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koa cabinet

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Project by cathyb posted 02-06-2011 06:38 PM 1875 views 6 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finished this piece last week. It stands 44 inches tall and 11 inches deep and 15 inches wide. For the most part I am pleased with the result, but there are some things I would have changed: Although I was sure that I wanted the pulls to be fashioned from the same wood as the doors, I think I’d like them better if they had been made from the rosewood. The inlay on the edge of the top didn’t enhance the piece, I should have had a recessed layer of rosewood as the subtop with the koa on top. I think the magnetic pull is a distraction. A better solution would have been to have the doors close against a strip of wood inside the frame with recessed rare earth magnets. Ahh yes, but the next cabinet will have those changes.

The elements that I do like about this pieces, besides that awesome koa, are several: I like the repeating book-matching; the framed shelving; the curved legs with the inlay; the rosewood accents and the overall shape and size.

The take home message that I’d like to share is how I used my bandsaw to resaw all of my elements. The sides are a laminate of koa with mahogany and the doors are a laminate of koa with koa. What I like about the laminate work is that it gives a little surprise when you open the cabinet doors, not only are the sides book-matched on the exterior, but the mahogany is book-matched as well. Admittedly it takes longer, requires more set up time, more gluing and more WORK, but it’s worth the effort. Moreover, all the exterior wood came from two 8/4 boards. With laminating that wood to another species you can really stretch the material and get a well balanced piece.

-- cathyb, Hawaii, www.cathyswoodworking.com





15 comments so far

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7186 posts in 2049 days


#1 posted 02-06-2011 06:51 PM

its a very beautiful cabinet, i just love koa and you certainly made it stretch by doing the laminating..i think you also did a good job of assessing your work and i think a few of those changes will enhance your next piece…thanks for sharing this project with us…you always do outstanding work…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View michelletwo's profile

michelletwo

2290 posts in 1761 days


#2 posted 02-06-2011 06:54 PM

gorgeous wood..bookmatching is stunning. Unlike you, I like the fact the handles are the same wood. I would not want to be distracted by another color here. If I had made it, I would have used knife hinges, again so as not to distract from the gorgeous doors. Nifty piece. thanks for sharing this beauty

-- We call the destruction of replaceable human made items vandalism, while the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources is called development.

View Skylark53's profile

Skylark53

2565 posts in 1806 days


#3 posted 02-06-2011 07:23 PM

Very nice job selecting the wood and using it to compliment the project so well. The improvements you mention will be nice, but this peice is certainly a work that needs no apologies. Its a work of beauty an is well constructed to give years and years of pleasure. Thanks for shaing.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

5299 posts in 1544 days


#4 posted 02-06-2011 07:24 PM

Nice piece Kathy. I like the proportions and general appearance, particularly the legs. We are all our own worst critics of course and while I agree with the points of self criticism that you make, I think it is also very pleasing as it is.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View Robsshop's profile

Robsshop

815 posts in 1721 days


#5 posted 02-06-2011 07:32 PM

Very beautiful work, love the book matching and yes, it is alot more work to do something right and yes it does pay off in the end !

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans repurposed wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View mtnwild's profile

mtnwild

3474 posts in 2273 days


#6 posted 02-06-2011 07:38 PM

Beautiful piece. Just standing there so beautiful.

Great choice of wood. Super…..................

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View mmh's profile

mmh

3480 posts in 2468 days


#7 posted 02-06-2011 07:44 PM

It’s a beauty despite your critique. The next version will just be more spectacular.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View travisowenfurniture's profile

travisowenfurniture

91 posts in 1437 days


#8 posted 02-06-2011 09:17 PM

Beautiful grain selection. Don’t go around dissing your own work though, some people may actually believe you. Best thing to do is take note and move on. I like the subtleties of the piece, and I wouldn’t have changed anything (except a few small things, but that’s every woodworker, am I right?). The rare earth magnet idea works well, you just cant recess them too deep or they wont have enough magnetic force to keep the door closed, in my experience anyway. Also, have you ever tried springs to keep the doors closed? James Krenov had a very interesting way of doing this by using the spring from ball point pens under a piece of wood recessed in the top. I think he describes it in “The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking”

How is working with Koa? I’ve never worked with it, but I’ve heard it is extremely hard. Do you do a lot of hand work? It looks like you do. Or, you are just phenomenally in tune with your machines. Cool digs.

-- http://www.facebook.com/travisowenfurniture

View travisowenfurniture's profile

travisowenfurniture

91 posts in 1437 days


#9 posted 02-06-2011 09:23 PM

Beautiful grain selection. Don’t go around dissing your own work though, some people may actually believe you. Best thing to do is take note and move on. I like the subtleties of the piece, and I wouldn’t have changed anything (except a few small things, but that’s every woodworker, am I right?). The rare earth magnet idea works well, you just cant recess them too deep or they wont have enough magnetic force to keep the door closed, in my experience anyway. Also, have you ever tried springs to keep the doors closed? James Krenov had a very interesting way of doing this by using the spring from ball point pens under a piece of wood recessed in the top. I think he describes it in “The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking”

How is working with Koa? I’ve never worked with it, but I’ve heard it is extremely hard. Do you do a lot of hand work? It looks like you do. Or, you are just phenomenally in tune with your machines. Cool digs.

-- http://www.facebook.com/travisowenfurniture

View cathyb's profile

cathyb

757 posts in 1990 days


#10 posted 02-06-2011 10:09 PM

Thanks for the suggestions Travis. I’ll have to get that book and check it out. As far as my self-criticism, that’s just my way of moving forward. I don’t work from plans, everything I do is spontaneous. It’s not until I’ve finished a piece that I actually step away and ask myself, “What exactly happened here?” It’s probably not the most efficient method of training, for sure…...

There is a great misperception about koa out there. Let me say loud and clear KOA IS NOT A DENSE WOOD. It probably has the density of mahogany with less of a bending radius. It has reputation for being dense because it is so full of oil that clogs the cutting edge of every tool it touches and will leave burn marks on the wood if you don’t move fast enough. It doesn’t glue up so well with Titebond, I only use West System epoxy. Like mahogany, it can be carved, turned, bent, and of course is beautiful in cabinetry. It comes in colors ranging from the golden brown through the red browns and some pieces can be darker brown than walnut. The grain can be kind of plain on some boards though most have pronounced figure. The curly koa, which is graded from light to heavy, is pricey. The curl in the piece shown here is heavy curl and cost me $42 a board foot. It makes good sense to stretch such expensive wood.

Hmm. I prefer using my hands, even if it takes twice as long. I started out as a carver and still love my drawknives, microplanes, sureforms and gouges. I suppose that my cabinet might reflect my desire to use those tools even though it would be cleaner and make more sense to use shapers. Hand tools are quiet and they have a rhythm that is soothing to me. You don’t have to wear protective gear, which is greatly appreciated…....

-- cathyb, Hawaii, www.cathyswoodworking.com

View tyka's profile

tyka

142 posts in 1439 days


#11 posted 02-06-2011 10:47 PM

Absolutely gorgeous piece of art! There are so many features at our disposal that one cannot help thinking it could have been designed differently. I strugle also with the many choices, and like you I design as I go along. That may be the problem :-)

I haven’t done laminating and I’m wandering how the edges are done? Tks for sharing. Congrats.

-- Paul, Plantagenet, Ontario

View S4S's profile

S4S

2123 posts in 1427 days


#12 posted 02-07-2011 03:03 AM

NICE WORK….........congrats

View stefang's profile

stefang

13623 posts in 2080 days


#13 posted 02-07-2011 02:56 PM

A wow result Cathy. Your design is wonderful and it really gives the wood center stage. I loved your idea about the lamination’s. It really made sense and it should also add another interesting and attractive design element to the cabinet. Thanks for that tip, I’m sure I will try it out.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View travisowenfurniture's profile

travisowenfurniture

91 posts in 1437 days


#14 posted 02-10-2011 07:21 AM

I think you would really like Krenov’s philosophy, based on what you said about just winging it, the best way to do it, in my opinion.

It’s cool you use carving tools. My grandpa recently gave me a draw knife, dull as hell, and I haven’t had the chance to tune up and use. I saw a guy on the Woodwright’s Shop make a Windsor chair with one, start to finish. It was incredible.

-- http://www.facebook.com/travisowenfurniture

View cathyb's profile

cathyb

757 posts in 1990 days


#15 posted 02-10-2011 08:37 AM

Get that knife sharpened. Honestly, the draw knife is one of the most wonderful tools ever designed. I always use it when shaping the arms and legs of my rocking chairs. The microplanes are cool, too, but there is something really special about a draw knife.

Just as a note: I used to shop for antique carving tools. One day I bought a nice gouge with a handmade handle. When I got it back to my shop, I noticed that the owner had engraved his last name on the steel neck—that was my maiden name. Wow, did this guy ever imagine that a future relative, who just happened to be a woman, would one day cherish that tools as much as he did. Small world….....

-- cathyb, Hawaii, www.cathyswoodworking.com

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