Dark Chocolate and Sponge Cake (32)

The next step with this futon cabinet build was drawer fitting. The first thing I did was to see if the dry-fit drawers, without any adjusting, were decently close to the framed opening size, without being undersize in width, and happily this turned out to be the result:

As it turned out, each drawer side’s running surfaces needed but two or three strokes with a plane to obtain the required drawer box width:

Once the drawer boxes were looking good, I trimmed the drawer fronts to width, slightly inside of the drawer box width, and then proceeded to adjust by plane until the fronts were fitting into their openings:

The fit is slightly difficult to gauge since the drawer fronts will be receiving multiple coats of a film-building finish, and I wanted to size the fronts so that they would fit without rubbing the surrounding frame after the finish was done. I’m allowing for a gap at top and bottom edges of 0.015″ at the moment, but may increase this:

Another view – some further hand planing to the top edge of the drawer fronts done in situ:

From the back you can see how the whole thing ties together more or less:

I need to sort something out with drawer stops, and I think the simplest way to provide adjustable stops would be via bolted-in blocks, however I am now questioning whether the blocks need to have any adjustability at all and if simply gluing in blocks, say, might just be a fine alternative. I can think of ways to do it with joinery, mind you….

Seemed like as good a time as any to drill the drawer fronts for the handles, and see how they look slid into position:

With that looking more or less sorted, I turned my attention to the last bit of joinery work on the cabinet’s frame elements: the front doors. After cutting out the four rails and completing their tenons, the last step on the connections was to form the jaguchi, a little flap of wood with a miter on the end of the rail to give a clean fit at the junction between rail and still. This allows the chamfer to flow smoothly around the connection.

To cut the mitered surface, I employ an 8-flute metalworking 45˚ dovetail bit, keeping a little piece of wood clamped the the exit face to keep spelching to a zero level:

Here’s a look at the largely-completed joints at one end, the upper rails at the top:

Then the rails could be fitted to the stiles. This one is nearly drawn up:

It looks like the haunched portion of the tenon may be a hair long, and that keeps the mitered flap from coming tight to the chamfered arris on the stile. Another view:

The doors main framing elements are set aside for the time being. I then tackled the work on the dovetailed battens, of which there are four per door, two tenons per batten. Here I’m cleaning up the tenon shoulders, two battens ganged:

I’ve made the doors only about 1″ (25mm) thick, and with the panel occupying some 3/8″ (9.5mm) of that thickness, there isn’t a lot of room for the battens in terms of depth.

Battens serve mainly to interlock with the panels with sliding dovetails to provide the doors with a means of resisting shear loading from gravity which would otherwise lead the doors to sag, and secondarily the battens can aid in keeping panels flat. The taller the batten sections, the greater will be their stiffness and ability to keep the panel flat. With the panels being quartersawn mahogany, I do not anticipate any issues with cupping or the like, however I did want the battens to be reasonably stiff in that direction all the same.

My solution to the apparently cramped space on the stiles for the battens was to make the battens deeper, so they actually stick out beyond the plane of the door, and space them so that they do not run into any interior framing elements, and scallop their ends to as to allow them to terminate cleanly into the stiles.

Here’s a look at the scalloped transitions on the end of the battens:

Another view:

After fitting the battens to all the involved mortises on the door stiles, a dry fit assembly of the door frame could get underway:

Here’s how the connection looks on the hinge stile of the door where the lower rail meets:

Once the door was together in dry-fit, it could be placed in the opening to see if things were looking copacetic:

The door is nice and square and seems to fit well generally:

The process was repeated with the other door’s frame members, and a while later I could put the assembled second door into place for a look-see:

As the rail tenons are proud on the stile exit faces for the time-being, the doors cannot close up in the middle, so the second door’s hanging stile rests atop the tenons:

Another view:

That completes the joinery work on the framing elements, so another milestone in the build is reached.

Remaining joinery work involves the panels for the doors and the demountable cabinet back. Lotsa sliding dovetails to come. The drawer fronts are getting their finish now and hoping to have the drawers glued up before too long.

Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Post 33 is next in this thread.

15 Replies to “Dark Chocolate and Sponge Cake (32)”

  1. Chris
    l like the scalloped battens, strength and elegance, but that seems the pattern of the whole cabinet. And its always fun to see those delicate shavings emerging from the plane !

  2. Looking very good! Are the drawers in Mahogany too? I like the different shade. What kind of finish are you going to use?

    1. Pascal,

      glad you like it so far. The drawers are Honduran mahogany, except for the drawer fronts, which are Shedua. I thought the shedua would go nicely with mahogany, adding a bit of curly figure, and would also be a nod to the previously made dining room cabinet, which also had shedua drawer fronts and accents.

      The finish on the cabinet will be hand-planed with wax applied, except the drawer fronts will have gloss Enduro Var (a urethane-based finish). I thought having the glossy drawer fronts appear when the doors were opened would be a nice counterpoint to the satin finish otherwise, a little surprise/glimmer when the cabinet was opened.

    1. Most kind of you to say, Don. I think the look of the cabinet will transform significantly once the panels are put in, and I am curious to see how it comes out.

  3. Chris,
    OK, a little late but I’ve been obsessing over this whole thread for days while I try to figure it out similar joinery for a project I’ve been working on. I hope you might help with a technical design question.

    I’m trying to copy, or at least imitate, the half lap joints you have on the sill and header. I’ve got the miters and such but I’m stuck on the trenches/mortises for the “sachi sen.” I see the locations and orientations but I’m not quite clear on their dimensions. I’m guessing they are parallelograms that are about 0.25 on the long axis and 0.125 on the short axis? And laid out to avoid the post mortise? Any other design considerations?

    For what it’s worth, my project tentatively will have sill/header members that are 2.25″ wide and 1.25″ tall. I’m thinking the sachi sen might be something like 0.125 by 0.25 in section.

    1. Gary,

      I would say your shachi sen sections are not quite ideal. Make them thinner and a bit wider if you can, aiming for at least a 1:3 between thickness and width. The closer they are to a square section, the more they become capable of rolling under load.

      My joinery monograph on the box miter joint goes into details concerning shachi sen, so you might want to look there too.

      1. Ah, thanks. I’m also looking really hard at how you (and Brian) are doing the 270 degree offset pivot hinges. I think I have it figured out based on your pix, and am eager to see what they look like installed.

Anything to add?

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