Dark Chocolate and Sponge Cake (31)

The 2019 Book Sale continues on so please check back there if you are interested. I intend to add more books in coming days.

Progress on the two-mahogany cabinet has been steady, and a few milestones have been reached. It’s nice to see things transform.

The back panel framework is mostly done, at least up to the point of being an assembled frame:

For some reason the camera lens is making it look like the rail is bowed up, but it’s actually nice and straight. The battens still need to be trimmed into sliding dovetails on their panel-facing sides, and then fitted to the panels.

The junctions for the battens meeting at the middle stile employ rod tenons which will eventually have tiny little shachi pins, yet to be laid out or cut:

This time we have some overview photos in which the cabinet is standing in its intended orientation with respect to the floor. I’ve started in on fitting the drawer framing to the case:

The rails have small dovetails at their ends – here’s one end of the back of the cabinet:

A closer look at the four back connections of the drawer support rails:



Four reveals a slight gap atop the dovetail:

It helps to have the photo to look at, as I had not spotted it otherwise. This location is completely obscured by the rear frame and panel unit, so there is no aesthetic concern, but in interests of mechanical strength I will glue a bit of material to the male dovetail cheek to pack it out.

Here I’m working on the step of final fitting of all the crosspieces to drawer rails and central dividers. In this view, the lower drawer support rails are being clamped to the rear set of rails and associated central divider:

A fair amount goes on in a little space:

Once the crosspieces were all test-fitted, I could move to assembling the drawer support framing to the case:

The drawer rails are partially supported by the tenon connections on the crosspieces, which are in turn mechanically connected to the rear of the latticed panel units by way of a tongue and groove connection:

I’ve been waiting months to see this stage reached:

You may wonder what the mortise in the middle of the vertical strut at the back is for:

After all, the vertical strut at the front does not have such a mortise:

A little mark from the power planer needs to be attended to there. Many of the parts are yet to be finish planed.

With the demountable back frame assembly in place at the back, we can see the connection to the back of the drawer partition framing, and that a hammerhead key connection is placed in the middle stile. This key passes right through the stile and into the mortise shown earlier on the back drawer framing’s middle strut.

This is a junction which, in concert with cross-wise dadoes on the back panel middle stile, serves to lock the back panel frame to the drawer partitioning and help support it against any tendency to sag

I’m doing a certain bit of load distribution to ward off any potential deleterious loading or even simply the effects of time and gravity on the framing by having adjacent members contribute to each other’s strength once connected. It’s one of the main aspects to the way the framing joints developed for this cabinet, working with constraints brought about by assembly sequence, along with to adhering to stock size limits I had with the frame material, and a design direction pushing ever-lighter framing elements in the first place. This, to interest of maximizing air flow and giving a graceful appearance.

At this stage I at last have the opportunity to drive the hammerhead key in and that will allow me to mark out the location of the fixing pin on the interior:

Additional strength is achieved once the two frameworks are locked together. The key’s head, once seated, sits slightly proud of the surface and will receive a light chamfer soon enough:

Also securing the back frame’s outer stiles to the associated rear posts are 8 lipped keys, four per side, I thought worth a mention, one of which is shown here slid partway into position:

All for this time – thanks so much for dropping by and having a look-see. Comments always welcome.

13 Replies to “Dark Chocolate and Sponge Cake (31)”

  1. Chris;
    Very awesome joinery! Once together and locked in place should be very rigid! Coming together nicely! Thanks!

    1. JT,

      I appreciate your comment. I’m thinking that once the panels are fitted to all those battens, it should stiffen up the entire structure a lot more yet.

  2. Amazing work as always. I am astounded by the complexity of the joinery and how everything has a purpose and an awful lot of thought in every aspect of the design. Just amazing! Your joinery is unmatched by any present day builders and it’s such a pleasure to see it all at unfold on your blog. All the best my friend.

    1. Charlie,

      I’m sure there are many woodworkers out there who can leave me in the dust, but it is nice to read your sentiments all the same. Thanks so much!

    1. Stan, thanks very much for the comment. The question you pose, if asked by a different person might be: “Why did you incorporate the Star of David as a motif?”

      The answer would be the same in both cases: there was no conscious effort to adopt that motif- rather, the design came about by other means. Hexagons, shall we say, have been done before, so I wasn’t so focussed on the geometric pattern, which is nothing new, as I was on making a ventilated side panel which oriented the sticks so as to obtain a strong bracing against shear, just like a Town lattice truss bridge.The idea of a cabinet with latticed side panels is inspired by Chinese examples. Also, the lattice makes use of a Japanese ‘impossible weave’ joinery technique which I had done in the past in orthogonal arrangement and had long wanted a reason to employ it hexagonally. There was a Japanese influence in there after all, and it wasn’t the Kagome design pattern.

      1. I’m really liking the basket weave effect. They seem to vibrate.

  3. Chris,
    Once again you left me nearly speechless with your achieved grad of precision. I really like it when all the countless bits and tiny pieces are coming together as supposed and a glimps of the finished piece is revealed. 🙂
    Often only in these phase of the build I recognise how tiny most of the pieces and therefore the joinery is. Your furniture is really something special! I would looove to own a piece of furniture made by Chris Hall, but I fear it’s a bit out of my range. 😉
    Best wishes

    1. Marc,

      i’m pleased to read your comment and that you noticed that with this piece, a lot of the joinery on on a smallish scale compared to most pieces of furniture. That is one of the challenges that comes with trying to keep the frame pieces as svelte as one can, within the limits of the material, and I knew when I started in that working with small joints and delicate parts was going to present added difficulties. It’s been fun so far..

  4. Piece is coming together nicely, and your joinery is mesmerizing! Your hammerhead key is brilliant. I like what you did there to defy the pull of gravity, very smart and cool. Thank you for sharing your high quality work, it is inspiring.

    1. Pascal,

      as I work through these closing stages in the build, I find myself increasingly nervous, however all is okay so far. Glad you liked the joinery detail between the back frame and the drawer framing.

    1. Tom,

      certainly a lot of white flecks to be seen in the material, which I enjoy. Thanks for the comment.

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