Bowfront Cabinet

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Project by Reddial posted 11-24-2016 07:04 PM 2049 views 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first attempt at a bow front cabinet. All bent components were done using the bent lamination technique. My previous experience with this technique was for the rockers on two Maloof inspired chairs over the past two years. This piece is constructed of solid walnut except for the BB drawer boxes. It is of my own design.

I decided it best to build the bent drawer fronts and doors first, as I could not predict accurately, the ‘spring back’ from the bending. Two forms were made. One for the drawer fronts and door rails, the other for the door panels. Both with the same radius.

The tall standing form was used with clamps for the drawer fronts. That form was disassembled to be shorter for the door rails. All used six 1/8” thick walnut.

The flat form was used for bending the door panels in a vacuum bag. It used only two 1/8” Walnut panels to produce the desired 1/4” floating panels. The door stiles were not bent at all.

All mortise and tenon joinery is facilitated with Festool dominos. This was a first for me also. I am now a big fan of domino joinery.

The back is mostly floating ship lapped 1/2” walnut. The ends of the back are 3/4” as is the entire cabinet.

The quarter circle end shelves are double strength black glass.

This project proved to be a lot bigger challenge than expected. Lots of angles. Assembling the bent lamination first was essential. I think it was much easier to adjust the other dimensions than trying to bend precisely.

Disassembled to do final 220 sanding and 4 coats of General Arm R Seal wipe on poly. A first here too. I had always used satin, this time gloss. This gloss finish did not react to the same application technique I’ve used on all of my furniture. I discovered that I could not produce a gloss if I did not leave more material on the wood during wiping. I was able to produce a pretty good gloss, but the overall surface was too rough and I removed it and started over. The result was an extremely smooth finish, but very little gloss. Lesson learned!!

-- Darrel..."The biggest threat to 'good' is 'better'.

13 comments so far

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1154 posts in 4188 days

#1 posted 11-24-2016 11:08 PM

Very impressive work, Darrel!

-- Paul Mayer,

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12837 posts in 4280 days

#2 posted 11-25-2016 02:42 AM

nice looking cabinet – love the way the wood grain pops out at you, great work!

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View DonB's profile


589 posts in 3815 days

#3 posted 11-25-2016 12:39 PM

I for one, suggest you make the same “mistake” on the finish on your next few projects. I think it really looks beautiful. It does have a gloss, but a soft one. Thanks for sharing. And I agree, making the difficult pieces first and having the “others” fit to them is a good plan where it can be employed. The black glass is a nice touch. Well done.

-- DonB

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3990 days

#4 posted 11-25-2016 03:40 PM

Wow! This is a real beauty and so nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3531 days

#5 posted 11-25-2016 06:35 PM

Excellent work and design. Beautiful soft gloss finish to it too.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Jeremymcon's profile


420 posts in 1803 days

#6 posted 11-25-2016 06:51 PM


View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4270 days

#7 posted 11-26-2016 12:27 AM

Beautiful bow-front cabinet! I really like the look of the walnut, and the finish came out superbly, if unintentionally!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View BurlyBob's profile


9010 posts in 3388 days

#8 posted 11-26-2016 04:35 AM

That is just stunning. You found some awesome grained Black Walnut. What a wonderful piece.

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3466 days

#9 posted 11-26-2016 03:22 PM

beautiful piece

View pottz's profile


17656 posts in 2107 days

#10 posted 11-26-2016 10:15 PM

as far as a first darrel id say you hit it outta the the glass shelves,just a good design,gotta do a bow front myself,great work.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 4974 days

#11 posted 11-27-2016 12:26 AM

Excellent job Reddial. Great finish.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View bushmaster's profile


4127 posts in 3405 days

#12 posted 11-27-2016 01:28 AM

A real work of a true craftsmanship. Top honors.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View jgt1942's profile


296 posts in 3011 days

#13 posted 11-29-2016 09:32 PM


-- JohnT

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