Ming - ish Dynasty Wine Cabinet

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Project by WhattheChuck posted 01-25-2018 02:20 AM 3343 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ming Dynasty-styled wine cabinet. This is obviously a fantasy piece, as Chinese people didn’t drink wine out of bottles—the traditional wine/Báijiǔ container is a gourd. The main carcase is cherry, dovetailed together, with a top attached with screws from the underside. The doors are cherry frames, with book-matched sycamore panels, cut with traditional Chinese miter frame joints. The bottom standing frame is cut with Chinese 3-way joints. I did this project to learn about traditional Chinese joinery—the basics. Boy did I learn. I did get better as I went along, but, well, there was a learning curve. The finish is a tung oil finish.

Well, the main carcase of this sucker had been hanging around in my shop for about two years. Finally, filled with shame, and a desire to have a little more space, I rallied and finished it over the holiday break. The stock for the Chinese cabriole legs was 2.75” square, and that meant utter price-generated terror in cutting the joints. 3 out of the 4 came out pretty good, and one was so-so. Nothing that a little putty couldn’t fix… and boy—those joints are so strong compared to a simple Western apron joint.

Hardware really influences the piece—mine was pretty cheap, bought off of eBay. I managed to get a set that matched, but I would definitely spring for more expensive stuff and lay it out better in the future.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions if this kind of thing interests you. I think there’s a fairly steep learning curve to executing some of this stuff, but I found if you’re patient, and willing to repeat some of the joints, you can get reasonable results on your first project. I’m looking forward to practicing some of these some more, and making a couple of smaller, additional pieces.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

16 comments so far

View Jerry's profile


3508 posts in 2989 days

#1 posted 01-25-2018 02:38 AM

Absolutely stunning! A true work of art. Brilliant design and execution! Nice Dovtails too.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6520 posts in 4154 days

#2 posted 01-25-2018 03:05 AM

Great figure with the doors, and the dovetails look great. Good on you for trying some complex joinery for the frame. I’ll bet that’s satisfying to have that done.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View WhattheChuck's profile


467 posts in 4901 days

#3 posted 01-25-2018 04:05 AM

Aw shucks, guys! I always knew you were my LJ buddies!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Dark_Lightning's profile


5011 posts in 4450 days

#4 posted 01-25-2018 04:10 AM

Looks like something I’d see in Fine Woodworking magazine. Very nice!

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

669 posts in 3542 days

#5 posted 01-25-2018 08:54 AM


-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View recycle1943's profile


6258 posts in 2963 days

#6 posted 01-25-2018 01:05 PM

the outside is beautiful and the inside is, well empty

nice, nice, nice

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View WhattheChuck's profile


467 posts in 4901 days

#7 posted 01-25-2018 04:41 PM

Yes, recycle—the inside is empty. But not for long! :-)

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4207 days

#8 posted 01-25-2018 05:36 PM

This is an outstanding piece and shows a lot of wonderful details and fine craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View pottz's profile


22435 posts in 2325 days

#9 posted 01-25-2018 06:03 PM

very nice work,love those did a great job,now go pop a cork and celebrate.

-- 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 WhattheChuck's profile


467 posts in 4901 days

#10 posted 01-25-2018 06:19 PM

Thanks, Helluvawreck and Pottz—cutting those three-way miters drove me to drink!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View leafherder's profile


1991 posts in 3293 days

#11 posted 01-25-2018 07:37 PM

Very nice, the success is in the details – I love those feet.

-- Leafherder

View Andrek's profile


664 posts in 3250 days

#12 posted 01-26-2018 12:55 AM

Very beautiful work, outstanding in every aspect, bravo, thanks for sharing.

-- andrek

View AJ1104's profile


1453 posts in 3000 days

#13 posted 01-26-2018 02:45 AM

Really nice build. Great job!

-- AJ

View Ivan's profile


17144 posts in 4208 days

#14 posted 01-26-2018 07:30 PM

So beautiful design. I like metal parts also.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View WhattheChuck's profile


467 posts in 4901 days

#15 posted 01-27-2018 05:15 AM

Thanks for all the nice words, everyone. Leaf herder—if you want to make those feet yourself, I’d recommend making the ‘hoof’ part of the horse’s hoof bigger. That’s a design feature I’d change.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

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