A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (56)

Hello again my friends.

Before I got sidetracked with working on one of those teak wheelbarrows for another client, I got a few coats of finish on the sides of the carcases:

Each day I decked the finish off and applied another coat:


The pictures above are of the first coat only, which was almost completely decked off. With a water-based finish, a slight amount of grain raising can occur, so I tend to think of the first coat as a general prep coat only. Subsequent coats had a little amber aniline dye added to darken things slightly. Currently, the cabinets have been sitting for nearly a week with four coats applied. I’ll probably add one or two more coats at some later point.

Once the teak wheelbarrow was done for the other client (three down and one to go in that regard), I returned to work on the framing for these cabinets. The next assemblies to be tackled are the frameworks which affix atop their respective carcases, where they will receive the door hinge pins and support the bonnet to be placed on top.


These frameworks are somewhat similar to the cornice frames at the top of the support stands in the basic arrangement of two rails and four cross pieces, however these assemblies are without a mitered corner treatment. The door hinge pins are located right in the middle of where the miters would run, which I feared was not a structurally sound arrangement, so a stronger set up was desired, employing haunched tenons on butted joint corners:

The tenons do double duty in this case as the front rail is overhanging considerably and the tenons provide a fair amount of structural support for the rail. Hence I bumped the tenon size up to 0.4 of section thickness, instead of the more usual 0.33, and employed double pegging.

Here’s half of one frame assembly after the four cross-members have been test fitted:

A little video now showing the frames being put together, to give you a sense of how things fit:

With the camera rolling, about half-way along in the video I managed to insert not one but two cross members in the wrong way around – you can see the mix up with the match marks – but it went together okay. I should have noticed something was off when the second cross member’s tenon slid in just a little too easily. I get a little nervous when the camera is rolling for some unknown reason which causes me to be less attentive than otherwise. I’ll put the parts together correctly, of course, when it comes time to peg the joints.

You may also notice that the front rails are taller sections than the rest of the parts. There is a reason for this which will become apparent soon enough.

The frames were then parked atop their respective cabinet boxes for a look-see:

Another view:

Onward and upward. I’ll be working on the attachment mechanism between the assemblies just completed and their respective top boards on each carcase. Some further cut out is also required on these frames to accept the next tier of material in the cabinets. It was good to move them along and have good the joinery fits come out as planned.

All for this round of crazed ramblings and flights of fancy – thanks for visiting. On to post 57 next.

6 Replies to “A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (56)”

  1. I like the videos Chris and wanted to share that I also get somewhat uneasy making them. Narrating to a recording device all by my lonesome is an odd experience.

    The cabinets are coming along beautifully.

  2. Brian,

    glad that someone out there can relate. I guess the video work becomes more comfortable over time. I haven't tried narrating yet – find the sound of my own voice kinda weird.

    Thanks for the comment.


  3. Dear Chris,

    thank you for sharing this nice cabinet project.
    I am always amazed to see the variety and precision of your joints.
    I like your general idea to reduce the glued joints to a minimum and it will definitely change my attitude for future project.
    Could you let me know the type/weight of the black mallet you use?
    Is this the one leevalley offers? Is this size right for the purpose you use it?

    Thank you,


  4. Alexander,

    many thanks for the comment and glad you like what you find here.

    The mallet is from Lee Valley, yes. I like it for furniture work. For heavier timber work, something larger would make more sense.


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