Summer Joinery Entry Shaker Cabinet #2: Continuing with the construction

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Blog entry by Karson posted 07-28-2007 04:59 AM 7677 reads 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: How I got started Part 2 of Summer Joinery Entry Shaker Cabinet series Part 3: The quest continues, Were getting close now. »

One thing nice about not being allowed to use glue, No glue clean up and you can pre-finish all of the parts before assembly. On my finishing blog I wrote about using Pumice and Rottenstone as a wood filler, I thought I’d try something different on this cabinet.

I used my private blend Danish Oil (1/3 Boiled Linseed Oil BLO, 1/3 varnish, and 1/3 Mineral Spirits). I squirted it on the boards and used a 120 grit Random Orbital Sander (ROS) to sand the oil and sanding dust. In doing that I wanted to fill all of the pores of the wood. There were also some fine cracks that needed to be filled.

After doing all of the boards I waited overnight for the Danish Oil/Sanding dust to harden.

The chocolate curls you see in the picture was not shaved chocolate for cakes, but was Danish Oil and Walnut sanding dust that I used a putty knife to scrape off the surface.

After wiping down the surface by doing a cross grain wipe to keep the filler from being pulled out. I ended up with the pre-finished board. This is the top surface, which no one will ever see, but, I’ll know it’s there.

This is the bottom.

I’m now letting the finish dry for a couple of days to harden up the Danish Oil while I continue on other parts of the cabinet.

So it now on to a new problem. The hinges for the cabinet door. Why is that a problem you ask, because You can’t use any glue, screws, nail or other fasteners to attach hinges to the door and cabinet. What to do.

I’m going to do what Don (of I really like small boxes, Don) does and make some wooden hinges. This is not what the Shakers did, but maybe if they had the Incra Hinge Crafter and a router table they might have done that. So I ordered it, and the required router bits.

Once I got it, I used my handy Pencil Cad to draw the hinge as it would appear on the board. I needed to figure out how big a board I’d need.

I determined that I’d need a 7 1/8” wide board after it was trimmed to remove any router chip-out. So I went looking for a board.

I cut it on my sliding table and got that required 90 deg edge.

I cut them to the required 6” in length.

Why so many boards for 2 hinges you may ask. Well because of my special requirements, trial runs, exacting measurements, and desire to make an extra spare pair to keep from having to make them again. I planned on 4 hinges plus other stuff. You may have also asked what my special requirements are. The special requirements are not going to allow me to use any glue or screws and I didn’t believe that pins would hold the hinges in place. So I’m going to make the hinges to have a sliding dovetail that will slide into the stile of the cabinet case and the stile of the door. That will support the weight of the door. I will them place a couple of pins through the hinge and the stile which will keep the hinge from sliding out of the sliding dovetail slot. Locked forever. The hinge jig required a hinge to be 5 knuckles X 5/8” each or 3 1/8” long. My testing on 5/16” thick wood determined the required width for the sliding portion of the dovetail to be 3/32” on each side. So my rough calculations are to cut the hinge at 3 3/8” length 1/8” long on each side of the required 3 1/8 length, and then cut the slide portion of the base on that extra 1/8”.

I got my Bull Nose router Bits 5/8” size and first cut the ends of each board.

I then turned it on edge and continued around for 270 deg.

Then I expanded the flat spots for the hinge leaves with a Dado Router Bit.

I next trimmed the edges to remove any chipout caused by the router bit cutting cross grain.

Now back to the router table with a 5/8” straight bit to cut the knuckles of the hinges.

Then to the Hinge Crafter Jig to drill for the hinge pin using the supplied #30 drill bit.

Well I screwed up big time. What happened was as I was cutting to knuckles of the hinges my hand was sliding the scale down the jig so what I got was this.

Some of the knuckles were wide and some were narrow. So I was not going to get all the hinges that I thought I needed. So time to make some more stock. This was the scrap left over after the other hinges were cut apart. So it’s already the correct thickness so router it.

Now I started to make some jigs to make the sliding dovetails for the hinges. First to make the cuts into the stiles of the door and the cabinets.

It’s easier to get the hinges the correct size, than it is to cut the stiles for the correct size. Just get it square and approx the correct width. The door stile cut and cutting the cabinet stile.

Now to cut the dovetail on the outer edge of the hinge. I glued up a couple of hinge pieces that had chipout etc. on a jig board and I let them dry.

Now a practice cut. I used the dovetail bit to cut in to the board for the depth that I wanted. The two flat sides of the jig will always keep it flat and straight.

I next made a double sided jig that allowed me to cut the sliding dovetails on the sides of the hinge. Again I used some of my extra hinge parts and glued them on the jig. They face one another so that the jig is a little smaller.

Time to fit them into the stiles on the door.

And now on the stiles of the cabinet. I was dumb. I didn’t leave any extra room on the stiles in case the hinges were not perfect. I was blessed, because they fit. And the ends aligned.

The jig that you buy is made to use 1/8” brass rods as the hinge pins. You can also use 1/8” welding rod. But for the joinery contest I couldn’t use metal. So it was now time to make a wooden hinge pin. I was concerned about having something as small as 1/8”. So I decided to try to make them bigger. I took a piece of metal and drilled a series of holes from ¼” to 1/8” by 1/64 of an inch. I then chucked up a piece of African Blackwood square around 11/64” square and started to run it into the holes. When you drill a hole in metal you quite often leave a burr on the out side of the metal I wanted to keep that and use it as a knife edge to trim the wood.

I used a fence on the drill press to hold the hinge blanks to increase the size of the holes to the appropriate size.

Not only is Blackwood hard but it also has a natural oil in the wood, to keep my hinges lubricated.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

6 comments so far

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4595 days

#1 posted 07-28-2007 05:43 AM

You are the man Karson! Very slick… this is going to be beautiful.

-- Bob

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4910 days

#2 posted 07-28-2007 06:31 AM

Thanks Bob.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4686 days

#3 posted 07-28-2007 07:05 AM

Karson, this is a very interesting blog.

Frankly, I’m surprised you got away with enlarging the holes without break-out. I’ve tried that repeatedly without success. I found that it was necessary for me to have both halves of the hinge in interlocked in place so that one hinge knuckle would support the other. I’d be interested to learn what your experience was here. I would much rather use wood axles in my boxes than brass.

Thanks for sharing this photo journal with us.

Best wishes.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4506 days

#4 posted 07-28-2007 09:24 AM

This post is so rich – I have to take this slowly to digest it all…just amazing work you’re doing. Are you just catching us up at this point? Is this case done? Oh! Just had to go to part 3, I see!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4910 days

#5 posted 07-28-2007 03:04 PM

Don. I didn’t have any problems. I’m glad that you didn’t tell me that earlier or I would have been concerned. As it was , I just drilled the hole. I used Cobolt drill bits that are quite sharp, and the speed wasn’t overly fast on the drill press.

I drilled both sets and it went as I had hoped.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4158 days

#6 posted 12-25-2010 08:10 PM

Thanks for the post Karson, that walnut looks great. I’ll have to try the wet course ROS sanding method next time as the pore filler with shellac – I suspect it would be softer and easier to scrap off than hardened poly.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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