A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (46)

Post 46 in a continuing series.

The past few days have seen a spate of fitting rails to carcase. Fitting rails to carcase…fitting rails…. It’s not that many parts, just 8 sticks and 16 mitered joint abutments, but given that these are through-tenons, extra care is well worth taking because mistakes will tend to show.

Fitting the first of the upper rails to one board:

The piece is down as far as it will go without having done anything yet with the housings on the edge of the carcase board:

A little trimming ensues to ease the fit at the housing opening:


Another try, after the housing on the front edge has been cut out:

Down but not quite all the way seated:

A little cleaning out of the housing floor came next:

That’s a special type of kote nomi used for trimming the tsutsumi ledge Japanese plane mouths. It happened to be handy at the time – other tools would have worked equally well I’m sure.

Afterwards, the fit was fine:

The next rail end also fitted:

I put a black line on the carcase board arris which will be chamfered afterwards. By the way, in case it wasn’t clear, the reason for doing the mitered return is so that chamfers can proceed cleanly around the intersections .

A check is also made on the inside face to make sure that the shelf panel dados align with one another:

Another one done:

And another:

Could it be…? Yep, another one:

Another one completed, with a different camera angle to show how much protrusion I have with the through tenons:

The tenons will be wedged on both ends and trimmed flush afterwards. I have yet to flare the mortises to accommodate that arrangement. I’m planning to use bubinga wedges so the joints should be relatively unobtrusive.

Any slight discrepancies at the meeting of the parts, edge to edge, could be readily attended to with a plane:

How about another look at another junction?:

I also rough cut the dadoes in the top carcase boards which form the sliding door upper tracks:

That was a nerve-wracking task. I sawed close to the lines with the tablesaw, but kept a distance off those lines. The final trimming will be done with a router bit in my shaper.

The spacing of the dadoes – indeed, the design of the sliding doors themselves – was carefully worked out so that the dadoes did not cut into any of the dovetails at all:

It’s an easy, and, I dare say common mistake to make with dovetailed boxes: not planning the joinery around where dadoes might be located. Having made that sort of error in the past, I take care to consider this detail in, well, detail. The above dadoes have yet to be taken to full depth and width yet, as you can see by the saw blade marks on the floor of the dado. In working out a solution for the sliding door upper tracks I have come up with an unorthodox arrangement for the tongues on the top and bottom edges of those sliding doors. More on that when we get to it.

Back to fitting, now onto the last carcase board:

I should have those buttoned up sometime tomorrow, and the next step after that will be to cut the housed joints on the bottom of the carcase, which have multiple mortises. Should be fun! After those joints are done, the carcase joinery will be nearly complete, with just the shelf panels remaining. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself….

Thanks for coming by the Carpentry Way. Next up is post 47.

2 Replies to “A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (46)”

  1. François,

    thanks for the comment.

    As to your question, the answer is simple: I don't own an adjustable grooving head for the shaper in the appropriate size. It would definitely be a good way to do it. As for the imprecision of the table saw, that is true enough, however, as noted in the post above, the grooves were only rough cut on the table saw and will be finished on the shaper using a router spindle and the feeder. With only 4 grooves to cut, it was simpler to proceed based upon tooling I already own.

    One of the things that limits my use of the shaper currently is a lack of tooling. This I hope to address in future projects, however the budget for the current project is already above what it should be.


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