23 November 2019 at 12:27 pm #629912
This project needs to be about speed for family reasons I won’t get into. The plan is to use off the shelf oak from Home Despot, use the interior surface as the reference face and only worry about flattening it (to allow fitting doors), and treat the exterior as “looks good, is good.”
Here’s a drawing. One simple trick I learned from my architect daughter: Once you’ve made your first scale drawing, you can use tracing paper to play with the design. For example, my first drawing (green paper) had equal-sized doors. She suggested making the bottom door a little taller to add visual weight to the bottom and make it more stable (visually). Rather than redrawing, I traced the first drawing and only had to remeasure a few lines. This is about speed, so I didn’t redraw after that, but put my dimensions onto the tracing paper, tossed it in the copier, and moved on.
Hint: If you work in feet and inches, learn to use an architect’s scale. It will save you huge amounts of time and frustration. Once you understand how one works, you don’t need to do calculations. (Please, I beg you, do *not* start a metric vs. imperial debate here.)23 November 2019 at 12:43 pm #629914
A quick observation: I’m going to use half lap dovetails with tails on the top of the cabinet. This is for a few reasons.
1. I need to be done quickly. I’ll be as accurate as I can be, but if there are gaps, they are facing the ceiling, invisible.
2. I cannot put a 7 foot board in my vise and saw DTs. By using half-lap and putting the sockets on the long pieces of the cabinet, I can saw the sockets with the work laying flat on the bench since sawing is just done across the corner.
3. I’ll use Paul’s trick of making a little rabbet on the tail board to help register it when marking out the sockets since I won’t be able to put the socket board in the vise with the tail board laying on top. I have no idea how I’d do this without Paul’s trick.
Notes to self preparing to build:
1. Cut top DT’s first. The distance between the shoulders of the rabbets defines the key dimension for the shelf width.
2. Use the shoulders on the top to lay out the widths of the three two fixed shelves, the bottom, and the kicker. Add 3/4″ to the lengths of each of those to give 3/8″ per side for the housing and tenons.
3. Plane a 1/2″ wide rabbet 3/8″ deep up the back inner face of the two sides to receive the back. The back will be ply and just screwed on.
4. Run the fixed shelves, top, and bottom all the way flush to the back. The screwed-in back will lie between them.
5. Run the fixed shelves and bottom all the way flush to the front. Stopped housings will be needed.
I think that’s all the joinery. Off to buy wood. If they don’t have straight and almost cup-free 2×10 red oak, I’ll have to do something ugly.
Oh yeah…cabinet depth is whatever the yield is from 1×10 oak, so 9.5″23 November 2019 at 4:05 pm #629932Harvey KimseyParticipant
Hello Ed, 2 quick observations:
You might have problems with wood cupping or warping unless your really lucky. Did you consider cabinet-grade plywood for the sides and back of the carcass?
What finish you choose for a bathroom location is very important, I would think.
Harvey23 November 2019 at 4:53 pm #629937
Harvey, thanks for the input. I was lucky and found almost perfectly non-cupped material. I’m not worried at all about the top because of the dovetails, which will hold things flat. I think the two housed shelves in the middle plus the housed bottom will keep the rest from cupping. I really ought to make those sliding tapered dovetails rather than simple housings, but I’ll stay with the simpler option for sake of time.
For finish, I was going to use water born finish. It’s more permeable to water vapor than oil based varnishes, so maybe I should rethink that. I might be able to start putting on coats of Waterlox while I make the doors, for example, and not really lose much time.
Also, yes, I considered cabinet grade ply…that’s the fallback if things get ugly, but in that case joinery will be pocket screws. That’s the superfast option, but I’m avoiding that for now. Meanwhile, the solid 1×10 is on the bench waiting for me to finish lunch. Unfortunately, I may only have one more hour left to work today.24 November 2019 at 12:41 am #629992Sven-Olof JanssonParticipant
Drafting dots (please see attached photo) do a very good job at holding down tracing paper (plus an underlying squared/gridded sheet). They don’t block my T-square, which is a problem for me when using masking tape. I’ve had no luck in finding them at a reasonable price in UK; while they in US are readily available over the internet, as well as at art material retailers.
Does one dare to mention that architect scales are useful also outside imperial units?
London, UK; Boston, MA26 November 2019 at 3:53 am #630733
Lots of distractions with other tasks, but the sides are prepped, rabbeted, and the tails are cut for the top. Tomorrow, I need to work on the kitchen floor, so this may be as far as I get before Thanksgiving.3 December 2019 at 12:02 am #632853
Sven-Olof, thank you for the drafting dots suggestion. Worth knowing about!
The carcase is almost ready for gluing; glue-up tomorrow. One more little mortise is needed for the kicker board, then a dry run clamping and final tweaks.
A dumb challenge is ahead: Once glued up, the top will need to be planed flush. The dovetails are on the top. So, they must either be planed with the cabinet on its side so that the planing is done vertically, or they must be planed seven feet in the air. Looks like it will need to be vertical, as in the photo.
One minor design change: The two middle shelves were ripped to be flush with the rabbet so that the back will be one continuous sheet of ply rather than two. I decided I wanted a back on the open area. Also, the bottom shelf was ripped similarly and the back will terminate by being screwed on to it. I think I’ll add a rabbet to the top to support the back at the top.
This is the first time I’ve had to cut a dovetail to hide a rabbet at the back.3 December 2019 at 7:38 am #632937Colin ScowenParticipant
SInce, as you say in an earlier post, the dovetails on the top are half blind and facing the ceiling so won’t be seen, why not just mark the tails based on the pin board, and plane the top down before you glue up. Take your time to get the tails themselves, and get the front edge tuned in well, and don’t worry about the middle and back.
That way any stray fingers that might want to check the tail fit will feel that it is really close, any eyes that may check the top of the sides to the top from the front will not be able to see any real difference, and should any 7 foot visitors ever come round for coffee, well, then you get to show off just how carefully you worked to make sure that most people wouldn’t notice (and then hand them a duster to clean the parts that you can’t reach).
Colin, Czech Rep.3 December 2019 at 6:33 pm #633074
Colin, I could do something similar. I cut tails first and marked the pins, but the tails do stand proud of the top. I could take some of that off before glue-up. There will always be some post-gluing planing, though.
I almost glued up before dealing with shelf supports. I also didn’t think about door stops. Maybe I’ll rabbet the bottom of the bottom-middle shelf and the top of the top-middle shelf. That would give a rabbet at the top of the bottom door and at the bottom of the top door to act as stops. I don’t like that because the result will look too thin for the size of the piece.4 December 2019 at 12:02 am #633145Sven-Olof JanssonParticipant
This suggestion will perhaps be too late, but would it be worth considering using a #5 or longer on the side, with the carcass also on its side (as in your photo) – a bit like a shooting board and plane arrangement.
With no wish to be a Killjoy, I wonder about the likelihood of success of planing the top with the carcass standing up. Wouldn’t the ergonomics be against you; and would the carcass be stable, even with the back in place?
(We have a bookshelf, made from an IKEA table [at least for their homeland market they produce solid wood furniture] at our croft; and that taught me why also “Primordial Billy Bookshelf” has a back: without it, there would be tilting to one side or the other).
London, UK; Boston, MA4 December 2019 at 1:54 am #633166
Actually, planing with the cabinet standing up isn’t an option…it is taller than my shop. I could get it to stand with its top between the joists, but planing would be impossible. So, it will have to be on its side. I’ve done doors this way (door between the knees and planing vertically). I’ll do something similar here, e.g., put the cabinet on its back or side up on a pair of buckets, straddle it, and have at it.
What I haven’t figured out is how I’m going to fit the door because the cabinet needs to be standing for that. I’ll probably stand the cabinet outdoors in the driveway and make a hundred trips to and from the bench. I predict a cold snap next week….4 December 2019 at 7:25 pm #633423
Here’s what the half lap dovetail looks like, modified to cover the rabbet at the back of the cabinet. Not my best dovetails, but they’ll do.4 December 2019 at 7:27 pm #633428
Final dry fit and glue up. I’m very glad I have a long bench (7′ plus a few inches).5 December 2019 at 2:25 am #633545Harvey KimseyParticipant
Great work Ed. It’s invaluable to have such a big bench for that glue up. What glue did you settle on? PVA?
Really enjoying the updates.5 December 2019 at 2:40 am #633548
I actually heated up the hide glue, but then decided I didn’t want this to be a learning experience (humidity in the bathroom). Hide glue almost certainly would have been fine, but there’s no need for reversibility anywhere in this project and there were few places for glue up troubles. Oddly, for the first time, my housings seized up and required outright beating plus a clamp to pull tight even though they dry-fitted nicely. I think I was too relaxed with moving rapidly through the glue up and things swelled a bit while I calmly whistled a happy tune.
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