Wolf in sheep’s clothing

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Project by Buckeyes85 posted 08-23-2014 02:11 PM 2033 views 8 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Designed and built this cabinet for a friend’s gun collection. Finish: sanded to 400 then a mixture of Transtint of reddish brown and golden brown dye followed by several thin coats of Bartley Gel Varnish. Behlen burnt sienna glaze. Rubbed out with 4-O steel wool and Butcher’s wax. Cabinet is about 80” x 24.

This is a combination of cherry plywood and solid cherry. The carcass and shelves are plywood; everything else is stock. The cherry plywood is a nice pattern and color but it is so tissue-thin that you cant sand out any deep scratches much less dings without going through it. In the future I think anything that is going to get this much time will be solid stock. This junky plywood is a disservice to the piece.

Most of the gun cabinets I’ve seen have a flat bottom with oval cut-outs. I angled this to get gravity to help hold the barrels in. The inserts are shaped to match the tombstone door top. I used cork as the base.

First attempt at many design features (although if you count all the aborted prototypes maybe it doesn’t count as a first) including Tombstone arched doors, fluted quarter columns, sliding dovetails (to hang the shelves in the upper cabinet) ship-lapped back, cope and stick rail and stiles, bookmatched door panels and ogee bracket feet.

Hinges and pulls from Ball & Ball; locks from Woodcraft. Learned how to do most of these first thanks to a number of articles that I found in Fine Woodworking:
• How to Add a Quarter Column – Jeff Headley – March/April 2010
• Cope and Stick – Richard Babbitt – Sept /Oct 2011
• 18th Century Pennsylvania Secretary (series) – Lonnie Bird – Jan/Feb 2002

17 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2732 days

#1 posted 08-23-2014 03:41 PM

Very very nice..I would never know it was a gun cabinet just from looking at the outside.

View Mark's profile


814 posts in 1398 days

#2 posted 08-23-2014 03:57 PM

Well done Buck eye. Your joinery is out standing. Very nice.

-- Mark

View bobasaurus's profile


2587 posts in 2608 days

#3 posted 08-23-2014 04:15 PM

Really nice work, those are some enormous raised panels. Is the glaze only applied to low areas / accents?

-- Allen, Colorado

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2758 days

#4 posted 08-23-2014 05:51 PM

Exceptionally nice work. I have to agree with you that such a beautiful piece with so much work into it deserves solid wood, but if it’s well taken care of it might be around for a long long time.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SteveGaskins's profile


621 posts in 2011 days

#5 posted 08-23-2014 08:40 PM

Very nice. Love everything about it especially the bracket feet.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View Billy E's profile

Billy E

162 posts in 1504 days

#6 posted 08-24-2014 12:55 AM

Very nice! And good call on angling the floor as well.

-- Billy, Florence SC

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3642 days

#7 posted 08-24-2014 01:24 AM

Outstanding! I love it.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3128 posts in 3136 days

#8 posted 08-24-2014 04:21 AM

So many gorgeous details that it’s hard to know where to drool first! It is certainly destined to be an heirloom.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 1625 days

#9 posted 08-24-2014 05:17 AM

Beautiful Work all the way around…...

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View robscastle's profile


3323 posts in 1628 days

#10 posted 08-24-2014 07:10 AM

I agree with the other LJs,its exceptional work.
Ply wood these days sux, I do not seem to be able to buy any that’s worth making items out of.

Most is “rubbish” and the few sheets that are OK, there generally is not enough of them to complete a job

It certainly looks good.
Just out of interest why did you use dowels in the sides?

-- Regards Robert

View Grumpymike's profile


1899 posts in 1739 days

#11 posted 08-24-2014 01:32 PM

Boy oh boy! do I agree with you on the plywood subject. The first cross cut the paper thin veneer shatters and splinters something terrible.
I complained to one of the suppliers that I buy from and he asked if I would pay a few bucks more for the quality stuff? ... Yes, in a heartbeat.
He now carries American and Canadian made plywood that has a full 1/16 inch veneer on both sides. Yes it costs a bit more, $15 to $20 bucks per sheet depending on species, but it’s worth it for those special projects, and it cuts clean on cross cuts … no more tossed out pieces.
Talk to your supplier and see if he will order it for you or even stock it.
The big box stores won’t even consider it, they have to carry the cheapest crap out there to be price competitive.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View zaschaffer's profile


85 posts in 888 days

#12 posted 08-24-2014 01:34 PM

Great work! I am actually about to start working on something similar. If you dont mind about how deep did you make the cabinet?

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1720 posts in 1393 days

#13 posted 08-24-2014 01:39 PM

That is some kind of beautiful! Amazing work! You are an excellent craftsman

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Buckeyes85's profile


108 posts in 1112 days

#14 posted 08-24-2014 01:58 PM

Thank you all for your kind words. Answering a the questions:
Bobosaurus – the glaze is just in the low areas/accents to try to give them depth

robscastle – i doweled the sides for a few reasons: 1) I like the look but frankly the thin plywood bit me here with tearout. 2) to be honest, I have not tried hand cut dovetails yet I am almost embarrassed to say. I have an Akeda dovetail jig (which i used for the drawers) and I really like it because it is easy to set up, great dust collection, you can use different size bits and variably space them so they don’t look like typical jig dovetails. But you’d have to have one heckuva platform to put the sides of this case in it plus it was too wide anyway.

grumpymike – good point on the plywood. I agree it would be worth $20 more for good stuff.

zaschaffer – the upper cabinet sides were 11.5”; lower cabinet 12.5”. when you add the fluted quarter columns that adds another 1.25”

View helluvawreck's profile


22707 posts in 2290 days

#15 posted 08-24-2014 03:26 PM

Wow, this is a beautiful piece. Congratulations.

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

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