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Blog series by Tom updated 05-11-2021 03:17 PM 9 parts 3982 reads 29 comments total

Part 1: Dovetails!

03-03-2021 07:25 PM by Tom | 2 comments »

I am finally starting a new project. Lately, I have been doing more home maintenance, painting walls which is kind of boring. I want a cabinet to store various office supplies and that matches the style of my existing office furniture. This will be a cabinet that sits on the floor and stands about 36 inches high and 32 inches wide. I plan to have two doors on the front with adjustable shelves. The case will be dovetailed and it will be fitted with a top piece to set books or knick knac...

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Part 2: Pin Time

03-05-2021 03:41 PM by Tom | 0 comments »

This part can be stressful. You really need to be warmed up and ready to saw accurately. Try taking some practice cuts. Sharpen up your tools. Avoid distractions and stay focused to avoid miscues. It is really somewhat exhausting, but try to stay calm and relaxed to avoid tightening down on your tool grip. Work to carefully laid out knife and pencil marks. Use a sharp pencil too. I mark the pins from the tail boards that have been numbered. The numbers for each corner are marked on...

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Part 3: M&T Frame for the Back: Mostly Pictures

03-08-2021 08:49 PM by Tom | 0 comments »

I will keep this pretty short. The back of my office cabinet will be a panel and frame. The frame is joined with mortise and tenons. The main thing is to use square and true stock so that you end up with a square frame without twist. I spent quite a bit of time getting my boards square on the ends. Then I cut a 5/16” groove with a plow plane and carefully mortised inside the groove with a 5/16” chisel. It is a blind mortise so it is only worked from one side to 1-1/2”...

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Part 4: T&G Back Panel

03-09-2021 08:21 PM by Tom | 0 comments »

The back panel can just be plywood set in the frame, but I preferred to use wood boards for this project. Since this is secondary wood that will be minimally seen and I am planning to stain the cabinet a darker color, I am using white pine boards from the home center. I did a lousy job picking out boards. These were pretty rugged looking and cupped. I planed the faces to try and clean them up a bit, but I’m not sure it helped all that much. I decided to tongue and groove the board...

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Part 5: Stanley 45: I Tried Something

03-20-2021 01:39 PM by Tom | 7 comments »

I decided to use the Stanley 45 on a lot of the joinery for this project. It works well for cutting grooves and I enjoy using it. It also makes nice T&G match boards, but it does take some time to switch out the set up for tonguing and grooving. It also takes some time to align the cuts, so I usually cut all the grooves and then all the tongues. I also use it for rabbeting, but mostly on narrow cuts up to about 1/2”. Wider cuts usually don’t turn out as well because the...

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Part 6: Tapered Sliding Dovetail: Resistance is Futile

03-28-2021 05:47 PM by Tom | 1 comment »

This is one of my slower projects because I have some home improvement going on for the next couple months. It gives me time to consider my next steps in the design and construction of the cabinet. I originally planned (in my mind) to have two adjustable shelves in the cabinet. But in between steps in the project, I began to think it would be fun to permanently set one of the shelves using a tapered sliding dovetail joint. I have only rarely tried this joint with reasonable results in the...

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Part 7: Face Frame: The fix is in...

04-13-2021 03:18 PM by Tom | 4 comments »

I finally made the face frame this past weekend. It went very well and quite similar to the back panel frame, except without the groove. The main challenge for me was the layout. I don’t often work to exact dimensions or drawings when I build a project. My case is about 36” tall and 32” wide, but that is not exact, mostly because my initial dimensioning is focused more on getting square and true stock than it is on working to exact dimensions from a drawing. Once the ...

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Part 8: Some Assembly Required - Slow progress

04-19-2021 06:33 PM by Tom | 5 comments »

Not much time this past weekend. The weather is getting nice in NJ. But I was able to assemble the pieces for the cabinet case. Decided to sand the inside of the case before assembly. I don’t use a lot of power tools, but a palm sander is a really good one for me. I did a little bit of cleanup with the plane on the edges to make sure everything was level and square and clean before glueing up. I also removed the stupid stickers from the home center (gosh, I hate those things). A...

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Part 9: Doors and Design

05-11-2021 03:17 PM by Tom | 10 comments »

I have entered a sensitive period in my cabinet build. This is the first time that I am making inset doors with hand tools. My previous door builds were very basic, overlay style doors with flat plywood panels. Those were rather forgiving. The inset doors will need to be carefully dimensioned and they will need to be flat, square and true. So I am working through the process with selecting the stock, sizing the doors, trying the joinery and deciding on the panel design. I go t...

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