Just after I started this project we get an actual bona-fide offer on our house, which we accepted. Which of course means I have to pack up the shop. But I was part way through building a cupboard… OK, so finish it quick so it can be moved as furniture and not partly assembled chunks of junk.
Sounds an excellent plan, yes? You know what they say about plan though – “No plan survives contact with the enemy” which in its original form is attributed to Field Marshal von Moltke. This plan fared no better. I cut a good set of tails on the top board and then massively screwed up the pins on one of the ides, damaging the tails in the process. Sigh. So my recovery plan involve trimming both the sides and the top to remove the damage and redoing the dovetails. This time it worked better and I was able to make a decent carcass. I decided to drop the centre divider from the planned face-frame to compensate for the reduction in width, which in turn altered the dimensions of the doors.
It took some work but after a couple of days labour in the shop I had all the carcass parts machined and dry fitted; hand cut dovetails all in decent order, sliding dovetails for the bottom rails, blind tenoned rails and stiles for the face-frame, a centre board that would fit into a dado in the bottom of the top board and one in each of the bottom rails. I had given the interior faces a coat of finish to save effort later and so, time to glue up.
I really ought to have glued the top/sides/bottoms and left the face-frame for later. Oh well. Next morning I really worked out why I should have done that; I had forgotten the centre dados. &^^# ! So, spend much of a morning hand cutting an 18” long dado and two 3” dados inside an assembled case. OK, the centre divider fits properly at last. And best of all, the drawers will fit nicely in the new, narrower case, one side flush to the centre divider and the other just clearing the face frame stiles. Phew. The base pieces were simple to machine, needing only a couple of passes on the router table but the top cornice was more complicated and I think I’ll have to redo them someday after the move. I got one piece machined only to realise I had the grain the wrong way and so ended up with face grain instead of edge grain showing. Poo.
The doors were relatively simple to build, especially as I decide to go for a very simplified Shaker stile flat panel and square profile rather than the more complex form shown in the plans. Lack of time, remember? I spent time to carefully sand the panels and do a couple of coats of finish on each face, plus the inner edges of the frame. Still, something had to go slightly wrong and both doors were slightly twisted when the glue had cured. Fitting the doors into the frame was a little more work than I had planned as a result but a morning spent carefully trimming (following the advice from a recent FWW on fitting doors) got them nicely slotted into place and then a couple of hours gingerly planing the faces of opposing corners of the door frames got us to a place where everything sat flat and square in the right place.
Fitting the base to the carcass went smoothly, with cut brads on the visible side and a couple of screws for extra support from the inside – the rear one in a slot of course to allow for movement. I added a corner block to the inside of each front corner and a couple of small support block inside the rear sides, since this is a pretty heavy piece and will have a lot of stuff stored in it. Even fitting the cornice went cleanly. A new trick that helped a lot was using a Beall TiltBox to check the blade tilt on my saw. No messing and guessing at where the mark is on the scale, just zero it on the table, click it to the blade, tilt until it reads 45 degrees. Bingo. Oh and remove it before starting the saw, just a hint.
Finally I spent a couple of hours enjoyably sanding it all with my Festool RO150 & CT33 – no vibration to numb my hands, no dust filling my lungs, reasonably quiet, very efficient – and then a first coat of wipe-on poly. I’ll do another coat or two after the move. Hinges & knobs came from Lee Valley just in time to be fitted the next morning.
So there it is, all done. I’ll post pictures soon. Probably.