A Ming-inspired Cabinet (52)

The first picture of today’s entry in this build thread is the carcase for cabinet #1, which has recently had the strips which serve as backstops for the demountable rear panels glued into place:

Here’s carcase #2 together so that the strips to back the demountable panels could be glued up:

Over the past week, much of my time has been consumed with applying finish to piece after piece, decking the finish flat, and re-applying finish, and repeat, repeat…. I’m putting 5 coats on. It didn’t seem worth taking photos.

Today, a little assembly at last – here, I’m kerfing the central tenons of one of the drawer stiles:

Before the two stiles can be fitted to the bottom carcase board, the drawer support runners and three-piece front rails need to be fitted. In the next picture, assembly is just getting started:

Moving along:

I thought I snapped a picture of the ‘together’ moment, but I guess not. Oh well….

So, instead, how about a short vid?

A dab of glue was placed in the mortises for the outer tenons pairs, in case you were wondering.

After the parts were firmly together and I had let the adhesive cure on the outer connections, I flipped the assembly upside down, and placed a very heavy chunk of steel on the lower carcase board, to be sure the drawer stiles were fully seated prior to putting the wedges in:

I use a bit of sandpaper to adjust the side clearance on the wedges prior to fitting.

The wedges get a dab of hide glue, otherwise the joint is done dry:

The projecting portion will be trimmed off later.

I managed to get that chunk of steel off without damaging anything, myself included:

Then it was time to fit the wedges, shachi sen, to the opposed 2-direction tongue and grooved rod tenons:

This one is down:

Trimming the excess with the flush-trimming Miyano saw:

The first pair is done:

Another view:

And the other side too:

A second pair done:

Once all the wedges were fitted, I did some minor clean up at the junctions and applied another coat of finish to the front edges:

Another view or the right side junctions:

The finish dries fast, so some areas in the photo look dry while other areas look wet. I’m looking forward to seeing the finish after it has been waxed and polished.

Here’s the left side a little closer in:

Here’s a view along the front edges of the 3-piece rails, to show that after the joints are wedged up tight, the rails form a straight line:

I’m pleased with the way these joints have come out, from the design materializing in execution. They were my adaptation of a classical Japanese joint form, and not something you would normally come across on a piece of Japanese furniture. Something borrowed and adapted. The assembly is rigid and the joints have drawn up tightly, so that is the important thing.

All for now, thanks for visiting. On to post 53

14 Replies to “A Ming-inspired Cabinet (52)”

  1. Looking great Chris, I always get nervous when doing large carcass glue-ups…always in the back of my mind about the sequence..not getting too far ahead causing difficulties later ..But planning and pre-assembly helps….just need to resist the urge to rush. You look to have it under control…Nice work!

  2. It boggles my mind when I see something this complex going to together without the reliance of glue. A couple of dabs of hide glue on a wedge doesn't count in my book as a glue up.

  3. Joe,

    too true – I'm nervous about glue-ups as well. A lot of work can be ruined in a hurry if something goes wrong. It's so easy to overlook a little detail, miss a little piece of debris that got stuck in a mortise, etc.. Added to that, was doing it with the camera rolling, and thinking about whether I have a good angle – and in the above video, where I left my mallet – and the rest. So, if it looked under control, then I was fortunate.


  4. Ralph, thanks, appreciate it. I will be putting glue on the carcase dovetails of course, but that will be the bulk of it. It was a trade off in the design that I ended up with glued carcase construction instead of frame and panel, which could possibly be done without glue, but I think it was a reasonable decision in the end. Minimizing glue is something that I aim for, and believe in, but also I try not to be too dogmatic about it.


  5. Chris:
    love the use of shachi den in your work! A great tool. Can't wait to try it someday. Coming together nicely! Keep up the great work! Thanx for all!!!

  6. Beautiful work! I really enjoyed the video, helps me to appreciate the complexity of this piece and how precise the joinery is cut. I have really enjoyed following your blog, keep up the good work!

  7. Really cool to see it come together, thank you for taking the time to record the assembly. I have a great appreciation for how complex your sub assemblies are.

  8. Paul,

    have no fear, there's professional help available for your condition I'm sure – I think they call it shock therapy (?) Hah!

    Please rest assured that no bubinga was harmed during the filming of the video.

    As always, thanks for your comment!


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