Friday, February 22, 2008

Byrdcliffe Wall Cabinet, Pt. 2

Today its time to finish the Byrdcliffe wall Cabinet. Last weekend I mainly focused on carving the door panel and preparing the stock. The plan called for 8 inch wide sides, top and bottom, but in an effort to be more economic, and to keep this project simple for beginners, I used 1x8 poplar from Lowes. After carefully chosing the best grain patter for the sides I rough cut the boards on my mitersaw. I then took the boards to the tablesaw with my extrawide miter guage I cut the stock to the correct lengths.
I ripped down some nice pieces for the door stiles but I left the side stiles long, I'll trim them down after glueup. A little bit of glue on the tenons and in the ends of the stiles, none on the panel, I glued up the door leaving the stiles running long. The panel has been carved and a sealing coat of clear shellac was applied. I borrowed a technique from Robert Lang out of Popular Woodworking Magazine and used water color pencils and to color the flower and then artist brushed dipped in water to blend the colors. After it dried overnight I sprayed on two more coats of clear shellac to seal in the watercolor paint.
I set-up the dado blade to match the thickness of the poplar, 3/4 inch, setting it at 1/4 inch high I ran the rabet's for the sides, the dado's in the top and bottom for the divider, and the dado's in the divider and the left side. After a careful dry fit I set up to run the rabets in the sides and the top and bottom to receive the back. The nice thing here is that because of the design of the sides and top and bottom, there is no need to cut the corners out in the back rabet. The 3/4 inch x 1/4 inch back rabet meets up the the top and bottom rabet to form a nice clean corner.
I sanded all the parts to 180 grit and carefully glued up the case. Checking for square by measuring diagonally from all corners while the glue is still wet.

Once the glue up was all clamped I measured the height of the back panel and cut the boards to length. I then run a 3/8 inch x 3/8 inch rabet along each side of the back slats, one on the front, one on the back. This is called a shiplapped back, it allows for wood movement along the cross grain to long grain. The original piece has a solid back panel running horizontally across the back, and while this small of a piece movement shouldn't be too big of problem I've decided to follow the Popular Woodworking plan and use a shiplapped back running vertically. With the boards cut I lay them out in the rabet using a Quarter as a spacer between each board. I determine the width of the side pieces and rip them to size on the tablesaw. Laying the boards out one by one I glue only the tops and bottoms and hold them in place with 5/8 inch brad nails.

When the glue has dried and the clamps removed I reinforce the rabet joints with brad nails for a little added strength. While I know how alot of you feel about brad nails, its a perfectly appropriate way to add strength to this piece. Byrdcliffe was never known for complex joinery and in fact some pieces were just held together with nails.

Once the glue has dried and the clamps removed I trimmed the door to size leaving a 1/16th inch gap around the door. I then used a black plane to bevel the inside of the knob side of the door. I installed the non-mortise hinges using a quick and easy method I read about in a woodworking magazine some time ago. I placed a mark at 2 inches from the top and the bottom and used two sided tape on the back of the hinges, lining them up I press the tape onto side of the cabinet. This holds the hinges in place while you drill the pilot holes and intall the screws.
I drilled a hole for the knob centered on the stile and at the centerline of the shelf. I placed a stopblock at the bottom of the cabinet and used a favorite trick to hold the door closed. Instead of mounting a closure divice on the side I drill a 3/8 inch wide hole inside the open space on the fixed side of the non-mortise hinge and insert a steel cup and rare earth magenet, the magenet holds the hinge closed until you gently pull on the knob. Lastly I branded my log on the inside of the door and handsand the entire piece with 220 grit sand paper and a sanding block. The next step is a few coats of clear danish oil to highlight the grain in the poplar followed by a coat of clear wax to give it a the piece a nice feel. This is a beautiful piece that is meant to be touched and used. In the next post in this series I'll apply the finish and show you closeups of some of the details.

Better the rudest work that tells a story or records a fact, than the richest without meaning. John Ruskin

No comments: