Dark Chocolate and Sponge Cake (15)

The shop, being unheated, has been a little unpleasant to hang out for the past couple of weeks, so shop hours have been reduced. I go as long as can, but once my hands get cold I start to worry about incurring another one of those slow-healing wrist or finger injuries. I’d rather not thanks.

I do like the clear days when the winter sunlight streaming in the side of my shop, generally making the midday hours a lot more enjoyable despite the cold.

Besides the main panels of this cabinet, comprising the top, the bottom, and the panel over the drawer bank, there are two additional sets of horizontally-oriented panels. These are the drawer floors, and then the drawer bank’s lower ‘dust panels’, tied in with the lower framing of the drawer bank.

The drawer floor panels were to finish at 3/8″ (9.5mm) however they had been left many months back at 1/2″ (12.7mm), and in the interim had cupped slightly. The panels are too wide even for my 19.75″ (500mm) jointer to deal with And given how wide they were for their thickness, they actually would be tough to joint properly, as the force required to feed such a wide board steadily over a jointer exceeds the board’s resistance to being flattened out, and a cupped board which gets pushed flat during the jointing cut rebounds to cupped condition afterwards, getting you nowhere but thinner.

So, flatting in this case is by way of hand planing:


The cup was about 1/16″ across the width, and I did more than a few passes at oblique angles to flatten out the board:


Mahogany is just so freakin’ tasty! And this is just the ‘genuine’ stuff, the “Sponge Cake” of this build. I’m battling delayed gratification in regards to finish planing the Cuban mahogany, which has been a delight for joinery cutting so far. It is something to which I look forward.

Once planed flat on one side, the two drawer floor boards were run through my planer to thickness them, a machine which, at 24.8″ (630mm), is just wide enough to accept the boards, themselves 23.875″ (606mm) wide.

After planing them flat, and with them remaining flat, I processed the tongues on the three edges of each board:


The two boards serving as dust panels required much the same, however they were glued up from a pair of vertical grain mahogany boards, and received a tongue all around. These boards were trimmed to width and length on the tablesaw, a last step to bring them to final dimension coming by way of hand plane, with the boards ganged so as to provide a wider registration surface.

Here I’m finding some amusement in the end grain shavings:


That’s a staged shot – the right hand shaving did not quite come out like that as the shaving itself has minimal integrity due to the way the wood is sliced and can’t sorta shoot out of the plane mouth in a nice line – I just wanted to show that the shaving was continuous. And it’s kinda cool to look at a translucent slice of the end grain of a board, especially given that the boards are near perfect vg.

Another look:


I took that shaving home to show my (bemused) wife, who thought it was kinda neat too.

One of the two panels had a small black hole that required patching. I’m not sure if it comes from a bug or is some sort of branch vestige. There have several of them in the Honduran mahogany, and if possible in the course of producing components of course I try to trim around such defects, but there was no way around having the odd one here and there unfortunately.

Anyway, this is how that patch came out:


Nothing is ever perfect, but I feel it is fairly hard to spot that patch unless you are looking for it, and to do that you’d have to look under the drawer bank with good lighting. And I think, if an eye does catch upon that patch, then seeing it is a cleanly fitted and cared-for thing transmits a positive message, I hope, to the viewer. What else are you gonna do – filling it with epoxy or similar seems like the only other option. I prefer the patching.

Curiously, while the waney edges of the Cuban mahogany were completely bug-eaten, there have been very few apparent bug holes within the rest of the material.

The panels for the drawer floors and the under-drawer dust panels are done, save for a finish planing:


One might wonder about finish planing a surface like a dust panel which will never likely be viewed by anyone, but it bugs me to see that telltale stationary planer ripple on wood surfaces, so it has got to be cleaned up, ‘proper like’.

The middle panels for the sides are also through to the same stage (not shown).

For the middle shelf, I cut a shallow dovetail trench on the underside and prepared the support batten as well:


Meanwhile, along with the panel work I’ve been sifting my way through the list of pieces I need to complete the framing of the cabinet, focussing first, as always, on the largest/longest pieces left on the list and working my way to smaller, more or less. So far so good.

On the left are the four sticks comprising the frame members for the sill, in the middle are the two pieces for the stiffening beams, and then the 4 sticks, on the right are the framing members for the drawer bank:


All the material is quartersawn.

I’ve been doing my best to be parsimonious with the Cuban Mahogany, so I was really pleased to find the wood to be ultra stable during resawing, and was able to eke that material out of some larger sticks with very little waste. I think with the longer stock provided for, the remaining pile of cuban offcuts and shorter boards I’ve got should see me through the rest of the project.

I’m aiming to get one component set done at a time, hopefully per day, and leave all the fitting until the very end. We’ll see how that works out.

Another day, another post in this build. I’m starting to think that I might be through most of the cut out work by the end of the month, which is weirdly faster than expected.

Hope you enjoyed dropping by and thanks, as always, and in advance, to those who venture comments and questions. Up next is post 16 of this thread.

6 Replies to “Dark Chocolate and Sponge Cake (15)”

  1. Great work as always and I never tire of seeing each new step in the progress here. Still the best woodworking site on the internet.

    As always your friend, Charlie

  2. As always, a true joy to watch with what respect and foresight you treat your material (which in your case are almost always finite treasures). It is in good hands anyway. 🙂
    I’m looking forward to the sequel.

  3. That end grain shaving is pretty sweet. Having your wife appreciate it is even better. And I think I’m familiar with that bemused expression!

    1. Gary,

      thanks for the comment and always nice to find folks out there with a similar outlook to my own, even if it is in regards to something as obscure, perhaps, as admiring the odd plane shaving.

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