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The display case fits the room pretty close to how I imagined it would and everyone is happy to see the finished result.
A few months back I wrote about mocking up my latest project, an Arts and Crafts display case. The style is traditional, but the design is original, so I really wanted to get an idea of not only the proportions but also of how it would fill the space it was intended for. I recently brought it in from the shop and received a nod of approval from my most demanding client, my wife.
If you’d like to see how I made it, you can check out the next issue of Fine Woodworking. An article on the case will give you all of the dimensions you need and details of construction, as well as some tips on making an accurate template for routing the through mortises.
Also, the Master Class department will show you how to make the leaded-glass door panels. It’s a dirt-simple technique and adds a nice touch.
More on designing furniture• Fine-Tune Designs Before You Build• Mock-ups Quicken the Design Process• A Quick Course in SketchUp• A Guide to Good Design• 9 Tips for Better Design• Create Project Plans from Photos
More articles and projects by Michael Pekovich• Project: Cherry Chest of Drawers• Article: Frame-and-Panel Doors Made Easy• Article: Hone Your Hand-Tool Skills• Q&A: Trouble With Table Design • Gallery: Post-and-Rung Chair• Gallery: Shaker-Inspired Secretary
I made this quick mock up out of hot glue, luaun plywood and craft paper in order to get a sense of proportion and a feel for how it would fit the room. It was also a great way to get input from family members.
A versatile cabinet. I intended the piece to be able to serve as a sideboard in a dining area or bookcase in a den or living room. The shelves behind the doors are deep enough to hold the average dinner plate. The 36-inch high top puts a reading lamp at the perfect height.
Leaded glass doors are not that difficult. Instead of wooden muntins, I decided to break out my glass cutter and soldering iron and make leaded glass panels for the doors. If you've never tried it, the technique is a lot easier that you might think. It took me about two hours to make the panels.
Hardware can make or break a traditional piece like this. I chose hand-hammered hardware made by Gerald Rucks. He makes each pull one at a time. The pyramid screws are an authentic touch but are a little tricky to install. The square corners can scratch the plate if the screws aren't threaded in straight. I used an open-end wrench and went slow.
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As an amateur hobbiest, I nearly always make a full sized mock up of a original furniture design. That is the only way I can tell what it will look like. I designed and made a cherry fireplace mantle for my daughter's house, but first made a mock up of poplar. It was good, but I did change some of the dimentions. The mock up was also very nice and went into my neighbor's house with shaker pegs added for their son's baseball cap collection. Several years ago I wanted to copy the cajun style table I saw in one of my woodworking magazines. I made a pine mock up and in the process made several mock ups of the legs before they looked right. The final product was so satisfactory that it became a desk for my granddaughter. I never did make the intended final piece. The trial leg pieces went into the scrap heap. I really believe in the value mock ups.
There are many fine ways to mock up a piece, and I definitely find the effort worthwhile. If you get the dimensions or proportions wrong, it will displease you forever.
One really simple way to mock up a project is to use blue painters tape on a wall of your house to make a real size sketch of your design. It's not three dimensional, but it has helped me to judge the proper spacing of cabinet doors, the proper thickness of legs, rails, and stiles, and the appropriate overall size for the location.
For those of you (us) who are not proficient in sketch up, this is pretty reassuring technology.
Lovely cabinet especially the leaded glass doors. I used to do mock-ups and build miniatures to work out design problems. Now SketchUp replaced all that. I can now build the furniture and put in the room look and walk all around it and behind it. And it's much more realistic than the cardboard and plywood mockups I used to make. And if I don't like something about the design I can change it easily and not have to burn up any scraps. If you haven't tried it out it's free from Google.
This is a beautiful piece of furniture displaying great grain, finish and proportions of the cabinets to the shelf area. It is nice to see the mock up in the planned location as well. This is a keeper for me to replicate and I look forward to your article in FWW!
I've taken to making full prototypes of projects that have "interesting" shapes, require complicated joinery, or even have simple joinery that I've never done before. It pays . . . big time . . . because the cheap wood I use in prototypes can get toss into the fire pit without remorse. And, better yet, a couple of the prototypes are in full, daily use!
Very classy design and great proportions.
Nice job, Mike, as usual. I followed your lead on making a mockup. Check out my blog at:
You have created a very attractive piece. The details in the next issue of FWW will help me decide if I have the skill to tackle this project. I hope I do.
Do you have other pieces available to view on the web?
Very nice! I can't wait to read the details in the next issue.
Cut nails and a clever lid clinch a traditional Japanese toolbox
Grids and cutouts define a practical piece
Fast, fun approach to making a comfortable, casual seat
In this video Michael finishes the first of the three boxes. Gluing-up, planing, sanding and finishing bring a new piece of art to the world.
In this video Michael starts work on the second box, a carved and painted Saddle lid box.
Michael begins carving the saddle lid box with his ripple pattern along the top. Then turns to his 5/30 gouge to texture the sides of the box. This isn't work…
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