Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yes! We're Nearly There!

Well, the cabinet carcases are nearly done. I got into the shop this weekend, in spite of the cold, and finished all of the cutting operations on the base & upper carcases. All I have left to do is sweeten a couple of joints, then sand everything & glue them up. Well, then I have to make and apply the moldings, finish, and make the doors, but most of the work is done.

I started on Saturday by finishing sizing the two backs to the base cabinet. This started by cutting the panels to size with the blades square. It turns out that I have to cut them on a 45° bevel to get the look I wanted, so I tilted the blade & went to it. I sneaked up on all of the cuts & got everything exactly as I wanted it.

Then it was time to pull the DW621 & the shelf pin jig out and drill the shelf pin holes. To do this, the first thing I did was put the back for the right side in the left opening. This put the end of the panel where the shelf pin holes had to be next to my marks for the holes I already drilled on the sides. I then transferred my line to the panel with a small mark, and I extended that line with my speed square. Now it was just a simple matter of aligning the jig on my line & drilling. I repeated this procedure on the other panel.

After this was done, I did have to sweeten the rabbets on the top & bottom shelves on one side. They weren't quite deep enough. If you recall, when I made the template for the shelves, I found that one side varied from the other by about 1/16". Well, as it turns out, this affected how the panel aligned with the rabbet in the back of the sides, leaving a small gap. I had to deepen the rabbets on one side in order to get everything right.

Here's the base cabinet after all of the work on the backs was done. This is still just a dry fit at this point. I feel very good about the way this turned out, and how quickly I got it here. I know I've been making sawdust on this project for three weeks now, but this is the quickest I've gotten to this stage on a project ever, and with so few mistakes to boot.

So after a short break for lunch, I got started working on the upper cabinet carcase. I fit the top & bottom shelves for this carcase into the glued-up sides & face frame stiles, then I measured for the face frame rails. I cut these to length, then drilled pocket holes in the rails. Next I joined the face frame together. While driving one of the screws for the top rail home, the head popped off. I was using a corded drill that doesn't have a clutch because the batteries on my Makita cordless had died earlier. So I had to drill a new pocket hole on that side.

I also noticed that even though I used the face frame clamp that came with my pocket hole jig kit, the face frame rails were slightly out of alignment on the face side. I don't know why that should be. I had the clamp good and tight, like I did on the base cabinet, so I'm at a loss on this.

After the face frame was together, I drilled the pocket holes in the top & bottom shelves. I then joined the shelves to the frame. Next came gluing the feet to the bottom of the bottom shelf. I layed their positions out & glued them. It was so cold, I had to do this inside in a heated area of the house. And I had to let them sit in the clamps for a couple of hours while the glue dried.

Once the feet were dry enough, I cut the narrow back piece to length & size. Again, I sneaked up on the right size with the blade beveled to 45°. I then went to cut the wide back panels to length & realized I couldn't make the cut with my Osbourne EB-3 miter guage, and I couldn't do it with my crosscut sled -- the panels were just too wide for either. At this point, it was dark out & I just quit for the night.

Here's the base cabinet & the upper cabinet as they were at the end of the day on Saturday.

You can't see it in this picture , but the joint between the face frame stile & the side at the top on the right has a small space in it. This is the side panel that I screwed up while cutting the birds mouth. I may have sanded that area a little bit too much while prepping it after filling the saw kerf with Bondo. The space is smaller than 1/32" , but it's about 6" long.

When I finish the piece, I will make some putty out of saw dust from another piece of white oak & some shellac, along with some stain to get the color to match. You shouldn't even be able to notice the space if I do this right.

On Sunday, we went to church in the morning. We brought one of my daughter's friends with us, and we stopped after church for some lunch at a diner in Connecticut. So we didn't make it home until about 3 pm. At that point, I figured out a way to cut the back panels to the right length, even though I didn't have anything wide enough to handle the panels.

What I did was add an auxilliary fence to the original miter guage that came with my saw. I then put it in the miter slot backwards, so the front of the fence faced me. I was able to get the boards through the saw. One board ended up a little shorter than it's supposed to be & not square, but that end is going to be hidden by the rabbet on the top shelf. The other panel turned out OK.

After getting them cut to length, I cut them to width. They're still a 1/32" to 1/16" too wide, but I'll trim that off when I fine tune everything. I'm going to have to fine tune the rabbets on the sides since I have similar problem as I did with the rabbets on the top & bottom shelves for the base cabinet, only this time the rabbets in the sides aren't deep enough.

Finally, I drilled the remaining shelf pin holes, using the same technique I used on the base cabinet back panels. Here's how the completed, dry fit carcases look right now.

As I've said, I have a few things that need to be fine tuned and corrected. I'll be working on these during the week, if the weather cooperates. I also need to get a radiant heater for the garage -- I'm getting really tired of working in the cold and winter's not even here yet.

This has turned out better than I'd hoped so far, and I'm extremely happy. Next, take it all apart, sand, and glue it up.


neil said...

Hi Tony....

Man you are coming along. Looks great.
Love the thought process you took us through on the back panel, (a paraphase..) "went to church, a stop at a CT Dinner, home by 3pm and by then I figured out a solution." Great stuff!!

I went back to an earlier post on your drawering and was wondering if the back of the case looks like the drawering or did you just extend the length of upper cabinet parts to create the space for the belly molding?

Tony.....really coming along, I guess we can now check off one of the "dry fits" from your procedures list.


Tony V said...

Hey, Neil!

Thanks a lot! I appreciate the encouragement!

You've got a good eye! The back as it is put together is indeed slightly different from the drawing. In the original drawing, I didn't have the narrow back piece sitting in a rabbet; it is just attached to the outside of the shelves & the back panels.

Originally I was going to put this piece on last, but I didn't quite like the way this looked in the drawing.It just looked like the cabinet was going to be too narrow in the back.

So I cut the rabbets in the back of the shelves, which effectively made the narrow part wider. It also makes the cabinet a little shallower, both inside & outside The difference in volume inside is minimal, while it should mean it will fit into corners a little better.

It also means that when I do the glue up, I have to install the narrow piece before I put in any of the back panels, or the cabinet will not go together at all. No big deal, but I think it ends up looking better than the drawing.


Tony V said...


I just realized I didn't answer your question.

The drawing shows a cove molding under what looks like a top shelf at the top of the base cabinet, and the upper cabinet appears to sit on top of this shelf. This is an illusion, designed to mask the joint between the two cabinets.

The cove molding will be applied even with the top of the base cabinet face frame. There will then be three flat pieces mitered, glued & nailed to the top of the cove molding. They will create the appearance of being a shelf, and the joint line between the two cabinets will actually be behind these pieces.

The upper cabinet base will then have a quarter round molding glued & nailed to it that will rest on top of these faux shelf pieces. This will also help to mask the joint. The quarter rounds will only be attached to the upper cabinet.

Hope this makes sense.


Tony V said...

God, my reading comprehension is not what it should be today.

The back of the cabinet does indeed look like the drawing, except for the bit with the narrow back piece. I'll post a picture of it some time soon.