1 pair Corner Display Cabinets

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Project by rilanda posted 07-20-2012 03:36 PM 2089 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Made this pair of illuminated corner display cabinets back in 2004 for my daughter. they were made to fit into niches on either side of a chimney breast. They were made in pine to match existing pine paneling and were stained to match in with the existing paneling that had been in place for a few years (fitted by dad) and had started to darken in colour (patina). They are each illuminated with a single 20watt low voltage halogen cabinet light at my daughters request, but of course these could be optional. Because they are illuminated the internal shelves are made from 6mm glass withe polished front edges, and these are adjustable to accommodate differing heights of trinkets that are placed in the cabinets for display.
Photo 1 shows the L/H cabinet; 2 shows the R/H cabinet; 3- shows my method of reinforcing the miter joint on a cornice; 4- my method of fitting glazing bars to a door using masons miters.

Hope you all find them of interest, below is my approach to making them, the figures that appear in brackets refers to the cutting list item number which is not publish here on LJs.

This display cabinet would be at home in a kitchen to display glassware or as the original pair was made for, to display ornaments etcetera in a lounge. The cabinet is illuminated internally using a single 20 Watt quartz halogen low voltage recessed cabinet light. This light of course can be omitted if you choose and the internal glass shelves can be substituted with timber. The corner of the cabinet is kept away from the corner of the wall to allow the cable to the light to pass behind the cabinet and be obscured. The transformer required to operate the light is accommodated on top of the cabinet obscured from view by the cornice. The original pair of cabinets were made in pine to match in with the furniture within the room but it would be equally as attractive made in hardwood.
Some of the sections of timber used are items that were bought in as ready machined items for example: – Cornice, some base sections and the PTGV boards used for the back panels, these sections are readily available in Pine from most timber merchants. However if you decide to make the cabinet in hardwood it will probably be necessary to produce this material yourself.
The top [1], bottom [2] and sub-base [20] are items that require jointing in width. Joint these using widths no greater than 60 mm and an edge joint of your choice my own preferences for this work is either tongue and groove or biscuit joint. Join and assemble with the heart face reversed in adjacent pieces see Figure 1 to avoid the “cupping” effect shrinkage would have on wider pieces. Make this the first task gluing the pieces together using a quality P.V.A adhesive then set aside for 24 hours for the glue cure.
Mark-out items 3 & 4 for tenons these items must all be the same shoulder length [860 mm]. The top [1] and the bottom [2] are similar in shape and size to each other [note the top is 4 mm wider] but the through mortising for items 3 & 4 must be a mirror image on each piece, any discrepancy in these mortise positions will lead to major problems manifesting later within the construction. Cut the top & bottom to their respective shapes then mortise them through [must be done working from both faces to avoid any break-out]. With the mortising to items 1 & 2 complete turn your attention to cutting the tenons on both ends of items 3 & 4 and fitting them to the previously made mortises. Plane the 45 degree angles and cut the rebates in item 3 [these will not become handed until the top rail item 6 is fitted]. Cut the rebates in the bottom [2] to receive the back panels [note the rebates stop at a position 30 mm from the front edge. Plane the 45 degree angles to both edges of item 4. Now dry assemble the carcass and check all dimensions and the unit for square and twist [wind].
With the units correct in all respects leave in the dry assemble state remaining in the cramps. Rebate the top rail [6] and mark out accurately to the distance between the rebates containing the door, cut of to length and drill both ends for the dowels. Disassemble the carcass and mark out the top rail position to the front stiles [3] these are then cut back to receive the top rail item 6 [this will hand the stiles so take care to make a pair] see Figure 2. With these joints completed and a satisfactory fit has been achieved, clean up the inside faces of both the top [1] and bottom [2]. If you decide to illuminate your cabinet then it is expedient to cut a hole of the required size in the top at this stage. Clean up also the stiles [3], the inside face of item 4 and the top rail item 6. Glue and cramp the whole assembly together, screws maybe inserted both from beneath the bottom and from above the top, these screws will not be seen. Check for square the set the assembly aside for the adhesive to cure.
Check the dimensions for the door from the assembled carcass and make any adjustments that may be necessary. Take special care when marking out for the glazing bar mortises, ensure the vertical bar is centrally placed in both the top rail [8] and bottom rail [9]. Make sure also the vertical spacing’s between the horizontal glazing bars are exactly the same in all three glazed positions. The joint between the horizontal and vertical bars are a halving joint see Figure 3 the position for these must be marked out from the rails [items 8 & 9] and the stiles [item 7] respectively. The joints between the rails and stiles are haunched mortise & tenons with the haunches being 1/3 of the total tenon width and 3 mm deeper than the rebate in the stile. The 6 mm tenon is central in the thickness of the door, this means the tenons on the glazing bars are a bare faced tenon producing a 6 mm.
With the marking out of the doors components complete, proceed by producing the mortises, to follow this, produce the tenons, finally run the molds on all items followed by the rebates. The top rail [8] however is a shaped rail with the shaping work carried out after the tenoning, you will also note that the glass is retained within this rail in a 6 mm deep groove central in the rails thickness. The outside face of this rail is finished with the same moulding as the rest of the door. It is now possible to fit the tenons and produce the masons mitres to fit finally each component into its respective position then identify each to its position. Now cut and make the halving joints that form the glazing bar joints [see Figure 3], then dry assemble and check the door for being dimensionally correct and square; check also that the door is not in wind [twisted]. Make any adjustments that maybe required to correct any errors before cleaning up the moulding on each of the components in preparation for final assembly of the door with adhesive. Assemble the door with adhesive and set aside for the glue to cure.
Now return to the main cabinet assembly and produce the items for the cornice. Item 16 & 17 are standard section that can be purchased at most timber yards and DIY outlets. For the cornice itself some modification is necessary to the section by the addition of two rebates, one to cloak the joint between the top and the cornice the other is to provide a strong fixing point using the rebated block that is item 18. Rebate the cornice as required and also the fixing block and carefully assemble the two together using adhesive and screws [these screws can be removed later before the angled joints are cut if necessary]. After the adhesive has set clean up the face of the cornice, remove the screws as required and proceed to carefully cut the angled joints to fit around the top. Tip: – strengthen these miter joints and the ones to the base section by applying a webbing [Hessian or similar] to the back of each joint with adhesive. Assemble the miters first using a good quality Cyanoacylate [super glue] then apply the reinforcement to the back with P.V.A adhesive or animal glue; see Figure 5. Before attaching the cornice with adhesive make sure the front edge of the top has been cleaned up.
The back is made from PTGV boarding 9 mm thick and is readily available from most timber merchants and DIY outlets. Cut to length and cut the outside boards to width to produce back panels at the correct width & length. These require to be cleaned up before installing into the cabinet with screws.
The glass shelves are positioned to fall immediately behind the glazing bars, this was done for two reasons 1] to keep the top shelf in a lower position to avoid heat from the light, 2] for aesthetic reasons to avoid the horizontal glazing bars crossing the view to the displayed items. However more shelves can be added by providing additional shelf support positions for example: – mid-way between the glazing bar positions and the same distance both above and below the glazing bars. You will see from the photograph that the original cabinets were each fitted with three glass shelves however by marking out these additional positions the cabinet would accommodate five shelves; ideal for displaying smaller items. Mark out the amount of shelf support positions you require to both back panels and the corner stile [item 4] and drill to suit the shelf supports you have chosen to use.
Now fit and hang the door using one pair of 50 mm solid drawn brass butts. The door can be fitted with a cupboard lock if desired, if no lock is required, a 9 mm ball catch should suffice to keep the door closed. Remove the door and fit the glazing beads. The glazing beads to the stiles [12] & bottom rail [13] are fitted in single lengths mitred together at the bottom corner, they will also require a small notch to be cut in them where they cross the glazing bar positions. The beads to the glazing bars are fitted with the vertical bead [14] in a single length and the horizontal beads cut between the stile bead and the vertical glazing bar bead, this bead will also require notching over the horizontal glazing bars. Make a pattern for the shaped glass door panels, reduce the opening size for the glass by 3 mm in length and width, tip: – if you make this pattern from material of the same thickness as the glass for example 4 mm MDF then use the pattern to make sure the glass enters its position smoothly before any glass is ordered. Make a pattern for the glass shelves, this is reduced by 1.5 mm all round from the tight opening size, use the pattern to check the fit. Clean up the door and its beads before fitting all beads into the door using 1/2” x 2 brass round head screws.
Order the clear glass for the shelves at 6 mm thickness, toughened with polished edges all round, and for the door as 4 mm clear glass, toughened and left as cut. It is important to remember that toughened safety glass CAN NOT be altered once it is processed, it is crucial therefore that the glass sizes are correct when ordered. It is also worth remembering that there is a delivery period involved in obtaining toughened glass, this period varies among glass merchants.
Now turn your attention to the base; clean up the underside of the bottom [2] and cut the sub-base [20] to the required shape, mold then clean up the underside of this item. Using the same section as fitted to the cornice cut the angled miter joints to items 21 & 22, [assemble and strengthen the mitres as previously described see Figure 5]. When the adhesive has set fix this assembly to item 20 with screws and glue screwing down from above the sub-base into the moulding. Cut the base [23] to shape and mould the front edge, clean up the face side and the mold. Drill the 20 mm diameter hole to receive the finial [25] in the base [23]. The rear support [24] is the same section as item 4, this is cut to length and doweled into position at both ends.
Assemble the base with the sub-base assembly using P.V.A adhesive and gentle pressure applied with gee cramps and rub in some glue blocks to strengthen the joint with the base [23]. Once this adhesive has set the whole assembly can then be combined with the main carcass. This is achieved using 6 mm dowels and P.V.A adhesive, screws can be used working down through the bottom [2] from INSIDE the cabinet. These screws can then be hidden with timber pellets. Turn and clean up on the lathe the finial [25] then fix with adhesive to the prepared hole in the base [23]
A final clean up to the whole unit and the cabinet is ready for a finish of your choice. When the glass arrives this is fitted into the cabinet with a small amount of clear glazing silicone to each panel and the beads are finally screwed into position NOTE: – it is not necessary to apply silicone to the beads.
Hang the cabinet into position using four heavy duty glass plates attached to the top of the cabinet. Although I did not find it necessary to fix the bottom of the cabinet should you think that this is required screws can be used through the back immediately behind the stiles to avoid being observed from the outside, however a packing may be required to avoid moving the back panel out of position when the screw is tightened.
Pass the cable down the void left in the corner and make the connections for the light fitting IF YOU DO NOT FEEL COMPETENT WITH THIS PROCEDURE THEN CONSULT A QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN TO CARRY OUT THIS TASK FOR YOU.
Clean the glass shelves and fit to the cabinet, clean off any silicone that may have exuded from the door glazing and clean the glass. Load the cabinet with the objects for display, switch on the light and stand back to admire.


-- Bill, Nottingham. Remember its not waiting for the storm to end, but learning to dance in the rain that counts. If you dont make mistakes, you make nothing at all.

3 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4645 days

#1 posted 07-20-2012 04:40 PM

Great work, looks really nice.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 3631 days

#2 posted 07-20-2012 10:14 PM

Awesome!!!!!!!!! I haven’s seen one project yet that isn’t a work or art.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina ([email protected])

View joseph000's profile


346 posts in 3483 days

#3 posted 01-03-2013 11:15 AM

Looks amazing great job.Corner display cabinets can provide a fresh look to the decor of any home and many times become the focal point of the rooms they occupy. They simply make the best use of that wasted corner space that is common in most all homes while adding a piece of fine furniture that enhances the beauty of any room.Thanks.

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