoothers in them. :-)

-- Andy -- "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo)

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