View RSS Feed

Shawn Pixley

Progress on the cabinet, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the process

Rate this Entry
I started my blog on the aspects of design and the creative process. Here is a recap of what and why I am doing this:
"There was a spirited discussion in the design forum around using sketchup vs drawing by hand. I am a proponent of designing by hand, so if something else works for you, do it. First, I should explain that I never use anyone else's plans unless I am taking a class. I am not trying to espouse that you should design this way or that this way is the best, but merely that this is my way. This blog will be about the process of design conceptualization, design development, mock up, and fabrication of an individual project. This will be a one of a kind project and will not be necessarily like my other pieces. It will however be indicative of the design process I employ and what works for me. So enough with the disclaimers. If you are willing to go forward, you have been warned."

When I was finishing the last project, I began sketching the next, a guitar display cabinet (see "Not done with the first, but time for the second"). I winnowed through the designs until I was satisfied I had one to develop. I start at small scale and double the scale each time I down select. The last one was at 3"=1'. I don't obsess too much on every detail in terms of joinery, and plan to work that out as I go. I plan to do this it three main assemblies - Base, Cabinet, and Display.


With the design "set" I need to track down materials. There are two problems here. My shop is a garage that I use to park cars in, so I have very limited storage for wood and finished components. the second is tracking down wood of this size can be challenging. I needed 16/4 Walnut for the legs, and 8/4 Curly Maple and Walnut for support structures.

I became resigned to gluing up the walnut when I stumbled on a slab that would work (thanks Bill). I milled this to rough blanks that would form the legs. I am very careful in layout for the joinery so I likely am guilty of overkill. Mortise the legs and start work on the rails. Due to the size of mortises, I decided not to do them by hand, but used the mortising machine.


The rails presented a challenge of getting their mortises perfect (different sizes and heights) and their tenons, before cutting the curves.


It seems I cannot resist curves. I spent a day fairing the curves with a spokeshave. I was bad at not taking pictures of all the steps, but I figured there was a limited interest in pictures of square stock. The maple I ordered online and it is beautiful. One piece was long enough for the Rail but too short to incorporate the tenons, so I inserted slip tenons I fabricated. The large stock requires very persnickety fitting for its joinery. Next, first assembly...