Well, I’ve been holding off beginning to blog on this latest project because of the complexity of the piece. Since doing the family room remodel it’s obvious that the table we now use to hold the television isn’t adequate so — what better excuse to design and build something new! I’ve made many pieces of furniture using panel and frame construction or hardwood plywood for the sides with solid, mortise and tenon face frames but never attempted a large cabinet like this made completely with solid material. I’m basing much of the sizing from Thos. Moser shaker designs, most of his drawings show 1 1/8″ thick material. Here is my initial design sketch:
Over-all it’s approximately 26″ tall, 16″ deep, and 50″ long. Since I dislike open shelves or glass doors to house the media components that are operated by remote control the two doors at the top are sliding. Here’s one challenge, I’m making my own track which will be routed directly into the shelf at the bottom and into the top frame member. I’ll be using a piece of Big Leaf Maple mail ordered from Woodworkers Source in Arizona.
My next challenge will be all of the dovetailed construction the design calls for. This has caused many sleepless nights and lots of research not only in my reference books but also on the web. The size of the shelf is what is tricky, a tapered sliding dovetail seems like the best way to go but the process of making this complicated joint is daunting! I’ve used sliding dovetails in small, solid lumber cabinets but never in one of this size. I will also need to take this shelf in and out several times during the construction of it which isn’t recommended for dovetails. After some experimentation I’ve come up with a bare-faced dovetail combined with a dado that I think will do the trick. Look for a separate blog on that coming soon — the joinery work has been done. Below the sliding doors will be three, dovetailed drawers and the entire unit will sit on a pedestal as shown.
Last of all, here’s a “shout out” to Woodworker’s Source in Phoenix. I put a link to them above but after a discussion we had at the latest Sin City Woodworkers meeting about customer service from our local lumber suppliers feel this is warranted. First of all, I’ve done mail order with them for probably 10 years or so. When my wife was in galleries in Scottsdale I would stop there too whenever I delivered paintings to her galleries. The piece of Big Leaf Maple I mentioned was one of their “one of a kind” boards and delivered to me here in Las Vegas. I needed about 50 board feet of 6/4 Sapele and wanted to pick out my own lumber so it was time for a road trip. Before going there I called and they had about 700 bf in stock.
It’s about a 5 hour drive and when I arrived the boards in the bin were pretty well picked over so decided to check out the warehouse. One of the guys asked me what I was looking for — 6/4 Sapele in as wide of board available. He pulled down a unit of 10 footers that were anywhere from 5-9″ wide and beautiful. He set them down in a corner and I selected what I needed. I took my time and marked them with chalk to coincide with my cutting list. I re-stacked the pile, having worked in a lumber yard in my younger days I always do that and suggest you do too. They cut the boards to the sizes marked and also straight line ripped them for me. My jointer is a #7 Stanley so this is well worth the .25 per board foot to me. Also picked out some 6/4 Maple to be resawn for the drawer sides. The point I want to make is that the people at Woodworkers Source are really great to work with. Their customer service is top notch and that’s the same whether you shop there in person or go through mail order. In all the years I’ve bought wood from them I’ve never been disappointed.