Small Wall Cabinet

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Project by unisaw2 posted 02-17-2012 05:41 PM 6477 views 7 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Cabinet is 14 ½” wide x 24” tall x 5” deep
Wood is mostly Cherry with a walnut back. This is from rough wood left over from other projects . Work was done with a combination of machine and hand tools. I built this cabinet to learn some new woodworking skills.

I wish I could say that I designed this cabinet, but it is a Garrett Hack design. (Fine Woodworking vol.201 Feb 2010). I actually ordered the plan from FWW for $12.95. Plan comes as nice PDF & sketchup files. I don’t normally order plans, but I am learning sketch up, and I am glad I did. The sketchup plan is fun, but the pdf is very complete and easier to build from. I took a woodworking class with Garrett many years ago and learned a lot in the week I was with him.

So the project breaks down into the Good, Bad and the Ugly.

The Good:
I learned several new skills including: a shop made scratch stock for the cornice and back; making and cutting banding; turning really small knobs, and learning the sketchup software.
The door panel was resawn on the bandsaw and bookmatched. The execution was great, the wood grain could be more interesting.
Finish is 2 coats of bullseye sealcoat shellac, tung oil and wax. I am really pleased with how this finish turns out on Cherry. No blotching, and not shiny.

The Bad:
I got a little carried away with planing the raised door panel. It ended up too skinny for the groove it is supposed to fit into. (so it is hot melt glued from the inside to tighten it up)
The machine marks and pencil lines show up during finishing. Going to have to spend more time sanding.
Still to many gaps, and pieces that don’t fit perfectly.
Not square front to back, not sure how this happened, found out after glue was set.
Small (9/16” diameter) wenge knob disintegrated in the lathe. Grain was orientated the wrong way.
Shellac and tung oil finish is beautiful, but not a real durable finish.
Probably have 20 hours in this project, over 2 weeks. (need to be faster)

The Ugly:
Morticed the hinges on the wrong side, so the door is upside down (how the &^#$ did that happen?)
I used some light and dark Cherry Wood, the light pieces really stick out, and are very UGLY.

Overall, it is a usable piece for a medicine cabinet, I am still learning.

More photos of construction below:
1. Sled for banding. These pieces are crosscut to ¼” then they are ripped into 3 pieces about 3/16” each on the bandsaw. They are then block planed to exactly 1/8” thick.

2. Shop made Scratch stock. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. Finding a small 1/8” diameter file and sharpening the blade were the biggest challenge.

3. Cornice clamped for Shop made Scratch stock.

4. Back panel alignment with shop made 1/8” thickness gauge. I make and use these gauges for equipment setup, glue up alignment, hand planning to exact thickness etc. They are made with a thickness planer and calipers.

5. Photo showing Back top out of square, Thankfully when the cabinet is on the wall, this angle will not be seen.


6. Back lower left sliding dovetail. The back had to be pin nailed because panels were reversed.

7. Back cross section sketch up view. I accidentally reversed the groove on the middle panel (of 3) so the back panel had to be pin nailed.

Thanks for looking

-- JJ - Northern Illinois

23 comments so far

View jack1's profile


2149 posts in 4806 days

#1 posted 02-17-2012 06:53 PM

This blows me away. Great joinery and detail. The book match on the door is a neat look.
Thanks for the inspiration!

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 3417 days

#2 posted 02-17-2012 07:02 PM

Looks great but, it doesn’t appear that it will hold many planes. ;^)

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View Marek's profile


33 posts in 3396 days

#3 posted 02-17-2012 08:11 PM

i just love the way you work, the precision and attention to detail.
greetings from Slovakia

-- I like the precise work...

View rhettbarker's profile


6 posts in 3138 days

#4 posted 02-17-2012 11:35 PM

my wife always tells me not to point out what I did wrong cause no one else can see my flaws till I spend time to tell them where and what they are, looks like a great cabinet and even after telling me I still had to look twice for them.

View ELCfinefurniture's profile


112 posts in 3099 days

#5 posted 02-17-2012 11:58 PM

Great project. I really enjoyed garetts video workshop on fine woodworking where he made this so it was great to see a fellow lumber jock who did as well. Great job on the upper molding and scratched details. What wood is your scratch stock made out of?

-- {Current North Bennet street school student}

View unisaw2's profile


210 posts in 3814 days

#6 posted 02-18-2012 12:17 AM

Thanks all for the kind comments.

Coopman -the scratch stock is shop made from a piece of White Oak 4”x3”x 1-3/4” allthough any size comfortable in your hand will work. I cut the metal cutting blade from an old handsaw, then cut the profile with a small 1/8” diameter file. The blade was then sharpened on sandpaper followed by waterstones. I used a 5/16” bolt tapped into the block to hold the blade.

-- JJ - Northern Illinois

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3583 days

#7 posted 02-18-2012 12:57 AM

that’s beautiful JJ. I likes it. I really like the 2-toned banding. very very kool pic tutorial/s also.. thnx. the door looks right side up to me… lol

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3583 days

#8 posted 02-18-2012 01:00 AM

remember: if we didn’t make any boo-booz, we’d all be perfect, and that my friend would make this a very dull world. :) besides, woodworking includes bein able to “cover-up” mistakes

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4356 days

#9 posted 02-18-2012 01:55 AM

Very nice work a cool looking and well made cabinet.


View Margerydb1's profile


74 posts in 3256 days

#10 posted 02-18-2012 02:16 AM

Thank you for sharing, it beautiful

-- Margery

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3563 posts in 4491 days

#11 posted 02-18-2012 04:04 AM

Very nice looking cabinet! We really like the two-tone trim; lots of attention to detail!

I can say “been there; done that” to your upside-down door. Actually I drilled the holes for my handle on the top rather than on the bottom. I found a fairly simple way to rectify the problem by simply cutting off that edge and gluing on another strip. No one knows the error and I didn’t have to make the door over. (It was one of five doors that matched.)

Thanks for sharing.


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4864 days

#12 posted 02-18-2012 04:59 AM

Great cabinet. I like how you’ve documented what went wrong, and you made some nice saves. A casual observer will think you’re a master craftsman! Good job on a fine looking cabinet. And thanks for sharing all your process!


View andyboy's profile


565 posts in 4052 days

#13 posted 02-18-2012 07:37 AM

Nice cabinet. The first thing I noticed was the door. I see now you have acknowledged that. Well done!!

-- Andy Halewoodworker. You can't finish if you don't finish. So finish it, because finish is everything.

View t. rector's profile

t. rector

31 posts in 3452 days

#14 posted 02-18-2012 07:58 AM

great cabinet, I think the contrast between the woods is awesome, the lighter color bottom anchors the piece visually, great job and nice saves, I sometimes waste more time trying to “save” as I would to start over again…

-- I often wonder "how did I get this lucky?"..t rec

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3645 days

#15 posted 02-18-2012 12:22 PM

This cabinet is wonderful and nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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