Step-back Cupboard Build #2: Cutting and more gluing!

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Blog entry by rwyoung posted 06-09-2009 06:27 AM 1561 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Lumber prep Part 2 of Step-back Cupboard Build series Part 3: More gluing and starting on some dovetails »

Now that the sides are sized and cut to length, it is time for cutting feet and marking up to get ready for dados, rabbits and dovetails (dados, rabbits and dovetails, oh my! Sorry Dorthy.).

The feet of the cupboard are cut into the sides and two lower front stiles. Notice that the “front” foot is slightly narrower than the “rear” foot. This 3/4” difference will be made up by the stile after it is attached. I drew the shape I wanted on some scrap 1/8” plywood and cut it on the jig saw. Then fared the curve with a small sanding drum, wood file and sandpaper.

The bulk of the waste is first removed with a jigsaw. Both sides are clamped together so they can be cut and routed at the same time. This means you need a long straight cutter with bottom bearing. I happen to have a 3” long, 1/2” diameter cutter for just such a situation. Without this, you would just route each half separately, moving the pattern as needed. The pattern is double-stick taped to the bottom of the blanks.

Here is the finished cut, pattern and bit shown for reference.

The little ding in the left inside corner is of no consequence as this is the inside face of the blank and most of the ding will be removed later when I cut a dado for the bottom board. The routed edge will be cleaned up with a bit more filing and sanding. Wrapping sandpaper around a large dowel works great for these sort of inside curve corners. Again, remember, this will be painted (and frankly, it is the BOTTOM side after all, only to be seen by dust bunnies and spiders).

Now I mark up one of the side blanks for the bottom dado, shelf and shelf cleat locations, the dado for the center work surface, top dovetail depth (pins technically) and the rabbet down the back to catch the sides of the back boards. I make these marks now to help me figure out the correct order of operations later. The marks indicating thicknesses are really only temporary as I’ll be letting the finish sanded thickness of the bottom and center work surface dictate the dado width. The back will be 1/2” since I can mill the boards to fit. And the top pin depth will be a function of the top board thickness.

Speaking of bottom, center and top boards… Time for more glue ups! I mentioned that the 4/4 material I purchased was S2S’d to about 13/16”. This means that if there is more than 1/16” of cup or twist in a board, I can’t mill it away without seriously affecting the finish thickness. The simple trick is cut the necessary lengths from my narrow (say 8”) boards, then rip each of those 8” widths again to about 4”. Then these narrower pieces should have much less twist, cup, etc and may not need more than a 32nd taken off to make them reasonably flat. Joint the edge perpendicular to a face and glue them back. More glue, biscuits (for alignment only, remember that the glue will be stronger than the wood anyway) and clamping.

A slick trick for popping the glue beads is to use a plane iron in bevel down orientation. I replaced the thin iron in a plane with a nice thick Hock blade, so now I use the old thin iron as my glue popper. After popping glue off both sides, a quick hit with the card scraper and I’m ready to move on to the next jointing and gluing operation. If you don’t use a cardscraper already, go get one (or a set). They are relatively inexpensive and the tools necessary for sharpening them are pretty cheap. A good video tutorial over at the Wood Magazine web site as well as other methods can be found all over the ‘net.

Proper scraper technique needs both hands to make the scraper bow (or use a holder but I’ve gone back to hand holding the card). But I didn’t drag out a tripod so one hand to hold the scraper in the photo, the other hand to take the photo.

Tool skills:
1) Jointer
2) Glue-up without panic
3) scraper sharpening and application

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

3 comments so far

View Ampeater's profile


440 posts in 3714 days

#1 posted 06-09-2009 02:38 PM

Can’t see your pictures.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3438 days

#2 posted 06-09-2009 03:22 PM

Works fine with firefox, Safari and Chrome. Just doesn’t seem to work with IE… I’ll see about modifying the image hosting.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3680 days

#3 posted 06-09-2009 04:32 PM

I really like your step by step blog. As some one about to graduate into cabinet size pieces this gets favorited for future ‘learn-from’ reference

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

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