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Oak Sideboard

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Project by splintergroup posted 03-10-2021 06:21 PM 1091 views 6 times favorited 66 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project was begun several years ago and then left to fester. I resurrected it last summer and completed it before fall, but couldn’t bring it into the house until now because of The Cat.

The spousal unit wanted a sideboard for the dining room and was ready to press the button on a Wayfare brand MDF shrine with the vinyl woodgrain finish (gak!).

She also knows how to press my buttons so of course I had to quickly commit to building a “better” sideboard.

I started to design my own but was feeling less than motivated and started looking through web images and magazine back issues. I liked the lines of a sideboard by Gregory Paolini described in FWW, May 2015. The article was fairly brief, but the exploded diagram had all the dimensions I needed to make it work.

The Paolini sideboard from FWW May, 2015:

Notice the changes where I added some styles to the backstop and caps on the rear legs.

There were several things I wanted to change and FWW was having a sale on plans so I went ahead and bought them for this project.

Normally I don’ t work from plans (my own or others 8^), but what the heck. The digital downloaded FWW plans were basically detailed measured drawings, cut list, and a Sketchup model. No “instructions” which I didn’t want since the magazine article describes the process. The plan helped as a check list for things, but in a pinch the magazine article would have been sufficient. I don’t yet have the patience to learn Sketchup so the included SU file was not used.

The Details

Built from quarter and rift sawn white oak, simple finish of natural Watco danish oil and satin Mohawk pre-cat lacquer. The drawer boxes are solid maple. Door and side panels are QSWO veneered plywood.

Dimensions:
Body is 51” wide x 18” deep”
Height to table top is 40”

The build is mostly frame/panel with some nice features to make assembly easier (or harder 8^)

Dive in head first and then hit some road blocks

I build a number of the sub assemblies with the intention of pre-finishing since it would be a royal pain to do this all after assembly. The article had the unit fully assembled before finishing and left out any finishing details.
The way the project is assembled required a lot of masking so I could pre-finish and leave areas unfinished for good glue bond. This was complex so I just left it for a while and “pondered” it. This ended up going on for a year as I moved on to other things 8^)

The sideboard was “rediscovered” during my semi-decadal cleaning (sweep the floor and put tools away) so I got back to it.

Design Changes
The legs are made with 1/8” thick veneers applied to a core of stacked layers. This allows for the legs to have great grain on all faces without any outward signs of how it was done. I have used this method on several of my past project tables with great success.

From and earlier table:

Oddly, the Paolini sideboard leaves these unsightly leg cores exposed at the top of the rear legs.
Simple enough to hide with some caps:

He also used single panels in the sides. I didn’t have any veneer that wide and I didn’t want to mess with seams so I split the panels.

I also went with a more Greene & Greene style in the top with raised breadboard ends (versus flush) and the obligatory ebony plugs and splines.

The backstop is redesigned to use shorter panels for better stability.

For the door catches, I was at a loss as to what would work and what would be in the way. I finally opted for using magnets embedded in the door and a stop block in the carcass.
I also added a few holes for adjustable shelves (still to be made).

You can see the 1/4” thick oak board at the bottom is set in place to expand to the side. The original design specified to just drop it in without any attachment (inviting warping). There was also the problem that the plans had this board expanding front to back. Since it also serves (per the plans) as the only door stop, the expansion/contraction would seasonally mess up keeping the door flush when closed.

The drawers have solid maple boxes with HB dovetail faces (Leigh D4)

The hardware is from House of Antique Hardware (Mackintosh).

The rear panels are solid (1/4”) ship lapped boards. Unfortunately the plans sized them without any consideration for expansion and I glued up the center section before realizing this 8^( Hopefully it will not explode!
The end sections have enough room since I cut the leg mortises a bit deeper.

The plan has some mix ups (errors) in what they list as rails and styles. The biggest error is where diagram and cut list have the lower shelf 1” shorter that is required. I wasted a 4’+ piece of nice oak because of this and had to use a less attractive piece with the made up 1”. I notified FWW about these errors but I doubt they will change anything.

It’s these small details that can make or break a project, fortunately I figured out all but one and the humid season will tell me if that was a killer mistake.

The Cat

Can’t forget to explain this.
We are holding onto the kids cat while he gets settled, This cat likes to get on top of counters and hork up hair balls and this sideboard would certainly turn into a favorite horkorium. I can’t find any info on how pre-cat lacquer and cat vomit interact so better safe than sorry.

Well, the kid finally took back his cat so I have the all clear to bring this sideboard into the house.

Enough rambling, questions and comments always welcome!





66 comments so far

View LesB's profile

LesB

2957 posts in 4502 days


#1 posted 03-10-2021 06:32 PM

Very nice cabinet. Lots of nice detailing.

I’m sure you wife found it worth the wait but you could have put a temporary protective cover on the top to either deter or prevent damage from the cat. A sheet of glass would have done it.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

5190 posts in 3047 days


#2 posted 03-10-2021 06:43 PM

Excellent design, build and finish.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5012 posts in 2281 days


#3 posted 03-10-2021 06:43 PM



Very nice cabinet. Lots of nice detailing. I m sure you wife found it worth the wait but you could have put a temporary protective cover on the top to either deter or prevent damage from the cat. A sheet of glass would have done it.

- LesB

Thanks Les, but this cat has a unique ability to find any chink in the protective armor. A tarp might have worked, but his “brother” loves to shread items like that.

Sorry if I offend anyone, but dogs rule and cats drool!

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5012 posts in 2281 days


#4 posted 03-10-2021 06:45 PM

Thanks RedOak, I love these bigger projects!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26095 posts in 4164 days


#5 posted 03-10-2021 07:21 PM

Very nice, Bruce. That is top shelf and way out of the league of Ikea pressed wood stuff.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View 987Ron's profile

987Ron

850 posts in 375 days


#6 posted 03-10-2021 07:25 PM

Always like quarter sawn white oak. Yours is very well done. The hardware helps “make” the sideboard.
Very nice work. Agree on dog vs cats.

-- Ron

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

3298 posts in 3008 days


#7 posted 03-10-2021 07:34 PM

This is a wow for me! I love the details. Nicely done!

-- Petey

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5012 posts in 2281 days


#8 posted 03-10-2021 07:37 PM



Very nice, Bruce. That is top shelf and way out of the league of Ikea pressed wood stuff.

Cheers, Jim

- Jim Jakosh

Thanks Jim. Very few mail order places, if any, sell non-MDF stuff these days.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5012 posts in 2281 days


#9 posted 03-10-2021 07:39 PM



Always like quarter sawn white oak. Yours is very well done. The hardware helps “make” the sideboard.
Very nice work. Agree on dog vs cats.

- 987Ron

QSWO is also one of my favorites Ron, although I’m kinda wishing I had put more into the finishing to better accentuate the flecking.

As for the dog v. cat comment, I’d expect nothing less from someone with a dog avatar 8^)

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5012 posts in 2281 days


#10 posted 03-10-2021 07:40 PM

I really appreciate the kind words Petey!

View mtnwild's profile

mtnwild

3975 posts in 4586 days


#11 posted 03-10-2021 08:40 PM

Can’t read all that….

Will just say “Beautiful piece!”

Real skills there. That’s sharp as a knife. Lines so straight… Awesome…

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View tbone's profile

tbone

325 posts in 4743 days


#12 posted 03-10-2021 08:51 PM

I love everything about it. Pat yourself on the back.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View jkm312's profile

jkm312

87 posts in 462 days


#13 posted 03-10-2021 08:52 PM

There is always more than one way to get from the start to the finish of a project. To me it’s fun to follow your own path like you have done here. The changes really do make it your own. The sideboard by itself is impressive, but up against the brick wall, it all just pops. Graceful, balanced and functional. Well done Sir!

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

2758 posts in 606 days


#14 posted 03-10-2021 09:03 PM

+10 for invention of a new word – Horkorium!

+10 for those drawer fronts! Wow.

+10 for overall gorgeousitiness!

+10 for the immaculate HB dovetails.

I like your top-back-rail thingy better.

-1 I saw an imperfection.

I agree with the Sketchup comment, cant be bothered.

-- WWBBJ: It is better to be interesting and wrong, than boring and right.

View pottz's profile

pottz

16318 posts in 2043 days


#15 posted 03-10-2021 09:14 PM

holy moley splint that is craftsmanship to a high level my friend.just beautiful work,nice dovetails and the plugs and splines are spot on.one thing that really shows high quality is the alignment of drawars and doors and yours are on the mark.love the g&g elements,how do you do your splines,when i did my hall table i used the jig made by ng woodworking,made it real easy.cant say enough this is just a beautiful sideboard,way better than the pos your wife threatened you with-lol. oh i agree about dogs rule!

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

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