A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (14)

Post 14 in a continuing series….


After completing the milling work on the pillow block pairs, the remaining cut out step was to square up the mortises and bring them to target dimension. This task I accomplished with a couple of chisels and a paring jig. The jig is a step in development from the one I made previously when tackling the same work in the ‘Square Deal’ tables.

First off some pieces of cedar were prepared by re-sawing, jointing and planing until to desired dimension. These were then affixed to a piece of MDF:

The cedar blocks are spaced so as to allow a pillow block pair to fit snugly in to the middle:

Then a pair of wooden blocks, leftovers from fabricating the pillow blocks that were the same width and height as the pillow blocks, were dadoed down the middle so as to accept a pair of gage blocks, like this:

The centered dadoes with gage blocks fitted served as a centerline reference, with exact 1/4″ offsets both ways, against which I could place a large paring block:

The blocks could also be swapped over into a perpendicular position for the other mortise walls to be tackled:

Offsets can readily be taken using further gage blocks and another paring block, like so:

Let the chopping and paring begin!:


After the mortises were worked from the top face, the pillow block pair was removed, flipped upside-down, put back into the jig and then the paring operation performed again.

As the mortise dimensions happened to correspond to a couple of gage blocks I had on hand, once the mortises had been cleaned out and squared up I could check the fit of the gages to the mortises:

Another view:

Another pair being similarly checked:

Back to the paring:

And more checking afterwards:


After most of a day’s work, one set was complete:

After another session today, both sets were through fabrication:

That completes the fabrication work on the pillow blocks. All that remains on these parts is final clean up and application of finish, which is a few months down the line. One component down, and a whole bunch to go….

Next up will be the inverted ‘T’ section beams. I hope you’ll say tuned for further developments in that regard. Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Next up is Post 15

Anything to add?