Ming - ish Dynasty Wine Cabinet

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Project by WhattheChuck posted 01-25-2018 02:20 AM 2370 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ming Dynasty-styled wine cabinet. This is obviously a fantasy piece, as Chinese people didn’t drink wine out of bottles—the traditional wine/Báijiǔ container is a gourd. The main carcase is cherry, dovetailed together, with a top attached with screws from the underside. The doors are cherry frames, with book-matched sycamore panels, cut with traditional Chinese miter frame joints. The bottom standing frame is cut with Chinese 3-way joints. I did this project to learn about traditional Chinese joinery—the basics. Boy did I learn. I did get better as I went along, but, well, there was a learning curve. The finish is a tung oil finish.

Well, the main carcase of this sucker had been hanging around in my shop for about two years. Finally, filled with shame, and a desire to have a little more space, I rallied and finished it over the holiday break. The stock for the Chinese cabriole legs was 2.75” square, and that meant utter price-generated terror in cutting the joints. 3 out of the 4 came out pretty good, and one was so-so. Nothing that a little putty couldn’t fix… and boy—those joints are so strong compared to a simple Western apron joint.

Hardware really influences the piece—mine was pretty cheap, bought off of eBay. I managed to get a set that matched, but I would definitely spring for more expensive stuff and lay it out better in the future.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions if this kind of thing interests you. I think there’s a fairly steep learning curve to executing some of this stuff, but I found if you’re patient, and willing to repeat some of the joints, you can get reasonable results on your first project. I’m looking forward to practicing some of these some more, and making a couple of smaller, additional pieces.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

15 comments so far

View Jerry's profile


2846 posts in 1819 days

#1 posted 01-25-2018 02:38 AM

Absolutely stunning! A true work of art. Brilliant design and execution! Nice Dovtails too.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5781 posts in 2984 days

#2 posted 01-25-2018 03:05 AM

Great figure with the doors, and the dovetails look great. Good on you for trying some complex joinery for the frame. I’ll bet that’s satisfying to have that done.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View WhattheChuck's profile


339 posts in 3731 days

#3 posted 01-25-2018 04:05 AM

Aw shucks, guys! I always knew you were my LJ buddies!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3284 posts in 3279 days

#4 posted 01-25-2018 04:10 AM

Looks like something I’d see in Fine Woodworking magazine. Very nice!

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

592 posts in 2372 days

#5 posted 01-25-2018 08:54 AM


-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View recycle1943's profile


2419 posts in 1793 days

#6 posted 01-25-2018 01:05 PM

the outside is beautiful and the inside is, well empty

nice, nice, nice

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View WhattheChuck's profile


339 posts in 3731 days

#7 posted 01-25-2018 04:41 PM

Yes, recycle—the inside is empty. But not for long! :-)

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3037 days

#8 posted 01-25-2018 05:36 PM

This is an outstanding piece and shows a lot of wonderful details and fine craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View pottz's profile


3331 posts in 1155 days

#9 posted 01-25-2018 06:03 PM

very nice work,love those did a great job,now go pop a cork and celebrate.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View WhattheChuck's profile


339 posts in 3731 days

#10 posted 01-25-2018 06:19 PM

Thanks, Helluvawreck and Pottz—cutting those three-way miters drove me to drink!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View leafherder's profile


1575 posts in 2123 days

#11 posted 01-25-2018 07:37 PM

Very nice, the success is in the details – I love those feet.

-- Leafherder

View Andrek's profile


428 posts in 2080 days

#12 posted 01-26-2018 12:55 AM

Very beautiful work, outstanding in every aspect, bravo, thanks for sharing.

-- andrek

View AJ1104's profile


563 posts in 1830 days

#13 posted 01-26-2018 02:45 AM

Really nice build. Great job!

-- AJ

View majuvla's profile


13204 posts in 3038 days

#14 posted 01-26-2018 07:30 PM

So beautiful design. I like metal parts also.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View WhattheChuck's profile


339 posts in 3731 days

#15 posted 01-27-2018 05:15 AM

Thanks for all the nice words, everyone. Leaf herder—if you want to make those feet yourself, I’d recommend making the ‘hoof’ part of the horse’s hoof bigger. That’s a design feature I’d change.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

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