A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (35)

Well, 35 posts in and, well, things are moving along.

Today was about CAD work in the morning, followed by cut out in the afternoon.

Recently I’ve taken my jointer to the max with some of this material – today it was the bandsaw, with its 15.75″ (400mm) capacity reached:

This board came it at 15.25″ or so, but there were some 15.75″ sections later on too:

It was a workout pushing 15+ inches of bubinga through that saw with a blade that could not be described as optimally sharp. I made about a dozen such rips.

What emerged, after a bit of planing was a veritable wall of quartersawn bubinga:

How often do you see something like that? Just imagine some finish on those boards. And they are drawer floors…crazy!

Above are the panels for the drawer floors, so they will be cross cut up some more in the near future. I thought of many different options for the drawer floors, which eat a lot of wood – plywood even briefly flitted across my mind – and in the end I desired to use solid wood in one quartersawn panel, second choice being a panel glued up from two boards, and managed in the end to realize the first objective from my stock.

More panels – this stack of boards is for one of the two cabinets:

These parts are for the drawer rails and runners, among other things:

I can’t believe how much wood is soaked up by these two cabinets. I’ve cut up every single stick of bubinga I had on hand, plus some sticks on hand for ‘consideration’. I considered the matter, and I delved in! The black hole of bubinga seemingly revolves in my shop.

All for now. It’s just a cut and dried sort of world really. On to post 36

10 thoughts on “A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (35)

  1. If the bubinga were mine and the cabinet for me, I would use a baltic birch or marine plywood for the drawer floor. My reasoning #1 the contents would cover the drawer bottom #2 the bottoms would be unfinished so the beauty of bubinga wasted. In this case, your client got the very best. I'm guessing you will use odorless finish on the bottoms to bring out the figure?
    Bruce Mack

  2. Paul,

    thanks for the comment. I feel that the large Hitachi is an excellent bandsaw – one of the most important pieces of equipment in my shop without doubt.

  3. Bruce,

    thanks. I made a piece of furniture many years ago in which I used Baltic birch for the back panels. On many levels it was/is a sensible choice – economy, ease of fabrication, zero movement – however I have long felt a little regret about that decision to use plywood. It just doesn't feel right to me to use plywood in a piece of fine furniture.

    I think baltic birch is a good material, and useful for jigs and tool boxes for my power tools, but since that project from many years back I made a decision not to use it again in my furniture work.

    Given the depth of the drawers, as about 15.5″, and my desire to use quartersawn material throughout this piece, I was left with a choice between using a suitable secondary wood or more bubinga. Among secondary woods one might consider, the list of those combining quartersawn orientation with a width like that is rather brief — more likely I would be looking to glue up drawer bottoms from two or more pieces, which is also something I was looking to avoid in this piece. I much preferred to use a one-piece drawer floor.

    The argument that because something is unseen the materials or workmanship should be a notch or two lower does doesn't carry any sway with me. Like the medieval cathedral builders who gave stone carvings rich detail that would be scarcely viewable from the ground even with binoculars, I want to make a piece where there is no spot in which a corner was cut or given short shrift. I want the piece to deliver, from one end to the other, what it promises with external appearance.

    I wasn't even sure I had bubinga suitable for the drawer floors yesterday when I went into my shop. so I was glad to have been able to squeeze those floor boards out of my remaining stock.

    The nice thing as far as I am concerned about bubinga as compared to a plywood floor panel is that the QS bubinga will combine negligible seasonal movement with far greater stiffness for a given thickness. Those are virtues in a drawer panel.


  4. Chris, coming out beautifully. I wrote up a question on 34 but managed to delete it accidentally. I was wondering if you plan to tie in the backs into the horizontal stretchers.

    I think your decision not to use a secondary wood is a good choice, presumably your patron will not be storing objects which will cover the entire drawer bottom, unlike a piece intended to store clothing, so they will always enjoy the additional work and material.

  5. Brian,

    thanks for the comment and glad you like my choice to use solid bubinga for the drawer floors. I wasn't coming up with a lot of options which met the design objective as well as VG bubinga.


  6. I wonder if some kind of bamboo product could work economically as well as be stable for drawer bottoms, and be more aesthetically pleasing vs. plywood, an idea for another project perhaps, that could benefit from a lighter color material.

Anything to add?