The first thing I decided was that I wanted a cabinet and not a shelf or a shelving unit. I am a wee bit nutso on keeping dust off of things so I prefer covered storage if possible. And a cabinet with a door I can close fits that bill. I also wanted one that I could hang on the wall and stow all my finishing supplies in it. This cabinet project started with me wanting to find someplace to stow my shellac brushes in some kind of covered space and still have them accessible. Not that I need an excuse to make something but this time I identified a need for it.
Before the cabinet was made I had a bazillion cans of finish and other ancillary finishing crap scattered over this corner of the shop. A real eye sore and a PITA at times trying to find something. This was the second driving force for the cabinet. Making it would free up a lot of horizontal storage real estate that I can fill up with other shop crappola. Of which I seem to be able to generate an over abundance of.
|was cleared off and now slowly filling back up|
The next step was locating a spot for it in my phone booth sized shop. I wanted it reasonably close to the bench so I wouldn't have to pack a lunch to go to it. This was the hardest thing to do. I don't have a lot of vacant wall space but by removing an existing shelf, I got a hole to stick it in. Once the hole was established I measured it to get a rough idea of how big I could make it. With a rough idea of how large of a cabinet I could make, I turned my limited attention span to what I wanted to put in it.
That entailed putting on the workbench all the cans, brushes, jars, boxes, etc that I wanted to put in the cabinet. Moving things around, spreading them out, and stacking them on each other gave me a visual for how tall, wide, and deep to make the cabinet. I played with this until the measurements I got were to my liking and fit the stuff I wanted in the cabinet.
This cabinet is just a big box. If you can make a small box then making this shouldn't be a problem. You can dovetail the corners, use butt joints with nails or screws, rabbet joints, finger joints, through mortise and tenons, or in my case, a rabbeted tongue joint. I have made a lot of cabinets with this joint and this time I made them by hand.
|scraped off a blob of paint and I can't seem to remember to paint it again - this is want I call a rabbeted tongue joint|
The interior space is based on what is going in it. I wanted some drawers in mine and in the end I made 2. One small one and a large one about twice the size of the smaller one. I like the asymmetrical look of this. My original drawer count was 5, pared down to 3, and finally the two.
I am not a fan of adjustable shelving because I don't like the multiple holes that you see. Shelf standards aren't much better. With either one, you don't get that invisible look as to how is the shelf holding itself up? But fixed shelving would have locked me into something I wouldn't be able to change down the road. I put in two adjustable shelves with the necessary pin holes that will allow me put a shelf within 6" of the top and 8" of the bottom. One shelf is not as wide as the other to allow easier eyeballing of what is beneath it. I don't want anything to die in some dark corner of the bottom shelf because I couldn't see it.
|my offset shelves|
Now that I knew what size to make the cabinet it was time to do the joinery. I had already decided on a rabbeted tongue joint. But it doesn't matter and don't let the size of it intimidate you. It is just a big box. Again, if you can make a small one, you can make a big one.
If you are having problems visualizing what 21" W x 28" T x 11 1/2" D looks like hanging on the wall, make one out cardboard boxes. Duct tape pieces together until you get the size and tape it to the wall where you want to put it. Look for anything that may be in way of the door swing? Don't forget to look above for catch points. Look too to see how you have the cabinet positioned in relation to the overhead and what is beneath it.
In my case I had a floor cabinet there and my first placement left only 5" between the two. I wanted at least at foot so I had to raise the cabinet up. With raising the cabinet up, I lost the space on top of it to put my radio on. My cabinet ended up within a couple of inches of the floor joists. I had to make another shelf to hold the radio but that wasn't too bad of an issue to deal with.
Carcass figured out and now it was time to work on the door. I decided on a two panel, frame and panel door. You can put the panels in horizontally but on a door like this I think that would look funny. And I'm not a fan of ladder style doors neither. I used two vertical panels with a center stile.
Due to the width of the door I nixed using a single panel, be it a single board or a glued up one. From an aesthetic point (mine) I thought a single panel would look awkward and out of place. Then there is the strength issue. Would the frame be able to hold the panel flat over time and not distort.
I make my stiles, top rail, and center stiles, all the same size. The bottom rail I make at least a 1/2" wider the others. This is something that is open to a lot interpretation based on personal tastes. I make the stile width over twice the length of the tenon going into it as a minimum. I usually make blind mortises and I don't use stub tenons. I think that they are too small and aren't anywhere near as strong as the former.
On my door I used 1x4 stock so I based my stiles and rails off of that. The door is a fairly large one so the scale of stiles fit the scale of the door. I used through tenons on the rails and the center stile. I used through tenons because I chopped them by hand because I thought those would be easier to do than a blind mortise (my first chopping of mortises by hand). I used through tenons on the center stile for strength and to help keep the door frame flat.
I made my door a 1/4" wider than the width and 1 1/4" longer than the top to bottom length. The width was planed off flush after the door was hung. I left the overhang on the bottom because that is my 'handle'. I didn't use a knob or handle on the front of this door. If I hadn't done this, then I would have made the door over sized the same as the width. That would have allowed wiggle room for fitting the door to the actual opening.
|my door 'handle'|
The width of the stile and riles vary with me according to the size of the opening the door will cover. I do it strictly by eye. I don't use any Fibonacci ratios or Pythagorean formulas. If it looks good and I mean not too skinny nor too fat (wide), I'm good. There are lot of design books available on line and most are based on ancient design forms. They have lots of rules and regulations on stiles and rails and the sizing of most other things. I say that is nice but if it looks good to you, go with it. Why should someone else tell me what I think looks good?
The last decision I made on the door were the panels. There are a lot of different choices that can be made here. First one I thought of was a flat panel of solid wood sized to fit the grooves. Another choice is a 3/4" thick solid wood panel with a rabbet that fits the groove (plywood would also work too). The rabbet could face in or out depending upon your preference. Of the two, I think the rabbeted panel is a better choice. It is thicker and stronger than a 1/4" thick panel.
A raised panel is a traditional choice and it was what I used. I have a molding plane to make raised panels and that is what I used. There are a lot of hand or machine made panel making options to pick and choose from. One panel choice at the top of my to do list is a oval or circular panel in place of flat bevels. I like this one much more than the beveled panels and I have made them in the past with a horizontal router table with a special panel raising bit. And the circular ones can be made to fit the grooves exactly with out having to rabbet the back.
With all the decisions made on what and how, I went to the shop and made it. Although making it was spread out over a week or two, I don't think the total time to make it was much more than 14-16 hours.
Who was the first president to have the oath of office administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
answer - our second president, John Adams