A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (15)

Working now on the carrier beams, a component in the lower support stand of the table. These sticks are of an inverted ‘T’ section for improved stiffness. The sticks had already been taken to dimension in most aspects, save for the faces of the stem of the ‘T’. I started by hogging a bit of material off on the shaper, using a Zuani ‘Jolly’ multi-purpose cutter, with spur knives removed:

The shaper head, despite sharp fresh insert knives and reasonably large cutting diameter, was inducing a very slight amount of tear out after the first passes were taken, so for finishing passes I moved over to the router table, making peace (piece?) with a new 1.25″ bit fitted:

First the head of the ‘T’ was trimmed near to the target dimension of 1.375″:

Just another way of making shavings, and no tear out resulted.

Then the stem of the ‘T’ was brought to target, which was 0.750″:

I left the stock a hair oversize to allow for final dressing prior to finishing.

Once the profiles were complete, I set up my Wadkin dimension saw with a longer aluminum extrusion cross cut fence and impromptu stop so that the long side beams could all be trimmed to the same length:

Making the cut:

After the cut a clean end grain surface was obtained, which will need only a slight amount of finishing work to complete later on:

The four long-side beams were trimmed to finish length:

The shorter side beams were processed in a similar manner, however this time I was able to make use of a tool I picked up from another seller in Germany and shipped along with the Zimmermann milling machine – a 1000mm Mitutoyo Digimatic caliper:


These longer Mitutoyo calipers are normally priced prohibitively, however this one was only about $300 so I jumped at the opportunity. It comes mounted on a custom aluminum stand to boot, though as one minor drawback it only measures in metric.

Originally, this tool was specifically configured for measuring from a 45˚ miter to another 45˚ miter, and thus there are special pivoting arm members to wrap around miters:


The miter gauge portions can be readily swung aside, so the caliper can be used normally any time. When the time comes I need to measure across two miters this tool will be a godsend.

Here’s one of the short side beams being length-checked after cutting:

Target length was 21.30″, which works out to 541.02mm. I got pretty close- my lucky day I guess – close enough to decide no further adjustments to the cut length were needed:

The 0.04mm difference amounts to all of 0.0015″. That’ll suffice for sure.

Some would say this sort of work suits me to a ‘T’:


Funny enough, those T’s are shaped somewhat like the font Martin uses.

With the sections to length, a little more layout work got me to the stage where I could miter the stem portions. The Wadkin was set up, and some test cuts made in scrap to dial in the angle. Then the sticks were worked one by one, gauging the cut length off of the ends (note the cedar block clamped to the rip fence as an offset):

The resulting cut:

Then I ripped the waste off using my smaller bandsaw. I was left with this tidy pile:

The rip cut had been slightly wide of the line, allowing the mill to come into use again to deck the surfaces clean:

Another view:

Once the end was decked clean, I could do a check to see how the ramped abutments on pillow block and beam met one another:

Enter the dragon:

Looks like it will work:

A glimpse at the finished look of the united parts – of course there will be another beam lapping over top of both pieces so you would have to get down to floor level to take in a similar scene:

A sigh of relief at the end of the day to make it through the above steps without anything untoward happening. The stakes continue to rise with every subsequent step in the process.

Tomorrow I’ll tackle the mitered laps and possibly the mortises as well.

Thanks for tuning in and hope to see you next time on the Carpentry Way. Comments always welcome. On to post 16.

9 Replies to “A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (15)”

  1. Ah, no. It was simply a piece left over (also used in the jig I made previously for paring the mortises in the pillow block assemblies). Any number of things might have served equally well.


  2. Chris,
    Your work is always nice, but I'm really disappointed to see such a major shift to machines. It's not my shop of course, and what is important is your interests and satisfaction at the end of the day… it's just no longer my cup of tea. The machines keep getting bigger and bigger, the set ups much more complicated than they need to be, and I feel like I'm trapped in re-runs of that old tv series “Home Improvement”.
    I was also really looking forward to seeing some construction jobs after you passed your contractor's license tests. Good luck with everything. I'll still check in every now and then, but sadly, not so often.

  3. Your work continues to astound and delight- whether hand-tooled or machined, the depth of your knowledge and the amazing amount of discipline and care you put into your projects is appreciated. Thank you.

  4. I second Colin's comment. I visit your blog every day and appreciate every single entry. I, for my part can learn almost every time something new. Thank you for giving us such deep insights in your work and for sharing your knowledge with us.

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