20 May 2010

Cabinet making - 6

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 it is the NYW presents Chair Table - Item #207 Interesting as in this project the feet, armrests and the battens are set cross-grain to the sides of the chair. In this case no glue is used and the pieces are attached with slotted screws or tenon and dowels. A sliding dovetail is also used,  but surprisingly to attach the seat to the sides and not to solve a structural problems, for example to fix the batten cross-grain to the tabletop.
Rodale's Illustrated Cabinetmaking presents also the same project (giving American Country Furniture, 1990 as reference) and shows the batten with a sliding dovetail. Of course making a 40" long sliding dovetail is not easy and I would probably go for slotted screws like the NYW did.  Anyway the sliding dovetail weakens the top with two grooves and asks for a  thicker and heavier tabletop.

Back to the Oak Bathroom Vanity - Program #106, looking at the top. The NYW dovetails the apron.  This is impressive as it requires a good knowledge of the dovetail jig to ensure a perfect fit with the top.  I would go for mitered joints and fix the apron with pocket holes in the top to keep everything within my toolset (and keep it easy).  Fine tuning the miter can be done with a good  powered miter saw if available (I am already regretting I dropped it out of the toolset). An alternative is to use a miter shooting board,  but to make this work I would probably need a very good plane.

With this I finish the Cabinet Making series.  Discovering the NYW series was fun.  It offers good images and sound about mechanized wood workshop activities,  fluid transitions between concept and realization and packs a project in less than 25 minutes.
The few cross grain structures that caught my attention in #106,  are probably limited to the first season of the NYW,  later episodes seem to always solve those problems.
Analysing a few projects from the NYW allowed me to put the 'minimal' toolset to a test.  It appears that no drastic changes where needed to make the projects doable. I could do it with the I can do that toolset and some more. And this came as a surprise to me as the NYW has a name of heavy power tool (ab)use.