End Cabinet

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Project by Tom posted 08-28-2008 06:53 PM 1435 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first project, a white oak end cabinet for my kitchen. The goal is for the cabinet to support one end of a 3’x5’ rock maple butcher block (which I haven’t built yet) – at the moment its just got my portable benchtop sitting on it, though, which is visible in the pictures. The design is my own, though I definitely adapted the style from my friend Keelan’s work (Craftsman/Mission? I don’t know.) All four sides are frame/panel, dowel joinery, tapered legs, the panels are 1/4 ply, tung oil finish.

Given that this was my first project, and perhaps an overly-ambitious one, I managed to learn a dozen or so lessons the hard way. I was fortunate in that none of the mistakes resulted in accidents – all planning/ignorance/impatience problems, and most of them I was able to remedy with a little extra work. The notable list, however:

1. Pay attention to orientation when cutting biscuits
2. When drilling for dowels in a rail that will receive a groove for a panel, shift the holes away from the groove
3. Jigsaws tearout on the upstroke (I imagine this is really a function of tooth direction)
4. Use fine crosscut blade for ripping plywood
5. Dry fit
6. Don’t work tired
7. Pre-tape shims before a glue up
8. Don’t attempt to assemble too much at once (glue dries fast…)

Really the only visible mistake resulted from under-drilling some holes for the dowel pins. For the corner posts, I used 5/4” wide stiles on the sides so I could build each side separately, biscuit them together, and the corner post would appear to be 2×2. For some illogical reason I decided to under-drill the holes in the 5/4 stock, and my pins bottomed out in the glue up. I ended up with a 1/16” gap between my stile & rail on one side. I realized my mistake right off, though, and fixed it on the opposite side. Luckily, this piece is for my own kitchen, so I didn’t worry about it too much. The little gap serves as a good reminder to really think ahead through the entire process, and I see it every day…

All in all I’m pretty satisfied; it looks pretty good and I learned a lot. The doors especially turned out well. The spalted red oak drawer front has a punky spot that I don’t like, I guess I’ll be more careful with wood selection in the future. Onto the next project!

5 comments so far

View CaptainSkully's profile


1612 posts in 4123 days

#1 posted 08-28-2008 07:12 PM

Excellent write up. I can certainly attest to working tired. I was drilling dowel holes freehand at the end of a long day in the shop and used a regular bit instead of a brad point. It walked just enough to make my corbels misaligned.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 4281 days

#2 posted 08-28-2008 08:39 PM

great job.


-- jeanmarc manosque france

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 4268 days

#3 posted 08-28-2008 11:14 PM

Great job!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 4228 days

#4 posted 08-29-2008 05:41 AM

Very nice, the best way to learn is through experiance. SOunds like you learned a lot. Make sure you show us the butcher block top when you get it done. Nice job.

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 4412 days

#5 posted 08-29-2008 06:29 PM

I like it…and I really like the spalted drawer front…is it the appearance your not happy with…or is the wood soft in that area?...regardless well done!!!
I have never really gotten into the styles or their labels…craftsman..with mission influence…displaying a Spanish flare from a Moorish era….as if the dust along the silk road remains….all the way back to it’s roots deep within Asia….For me, the common denominator has always been the individual passion of the craftsman…. so well done Tom….

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

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