Walnut liquor cabinet

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Project by stanleyfatmax posted 04-07-2013 01:39 AM 2652 views 4 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

At about 9 months start to finish, this is my longest project to date. The cabinet section has through tenons that mate with the tabletop and are wedged from below—the goal was to have a knock-down joint to help out if I ever need to move it since it’s about 80” tall. I wanted to have beefy tenons to be sure the wedge didn’t split them, but I screwed up some calculations and it ended up in the way of the drawers. If you look at the underside picture you can see that I had to plane those down (and the drawer sides) to get the drawers to be able to close.

The wine bottle slats sit in grooves in the rails with the negative space filled with spacers. If I was doing it again I would’ve paid more attention to matching color on the spacers in the back rail as some of them are light enough to really stand out. The shelves and wineglass/lowball holders are attached with stopped sliding dovetails. It’s not visible from the pictures but there is a middle shelf in the cabinet section. There is a bit of a curve to the bottom of the legs and a very slight arc to the bottom of the wine rack rails.

These are the first frame and panel doors that I’ve done just using router rail and stile bits rather than doing an actual mortise and tenon. That was probably a mistake with this style of door as there is nothing but the tension of the spaceballs to keep proper placement of the middle rail (someone more experienced probably can give the right way to do this). I used self-closing euro hinges for the cabinet doors and I think I calculated wrong because I ended up with too big of a gap (~3/8”) between the doors, even with the lateral adjustment screws all the way in (my girlfriend watched me close the doors and innocently asked whether there was a piece that went between them—grrr). You’ll also see on the close-up that some of the seams in the frame and panel aren’t totally clean. I think the narrow width of the stock and poor set-up caused me to rock a bit when routing the end grain of the rails.

You can kind of see from the table top pic the 6 diamond inlays to cover knotholes in the wood. My execution of the inlay was a bit poor, but even beyond that I think I should’ve used contrasting wood because it matches color close enough that it just looks like a badly done fix rather than the design element I intended it to be. I also intended to have a curve on the lower side of the top rails of the doors but didn’t because the straight grain pieces I had picked out for the frame didn’t have enough width. Now I think the top section looks a little too boxy and maybe that would’ve helped. Looking at it now I also think that some small molding at the top above the doors may have given it a more finished look.

Although this post is mostly about the various screw-ups, I had a great time building it and I’m really happy with the end result. The finish by the way is poly over oil. Shellac over oil is my go-to but I switched it up because I’m sure I’ll spill my fair share of whiskey on this over its lifetime. In fact, might go spill a bit on it now.

Thanks for reading—

11 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3833 days

#1 posted 04-07-2013 01:53 AM

A very unique and beautiful piece : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Gator's profile


383 posts in 3821 days

#2 posted 04-07-2013 01:59 AM

Hey.. stop beating yourself up…. that’s what the rest of us are here for…LOL

I don’t think I have ever built anything without standing back and thinking .. “on the next one”.. I would do it differently ..

All kidding aside.. very nice piece.. pat yourself on the back.. you deserve it.


-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8540 posts in 2127 days

#3 posted 04-07-2013 02:36 AM

Nice work. I really like it. Almost as much as I like bourbon;-)

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2642 days

#4 posted 04-07-2013 02:46 AM

Spill ahead, it lives and will live on, much like an old attractive lover. Those are some real nice looking panels, and that’s all that you’ll ever see.

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

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3722 days

#5 posted 04-07-2013 03:18 PM

Wonderful work beautiful design.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View helluvawreck's profile


32083 posts in 3011 days

#6 posted 04-07-2013 03:25 PM

I think that you have built a nice cabinet. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View AaronK's profile


1507 posts in 3609 days

#7 posted 04-07-2013 10:04 PM

really nice design and build. the wedged tenons are a great idea, and i love the cantilevered shelf on the right. i agree that using contrasting wood for the inlays would have been a better touch, but that’s really nitpicking :)

View toddbeaulieu's profile


815 posts in 3149 days

#8 posted 04-07-2013 11:28 PM

“Although this post is mostly about the various screw-ups”

That’s too funny. We are all the same!

I really like it. I love walnut and I think you did a great job. For most of us, we can’t execute what is in our mind. We can only get as close as our skills allow at the time. And with each project that gap gets a little smaller.

Great work. I love it.

View AandCstyle's profile


3164 posts in 2402 days

#9 posted 04-07-2013 11:43 PM

I think this is a great looking project. Have a glass of single malt for me. If the gap between the doors bothers you. You can make a small strip, say 1.5×0.25 inches, finish it and attach it to the back of one of the doors. With the dark wood, your 0.375” gap will disappear. Of course, you will then need to open the other door first.

-- Art

View J. Curtis Goforth's profile

J. Curtis Goforth

58 posts in 3070 days

#10 posted 04-08-2013 02:30 AM

I would recommend spilling some Baker’s or Blanton’s Bourbon on it myself. That’s sure to make the grain (or your tastebuds) pop! Awesome work.

View garbonsai's profile


154 posts in 2100 days

#11 posted 04-08-2013 05:50 PM

Nice work. I will say I prefer to drink my booze rather than put it in a beautiful cabinet, but to each hic… er… his own.

-- Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

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