Narrow Amish Cabinet

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Project by HorizontalMike posted 07-09-2013 08:11 PM 4676 views 12 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While perusing through my “gifted-to-me” collection of woodworking books, I came across a real ‘keeper.’ It is titled COUNTRY PINE by Bill Hylton copyright 1995 Rodale Press, Inc. Well worth buying, if you don’t have access to it.

In this book I found the neatest little cabinet of under 4ft tall and narrow. The plans and drawings are rather complete and you also get a nice background story on each of the 30 or so antiques/projects in the book. Here is the entry page for this Amish Narrow Cabinet:

The construction was actually rather easy, as I elected to go with a rabbet joint connecting the sides to the top/bottom instead of the original dovetails which were hidden anyway. I also got to use my relatively new lathe to turn the legs! That was a blast in its own right.

The front and rear frames are glued and nailed for secure joints, though I think the originals may have been nailed only, in the past. I took the time to purchase and use the appropriate cut nails in order to add to the authenticity of the piece. I also got a little hand plane time in while sizing the wide “frameless” tapered back panel. Not only did I have to plane for width, but also for taper as the board needed to fit into a dado without blowing it out. Read the article description about the back construction in the included article image above, for more information.

One of the biggest challenges had to be routing the crown molding and the door sticking. Had to spend much time on the Internet in order to find a “small” 7/8in French Provincial bit in order to make the sticking. FWIW, my first rout came out looking like crap but I learned and adjusted accordingly. ;-)

V Sticking V

V Crown molding V

The MOST fun I had with this was doing my first attempt at ”Museum Quality” finishing, AKA higher quality antiquing. I followed many suggestions that I found in David T. Smith’s book AMERICAN COUNTRY FURNITURE, 1990 Rodale Press, Inc. The latter link will take you to an eBay source for this great book, HOWEVER, I do suggest that you spend some time on David T. Smith’s website, a trip well worth taking, IMO:

(click image to enlarge)

NOTE: In order to darken/age the unpainted Ponderosa Pine interior AND in order to make the iron hinges and lock rusty, I used a 10% solution of Nitirc Acid (wear gloves, even if this is a weak solution). The wood darkens over-night, to a nice gray color with many flecks in the grain. Notice I also made a faux “leaking jar” stain on one of the shelves. Honest! The devil made me do it!... ;-) I even had fun making my own “Milk Paint” and using acrylic paint/pigments to color the paint as well as the grime/glaze that helps age the surface so well. Anyway, the cabinet is painted a traditional Yellow Ochre color. I used a thinner ‘wash’ of paint in order to still be able to see the wood grain and knotholes underneath the surface.


AFTER ANTIQUING: Click Image for Full size

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

31 comments so far

View mbmattvt's profile


98 posts in 2960 days

#1 posted 07-09-2013 08:34 PM

Wow! Nice job – I like the aging, too… Even the faux leak!

-- "There are three kinds of men. The ones who learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." --- Will Rogers

View JoeRPhilly's profile


176 posts in 3201 days

#2 posted 07-09-2013 08:34 PM

Beautiful cabinet, and great write up! Great work!

View carguy460's profile


807 posts in 3385 days

#3 posted 07-09-2013 08:37 PM

Wow Mike…I normally don’t like the “fake aged” look, but I really REALLY like this cabinet! Great work, and very tastefully “distressed”...bravo!

-- Jason K

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 3197 days

#4 posted 07-09-2013 08:41 PM

Great looking project. Love the way the aging came out. Thanks for the links. Will check them out

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3562 days

#5 posted 07-09-2013 08:44 PM

Awesome cabinet, build and writeup Mike, I was wondering how you darkened the hinges and latches, A word of caution on that acid and storage, even though it’s capped and contained, fumes are still liable to escape thus rusting every piece of metal in your shop in it’s vicinity, if it’s anything like Muriatic acid, I know I’ve experienced this and it did huge damage even though it was in a plastic bottle and capped, it rusted and destroyed the crap out of everything in my storage building.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View HorizontalMike's profile


7915 posts in 3963 days

#6 posted 07-09-2013 08:50 PM

Thanks for the reminder Randy. I’ll move it outside under my deck, where I keep a couple of bottles of muratic acid for that very reason. I like having an “old” Harley, but don’t think I would like having an old and “rusty” Harley!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View kdc68's profile


2992 posts in 3326 days

#7 posted 07-09-2013 09:08 PM

Looks great Mike….Everything you incorporated from the cut nails to the distressing and antiquing is spot on

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View HorizontalMike's profile


7915 posts in 3963 days

#8 posted 07-09-2013 10:31 PM

Yeah, @kdc68, Thanks! but I still feel that I over-did it. Distressing is such a subjective thing that my only analogy, and yes it could be sexist but I don’t know witch way, is that how do you EVER ping your “Ex” NOT too much to cause yourself grief? ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1344 posts in 5048 days

#9 posted 07-09-2013 10:35 PM

Classic design, looks like you had a lot of fun building it. Thanks for the blog. Bob

-- Bob A in NJ

View Don W's profile

Don W

19961 posts in 3617 days

#10 posted 07-09-2013 10:48 PM

It sounds like you’re having a good time Mike. I really like what you’ve done with this cabinet. Thanks for sharing the journey.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3393 days

#11 posted 07-09-2013 10:54 PM

nice job

View madts's profile


1954 posts in 3389 days

#12 posted 07-09-2013 10:57 PM

Very nice job Mike. Right up my alley.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 4019 days

#13 posted 07-09-2013 11:09 PM

Looks authentic.

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 3486 days

#14 posted 07-09-2013 11:53 PM

Top notch build HM! Everything about it looks authentic! I don’t think it looks overdone at all! I like the way you overcame the hinge/door dilemma as well.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 2918 days

#15 posted 07-10-2013 12:04 AM

Excellent! A charming cabinet, and that is a million dollar finish, my friend.

You made this piece look exquisite. The hardest finish to pull off is an aged finish which looks natural. You didn’t over do it. Again; very excellent job!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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