Walnut China Hutch

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Project by JBrow posted 06-24-2016 03:01 AM 1659 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The project began in December 2015 by developing the design for a china hutch for the wife’s approval. That’s when I learned that the entire upper china display case would be glass with a mirror in the back. And what china display case would be complete without LED strip lighting? Of course she needed a staging area where dishes (or should I say fine china) is staged as she painstakingly arranges the stuff just right in the case. Since she does not like metal pulls and knobs adorning the doors and drawers, I was left to figure out how to get the doors and drawers open. She confirmed what I already figured out from earlier projects; there have to be some curves. Armed with her requirements, I completed shop drawings using TurboCad Pro.

The Base Cabinet. In January 2016, the base cabinet, measuring 62” long x 26” deep and 30” tall, from 4/4 walnut was begun. The carcase was made from red oak plywood. The back, sides and the walnut face frame were assembled with rabbets that slipped into 3/8” wide and deep dados. The face frame was joined with mortise and tenon joinery. The end panels, the doors, and the lower two drawer fronts are frame and panel construction. The top drawer front is solid walnut. The end panels were attached to the back and face frame with the rabbet and dado joinery used when assembling the plywood carcase. The adjustable shelf in the bays at each end of the base cabinet as well as the drawer boxes centered in the cabinet were all built from solid red oak. The drawer boxes are just shy of ¾” thick with a ¼” thick piece of red oak plywood acting as the drawer bottom.

Drawers were mounted using soft close Knape & Vogt under mount MuV 34 drawer glides and Blum 38N soft close compact hinges support the doors. EZ Level cabinet levelers were used and made getting the base cabinet level a breeze. A 3/8” radius cove about 6” to 8” long was routed on the back lips of the doors and drawer fronts so these could be opened. Her walnut staging shelf was mounted in the center of the top and slides in and out on shop made glides and some UHMW slick tape.

I applied 3 coats of gloss Helmsman Spar varnish, sanding with 220 grit after the first coat had dried. It was installed just off the kitchen near the living room. It was March.

The biggest problem encountered came when the router collet malfunctioned. The outside corners where the end panels meet the face frame were being routed with a long relatively shallow chamfer ending with a lambs tongue. I noticed the 45 degree chambering router bit was slipping out of the router. I replaced the router collet and ended with a chamfer much deeper than planned, but at least I did not have to start over.

The Upper Display Case. We luckily had a pair of large ¼” thick mirrors available for the project. After having the mirrors cut to size and receiving 6 sheets of ¼” thick tempered door and end panel glass and three sheets of 3/8” thick tempered shelf glass, the build of the upper display case began. The upper display case is about 57” long x 20” deep x 51” tall. It is constructed from ¾” red oak and walnut plywood and 4/4 walnut lumber.

The back was red oak plywood since it would be covered with mirrors. The end frames were cope and stick frames. A pair of doors were also made with cope and stick joinery. The doors featured a center stile. The top rails of the doors and end frames were arched using templates and a flush trim bit. The face frame, with a single center stile, was assembled with mortise and tenon joinery. The same rabbet and dado joinery was used to assembly the back, end frames, face frame and walnut plywood top and bottom. Long chamfers ending in lambs tongues were milled into the corners of the face frame, not as deep as on the base cabinet and without a router mishap.

The end frames and doors were rabbeted to receive the glass panels. Walnut was resawn to various thicknesses to act a glass stays held in place with painted pan head screws. Walnut frames were applied to the red oak back to receive the mirrors and mirror stays. A few holes were drilled in the back mirror frame and face frame to receive adjustable glass shelf clips. Cove hand pulls were routed on the lower door rails.

The upper display case was finished with Helmsman Spar Varnish like the base cabinet. Four Blum soft close 38N compact hinges were used to hang each doors. The upper display case was set atop the base cabinet and screwed to the wall with 12 3” long cabinet screws. Walnut 1-1/2” trim was applied to 2” wide trim as a capital to the display case. 1-1/2” matching walnut base trim was also applied to the upper cabinet. The trim was ½”thick flat stock with a 3/8” cove. LED strip light was installed on the top front edge of the cabinet and a dimmer wall switch installed. After a half day of hand screwing a million screws to hold the mirrors and glass in the place, the project was done in June 2016.

Now it is on to the kitchen cold wall cabinets.

7 comments so far

View Jose's profile


34 posts in 1799 days

#1 posted 06-24-2016 03:05 AM

Pretty impressive!

View BurlyBob's profile


8859 posts in 3349 days

#2 posted 06-24-2016 03:38 AM

That is really awesome.

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3427 days

#3 posted 06-24-2016 01:31 PM

looks great

View atilla's profile


8 posts in 1677 days

#4 posted 10-23-2016 09:02 PM

JBrow, that is an amazing piece.

View Dave Smith's profile

Dave Smith

94 posts in 1548 days

#5 posted 02-20-2017 01:20 AM

Nice work. Really shows off the China.

-- Dave Smith - If our phones fall, we panic. If our friends fall, we laugh.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3951 days

#6 posted 02-20-2017 05:29 PM

It’s a nice looking hutch. Congratulations

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Bobsboxes's profile


1667 posts in 3748 days

#7 posted 02-20-2017 05:37 PM

Great build, very nice looking hutch.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

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