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Ben Arnott

My Shakashima Media Cabinet Part 1

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I managed to document the whole process of building my latest project and I thought I'd share it with everyone. Maybe someone will find something useful, but if not, I'm sure you can find something you can poke fun at.

I wanted to build a media cabinet for my fiance. We had just purchased a new TV and the old stand it sits on doesn't exactly instill confidence that it will not crumble into a pile of pine if encouraged just right.

I decided I wanted to try my hand at designing the piece. I'm inspired by the furniture of the Shakers very much, and wanted to incorporate some of that style into the piece. I'd just finished reading "Soul of a Tree" by George Nakashima and I think, for my cabinet, I drew a lot of inspiration from Japanese design in general. So when I sat down at my pad of graph paper, this is what I came up with.

2nd Draft "Shakashima" Design.jpg

The legs, rails (top and bottom), stiles, bottom, and door rails and stiles would be Cherry and the panels and top would be Curly Maple. I wanted the legs to flare out at the top and bottom to 3 inches square so I had to find some 12/4 Cherry. While at the hardwood distributor, I spied some nice Curly Maple with lots of figure. I'd have to come back for that. With my truck bed full of beautiful lumber and my credit card full of charges, I headed back to my shop and began what would prove to be a challenging and satisfying project.
4 Cherry now in my possession.jpg Cherry - Just Beautiful.jpg

Most of the operations in this project were firsts for me. I'd built a couple of small Shaker style tables before, and done a fair amount of finish carpentry as a carpenter, but my experience building furniture is limited. I decided I needed to create templates for the legs and went to work on the bandsaw with some mdf. After completing the template, I realized I didn't own a 3 in router bit so decided to cut the blanks out on the bandsaw and clean it up with the orbital sander, hand planes and card scrapers. This was a very difficult way to do it, and I will definitely look at routing it next time.

4 cherry slab.jpg blocks.jpg

layout.jpg Legs Roughed Out.jpg

Planing the Flat Edge.jpg

Updated 01-19-2011 at 6:31 AM by Ben Arnott