Twin cabinets in ash

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Project by vipond33 posted 821 days ago 1646 views 2 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A couple of years ago I made two tall cabinets in ash for my little one. They were to be bookshelf, utility, stuffed animals, you name it – for you really don’t have much say in the use of your work when it sets sail into the world. These are part of a future furniture project for her in later life and as such were designed very narrow to fit even the smallest wall somewhere and in a left/right door pairing.

Construction was from a single 12’ timber, 6” x 8”, resawn and book-matched with mortise and tenon throughout. All surfaces were simply planed and scraped with no sanding anywhere. The Minwax tung oil finish (x5) was padded on and cut back with a card scraper. So yes, there are a few plane tracks evident but the finish shows the clearest wood grain without muddiness.

The backs are a little bit interesting as I made them as frame and panel style to align with the fixed shelves but used veneered panels glued hard and flush to the solids in a long run. Shan’t do that again as it was very difficult to level without cutting through.

Here’s the fun part to these units. Behind the door is a shelf and behind that the back panel. Remove the shelf and shelf pins, reach under a false brace below and discover a loose magnet pull. Apply the magnet pull to the back and open it on Soss hinges to reveal a 3” deep compartment with dividers. Her mom still doesn’t know of its existence and I’ve promised to never look again.

The motif or pattern displayed is one that I’m fond of though I don’t know its proper name or origin. Perhaps someone can help me out here. What I do know is that it involved a whole lot of careful, one chance stop/start routing with some 224 interior corners to be chisel squared and cleaned. All edges were left razor sharp so that changing light makes it quite dramatic.

12 1/2” x 16” x 52”
About 65 hrs.
Build on LJ’s


Sharp eyes will notice how I managed to drill and install the handle on the hinge side! (left unit). What a maroon.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

25 comments so far

View rance's profile


4130 posts in 1792 days

#1 posted 821 days ago

That’s ‘Moron’. You make me laugh. :) I thought I was the only one that did stuff like that. Your workmanship is still outstanding. And then you reveal that you have some of the same problems we mortals do. Thanks for sharing.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View DocSavage45's profile


4897 posts in 1474 days

#2 posted 821 days ago

Here’s a place where that tool came in handy? Even your mistakes are masterful! :-)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View eddie's profile


7253 posts in 1246 days

#3 posted 821 days ago

gene those are beautiful ill be glad when i get to that stage of the craft ,you have a pretty girl too . no mistake there :)

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View mafe's profile


9491 posts in 1721 days

#4 posted 821 days ago

Gene I enjoy the details, also the moron once, as always from your hands such nice work.
Bet she loves sharing the secret with you.
Best thoughts,

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

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6647 posts in 2611 days

#5 posted 820 days ago

This is some very nice work..

I like the secret compartments, and your deal not to mention them. Of course, that could come back and bite you.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Roger's profile


14373 posts in 1436 days

#6 posted 820 days ago

I know one little girl who is very happy. These look very nice. Lotsa detail

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View jaykaypur's profile


3316 posts in 1040 days

#7 posted 820 days ago

Very nice workmanship. Love the whole thing.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View JL7's profile


7125 posts in 1597 days

#8 posted 820 days ago

Hey Gene – super nice as usual – you never skimp on the details – the hidden compartment puts it in a league of it’s own….

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View SPalm's profile


4788 posts in 2514 days

#9 posted 820 days ago

Sweet. The pink boots are a killer.
Very nice Gene. You cleverness shows through time and time again.

A pair of cases made with love. What’s not to like?

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View balidoug's profile


363 posts in 1110 days

#10 posted 820 days ago

You never fail to impress and inspire.

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View Johnnyblot's profile


318 posts in 908 days

#11 posted 820 days ago

Very nice, very well done. I love ash, it’s great to see people using it.:-)


-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

View shipwright's profile


4919 posts in 1430 days

#12 posted 820 days ago

Another super piece of work Gene.

Been there, done that on the breath holding, butt clenching multiple router cuts and I commend you on your success. Doesn’t it feel good when you can finally let go and breathe again.

I like the no sanding approach for clarity of grain too.

That’s one lucky little girl with the dollhouse, games, furniture….....she’ll need a pretty big truck when she finally leaves the nest. Nice work!!

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 856 days

#13 posted 820 days ago

Glad to see the woodworker-in-training wearing ear protection! She will use these for decades and think of you each and every time she does. I love the pattern – and the secret compartment will no doubt come in handy.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View TomTinkerSum's profile


218 posts in 2467 days

#14 posted 820 days ago

Your a great dad! The shelves will be useful her whole life and SECRET COMPARTMENTS – You rock!

-- If a woodchuck could chuck wood, he's probably not a Lumberjock --

View nomercadies's profile


502 posts in 970 days

#15 posted 820 days ago

I’‘m not sure what the comment on Maroon vs. Moron means. YouTube has the definition of Maroon quite clearly indicating it has the equal meaning of ignoranamous.

But seriously folks, the start/stop routering is seriously precise. I looked a long time at the corners. Very nice. Hidden compartments done on purpose are a new idea to me. I end up with lots of places where things seem to fall into that I am never able to retrieve. I must give the idea of doing it as part of a plan.

Fellow maroon signing off .

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

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