A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (42)

This shop session begins with the second-to-last round of the spear point joint fitting:

This joint is the connection between the vertical divider board/stile and the lower shelf’s front rail.

A view from another vantage point:

Some remaining joinery work on the lower shelf’s front and rear rails was required to accommodate the vertical drawer dividers affixed below.

Here, I employ sliding dovetails to connect those lower shelf rails to a drawer divider/stile:

For the upper vertical divider in the main compartment, there is a shoulder on the bottom of the divider to fit into a dado in the upper surface of the panel as you can see in this view:

If the divider were to shrink in thickness in a drier environment, this arrangement will tend to conceal the shrinkage, and the portion which fits on the panel groove also serves to keep the vertical central board/stile flat.  A 2 for 1 sort of deal.

Given that the location where the drawer dividers meet the lower shelf panel is completely hidden from view within the cabinet, and the drawer dividers are even thinner boards to work with, the joints there are simply fully-housed under the panel instead of having rebated shoulders.

Something I overlooked in recent days was to see how close to the targets I managed to get as far as the drawer openings were concerned. It would be no huge deal to adjust drawers to a significantly out of tolerance opening, but I still try to hit those targets in cutout as best I can. Just keep aiming, that seems like the main thing sometimes.

The top opening was supposed to be 5.250″:

The dado on the left is 0.003″ oversize, so that forms part of the total discrepancy for the measure.

0.007″ too tight is what I might call an acceptable amount of error for a drawer opening. Others may disagree of course.

The second tier is supposed to be  5.750″:

And the bottom tier 6.250″:


More accurate than it ‘needs’ to be perhaps, but it didn’t take any special wizardry to hit that close to the desired marks either.

With joinery work complete, I wanted to see how the lower and upper rails would all go together with the drawer divider section and main compartment interior stile. The rails are just on their way along those dovetails for step one of the fitting:

The front drawer rails are one-piece, not three-piece, for this process, and the rear drawer rails only about 2/3 of the way on to their laps. It was enough connectedness to put the drawer dividers in the correct alignment and spacing from one another. The rails slid on a slight amount, then were tapped home with a mallet and a clamp employed as needed also.

With the rails almost all the way on, step 2 was to transfer marks over with a knife, making a light pass:

The rails were then removed, and, based on those knife marks, a housing was then cut from the edges of the rails, and after a bit of clean up, the pieces could then be refitted:

With both rails in place I forgot to take a close up photo as I was too focussed to see the next stage, where it was the ‘will it or won’t it?’ moment with the fit of the main compartment divider piece, or central stile if you like, to those lower shelf rails:

It fit! All three mortises were just where they needed to be:

Another view:

I was pleased with that outcome. It was nice not to have to do any further adjustments from the initial cut out.

With the central divider sunk in on those lower joints, the upper shelf rails were then fitted to the divider:

That is a more or less complete interior framing sub assembly. Panels for it are going to be tackled soon enough.

As I fitted the front rail on, I noticed the edge of the rail needed a little attention with a plane:

In fact the joint needed fitting at that front connection. I must have missed fitting that rail previously for some reason, and I forgot to take a picture of the completed spear point miter after it was fully together. It came out like the others tackled previous, so all was well.

By the end of today, I had both assemblies through to the same stage:

Another view:

One more for fun:

The panels for those two rail sets, along with various other panels, will be taken to a local shop for thicknessing in a few days, after that a bit of rebating on those panels, etc., will more or less complete the work on the internals. Oh wait, then there’s the fitting of the pins for the adjustable shelves…and a few other tasks. These internals are mostly done – that’s the least I can say. Still feels like a milestone of sort in the build process, which is a heckuva lot better than it feeling like a millstone (!).

Well, for the time being those interior assemblies will be set aside and I’ll turn my attention to the main carcase. At last, we meet.

Here are the top and bottom boards for one cabinet carcase:


That was a barrage of photos there. Sometimes  I get carried away I guess.

Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. On to post 43

6 Replies to “A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (42)”

  1. Reading through this, I'm actually glad I don't have your level of special reasoning. If I did, and I made anything like this, I'd be up all night thinking through these assemblies.

  2. Those cabinets are looking really nice. Ude aru na! What do you reckon those bad boys are gonna weigh when finished? And how about that boat, she`s a beauty; is it a new build or a repair?

  3. Jacob,

    thanks for the comment and questions. The cabinets are not going to be featherweight, to be sure, however I am taking steps to keep them from being too heavy. The drawers will add a fair amount though, and there's only so much one can do to keep them as light as possible while being strongly made – without depending upon glue. I made the support stand somewhat heavier duty so as to carry the cabinet and bonnet without deflection or instability.

    The dory you see in the background is my shop neighbor's, and it has been in for some repair work on the stern.


  4. …that should be “spacial” reasoning. In my job as an animation storyboard artist, I have to visualize/draw rooms, people, and action from many different vantage points while holding the development of the characters and plot in my head. It can be complicated and I like to think I'm pretty good at that but the interlocking nature of your constructions are more that I can ever properly visualize.

    I'd comment here more often but my thoughts always boil down to “beautiful” and “mind boggling”.

Anything to add?

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