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Also this would give us a chance to build a cabinet that would match the birch and maple desk, printer cabinet and lateral file that I had made as part of our office suite. So I began laying out the plans with my Autocad software and began the project. You can look at the final result in the two pictures below and then follow along the journey of building it in the article that follows if interested.
After the drawings were completed and the cut list made, I made the trip to my usual lumber supplier and bought some lengths of 8 quarter hard maple stock to make the corner legs and some 4 quarter stock for the shelving. The picture here on the right shows the lumber stacked on my miter saw bench awaiting the cutting process.
I began the project by making the corner legs. The first thing in that process was to cut some rough overall lengths and then run two sides of each blank through the jointer to square up those two sides. Then obviously, they were all ran through the planer to get all sides to the same thickness.
I wanted to have tapered
bottoms on the legs which I had done on several other projects that I had
completed. This was accomplished my marking the taper I needed on
the legs with a pencil and then taking them to my band saw to rough cut
the tapers as seen here on the left.
The photo below shows the four legs after they were rough cut on the band saw and laid out on my table saw side table support. These were awaiting the point where I could sand them smooth and set up the table saw with some dado blades to cut some 3/4 wide dados on two adjacent sides of each leg. The dados were to be spaced at the places on the legs where the shelves would be positioned vertically in the cabinet.
In the meantime I cut the eight shelves that were required to their overall lengths and widths. Each of these shelves had to have notches cut on all four corners in order for them to fit between the legs during assembly. On the right, you can see a picture of one of these boards getting the notch cuts on my bandsaw.
The next thing I needed to do was to set up my table saw with a 3/4" dado set to cut dados in the two inside edges of each leg at the eight places that were needed to accept the shelves. Below you can see my setup on the table saw, a photo of me cutting the lower dados on one of the legs and finally, what the four legs looked like after the first dado cuts were made.
I used mortise & tenon
joinery for the cross pieces that were to fit on both the bottom and top
around all sides of the cabinet. Also, I needed to cut 1/4" X 1/4"
dados on the rear two legs (on the back facing side) to accomodate a 1/4"
thick plywood back cover. The picture on the left shows the
rear two legs after the reliefs for the back panel and the mortise cuts
After the mortises were all cut into the legs, I moved on to making a jig for the drill press to drill three dowel holes into both ends of all the shelves. These 3/8" diameter holes would eventually receive wood dowels that would run the entire vertical length of the cabinet and between the side two set of legs. This would serve two purposes:
(1) To keep the CD's from sliding out the sides of the cabinet after assembly.
Below is a photo of this jig and one of the shelves fitted into it. I used a 3/8" forstner bit instead of a wood drill because I wanted the holes to end up being as clean as possible. Again, I made the jig so that all of the holes would be aligned properly from one shelf to the next during assembly. (Note: The dowels need to be inserted through each shelf end before the top is fastened to the cabinet.....just thought you might like to know that).
It was about this point during the project that I wanted to make sure everything was going to fit properly. So, I gathered all the shelves and the four legs and began putting them together. After this dry fitting process was completed, it seemed that I would have no further problems during asssembly. You can see in the right photo what these pieces looked like at that point.
After dry fitting the shelves and legs, I disassembled them and set them aside and moved on the cutting the upper and lower panels to their rough overall widths and lengths. I then set up my table saw with a 1/2" wide dado set to enable me to cut the tenons on these eight pieces. The lower left photo shows the setup on my tablesaw and the right photos shows the eight pieces after the tenons had been cut.
The last thing that needed to be done before final assembly and applying the stain and finish was to make the top for the cabinet. I ended up making the top at 9" wide X 18" wide which gave me a 1 1/2" overhang at the front, 1" at the two sides and 1/2" at the back. I decided to route a 1/2" bevel around all four sides of the top. The finished top prior to assembly and final finishing is shown here on the left.
I'm just about finished at this point. I decided that (with so many parts) that the cabinet would be hard to stain after assembling the entire cabinet. So I decided to stain the parts unassembled and proceed to the glueup in different stages. After all the parts were stained (being careful not to stain the areas that would receive the glue), I first assembled each pair of side legs and their upper and lower cross panels and glued them. Then when they had dried, I inserted all the shelves and placed them in their corresponding dados in the legs. At this point I had to maneuver the top and bottom panels for both the front and back into place while inserting the shelves......man was that a tough task for one man to do! I wonder.....did I forget to glue the tenons and mortises before doing this? Nope!
The photos below show some of those steps I just described.
The very last step was to insert the 3/8" dowels into the three through holes in all the shelf ends and then install the top. Just so you know, prior to the staining, I drilled some 3/8" X 1/2" deep holes in the tops of the four legs at their centers and into the underside of the top matching the locations of the four holes in the legs.
During assembly, I glued some short pieces of 3/8" dowels into those holes to hold the top onto the cabinet. Another note that I missed in the beginning of this article is that in the bottom shelf, I did NOT drill the three 3/8" holes completely through this shelf at it's ends. I only drilled them deep enough to receive the ends of the upright dowels to hold them in place (these were about 1/4" deep). I installed the plywood back into the rear of the cabinet and wiped the sweat off my brow! Below is what the cabinet looked like before receiving the final Minwax satin polyurethane clear coat.
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