07 May 2010

Cabinet making - 4

This is part of a series of posts, inspired by the New Yankee Workshop (NYW) presentation Oak Bathroom Vanity - Program #106, about alternative cabinet design and tools use.

This week the NYW presents Hearthside Settle - Program #205. Most of the curved cuts can be done with a jigsaw. I am a little surprised that biscuits are used to attach crossbeams for a bench,  but OK.
Looking at the toolset it seems to cover it all but the back and front, witch are made of beaded boards joined with tongue and groove. No glue here as it is a large cross-grain structure and wood movement is near impossible to stop.

If I keep the design:
- Tongue and groove profiles are made on a router table with three passes,  one for the groove and two for the tongue.
- The beading is done with a specialised blade on the table saw.  Finding an alternative is not easy as it is more a job for a fixed table router, and that's advanced equipment.  In my case I could use my Stanley #50 plane (13-050) with its beading profile,  it is maybe 50 meters (150 foot) of pine profiles that must be cut and that's doable.

There are alternatives to beading and to tongue and groove :
- Chamfering the boards to replace beading.
- By just putting the boards side by side and maybe using biscuits without glue. If the board shrink it is possible to see light through the joints, but functionally it is not much of a problem.
- Using shiplap joints is also an alternative to tongue and groove and it is more simple to make as I only need rabbets.

A last interesting detail is that where at the front the boards nearly touch the floor, at the back there is a rail supporting the boards (not visible on the picture).  A possible explanation is that when the bench is moved (tilted and dragged) the convex front makes it impossible that the board-ends slide over the floor, as only the sides can touch the floor.  Where at the back the concave boards need a sled to protect the ends from splintering.

When used in exterior doors beading can be a problem.  On the left a correctly executed (south facing) door where the bottom rail allows the rain to drip out of the open joints and beads.  Right is my workshop door. It was at its 3rd repair, before it was used there.  The rain sipped through the beads behind the panel, making each repair higher than the previous.

Back to the Oak Bathroom Vanity - Program #106, looking at the doors and the front frame
The front frame is made of half lap joints, no problem here if I use a handsaw (and router or rasp and file for fitting).  A good  idea is to add a handsaw 10-12 tpi to the basic toolset, I can't be a carpenter without a saw.
The door frame is made with mortise and tenons.  That's good, but as it is a small door frame and not a chair, strength is not very critical, I can use biscuits.
The door panel is raised (inside) and with a shoulder.  Due to the shoulder, it is not possible to simply use a plane.  But I can first route a groove to set the depth and then plane the edge away with a Jack plane and some attention. Or I can use some angled router jig.

Next time I finish the Cabinet Making series looking at the top.  Or I just try to improve the strength of a biscuited frame.