A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (38)

Work on the web frames for the lower part of the cabinet continues….

The pockets on the center boards which receive the sword tip miters are chopped:

Another one underway:

Getting closer:

At this point, a paring guide is brought into play. Well, two paring guides actually:

I set one guide up by eye as best as I can, and then tap the other guide over to meet it. At the moment that the line of light between the paring guide miter tips is closed off, I figure I have them where they need to be:

Paring can then be tackled – after a sharpening session of course:

This one looks done:

By design, there is a reinforcing rib formed inside the joint immediately behind the reentrant miters.

Another one pared, same routine as previous:

The paring guides seemed to do the trick.

With a clean result on the first board, I then processed the roughing cuts on the remaining boards:

A while later, all miters had been pared to the line on all the boards:

Then it was back to the front 3-piece rails, of which there are 4 sets. The center pieces had not been spear-pointed at all yet, and the end pieces, which had been spear-pointed, yet had been left fat of the line by about 1/16″ (1.6mm). I wanted to have room to maneuver.

So, the same paring guide could then be applied to these parts as well:

Time to try a fit to see how things are looking:

The clamps are holding the board to my planing beam. I also used a clamp to draw the joint fully tight.

At this point of the process I am moving with caution, not having ‘proof of concept’ yet as far as the cut out approach goes, not sure if the paring jigs are on the money or not, etc.

The next front rail piece can be fitted:

After checking that the front rail pieces were in line with one another and square to the receiving board, I had the connection together:

Almost there with the miters, it would seem:

Another tweak brings it closer -you can see by the pencil mark which part I adjusted:

Then I scuffed the surface with a sanding block and 220 paper just to clean up any slight irregularities where the miters met one another:

That was looking decent I thought. I can set it aside once I complete one last task on it – the mortises for the parallelogram-shaped keys which lock the joint need to be established.

The shachi sen mizo were marked out on each stick when the joint was assembled, and then the joint was separated, layout completed, and the trenches could then be cut out, first sawing then paring:

After cutting was mostly there, I reassembled to see how that looked:

Wishing I had used 320 or 400 paper instead of 220. Tomorrow is a new day though….

While the joint was apart I noticed a slight area of interference inside the joint, so I cleaned that up and that allowed the 2-way spear point miter to draw just a hair tighter perhaps.

The gap at the end of the rod tenon is a hair more than I had planned, but acceptable:


These joints are located under the drawer’s runner piece and is not viewable unless the drawer itself were to be removed entirely.

The other side:



These two are pretty close. Now that I have  them together I can do some final clean up on the parallelogram through mortises.

The last picture is a hair blurry – sorry about that:

I was trying the ‘Super Macro’ setting on the camera, and must have done something wrong when I clicked that one. It was the end of the day and time to head home. I don’t always know for sure if the picture is blurry until i look at it at home on the monitor.

Anyway, I think the joint came out acceptably, and will draw up possibly even more when the wedges are driven in later on. The above picture is taken without a clamp on the joint.

And with that connection done enough for the moment, that leaves me seven more of the same to do. The fitting of those pieces should go a bit faster than the first pair through as I am now confident that the paring jigs are  accurate, and I have a better sense how much material has to come off the spear points on the front rail pieces to get them in the ballpark of a fit.

I’ll see if I can take some non-blurred closed ups tomorrow as I work my way through them. Hopefully tomorrow will see me through that.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading this far, and hope you are enjoying the series. On to post 39

8 Replies to “A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (38)”

  1. The sword tip miters are looking great Chris. They are a really nice design element and certainly not something you see everyday. I'm also really enjoying how the casework is coming together with the drawer dividers interlocking and mating with the vertical panels, what you've come up with looks like a really solid solution.


  2. Chris,

    Your work on this is just unbelievable. the joinery is something that i would only think computers could do, it's complexity is astounding. I do have a question. With all this work in joinery that you put into a piece, does your client have a background in woodworking or furniture or something that will allow him to appreciate all these small details and the amount of thought and work that goes into a piece like this?

    Keep up the great work,

  3. Jon,

    thanks for the comment. Those miters will make it easy to run chamfers around the parts, so they are more about that aspect than specifically being a design element as such.


  4. John,

    I appreciate your comment very much. I believe my client hired me because he appreciates Japanese culture and was looking for an approach to these pieces which paid some homage to that. I believe he keeps up with this blog, but in any case, he is a most patient individual and makes this whole thing possible, so I am most grateful.


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