Shop Notes #12: Box Joints and Jewelry Cabinets

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Blog entry by Steve posted 03-13-2018 04:08 PM 670 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: A Productive Week Part 12 of Shop Notes series Part 13: Really Lousy Estimating »

I have a chance to exhibit at a local winery in about two weeks, so I put myself on a plan to get some jewelry cabinets finished in time for the event.

These cabinets were based on plans for a hanging Shaker cabinet in Fine Woodworking a few years back. I’m on my fourth generation of design iteration. These are now taller than the original and have two doors instead of one. In this go around, I’ve changed from lap joints for the carcass to box joints, which should give a cleaner look when the cabinet doors are fully opened.

I first tried ganging together all four elements of the carcass to cut the joints, but the process was fraught with difficulties. It was difficult to get all the pieces lined up right and sometimes a piece would slip during the process, ruining the entire cabinet. Also, getting the pieces arranged properly for the second cut was a puzzle—sometimes I’d end up with corners that simply didn’t mesh.

I found that the process of cutting each piece individually took no more time than trying to do them all at once. I started with eight cabinets—64 ends to cut—and had them done in an afternoon. Before sweeping up for the day, I was able to successfully test fit them all.

Yesterday, I rabbeted the frames to accept plywood backs and began the sanding process. I like to have the interior faces pretty smooth before assembly, even though there’s the chance I’ll have to go over them again. I also took the opportunity to start sanding my backlog of cutting boards.

I lost one cabinet while rabbeting the top. Somehow the fence came loose (I’m blaming the dogs) and moved during the cut. The piece was gouged beyond saving, so I’m now down to seven cabinets (with a few extra pieces in reserve, I guess).

-- ~Steve

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