Small Cabinet Is Big on Details
Proud joinery and playful shadows take center stage
Synopsis: On the surface, this is a simple cabinet, but it’s the surface that really sets this project apart. Proud joinery and slightly offset components in the case and door create a symphony of highlights and shadows. The mortise-and-tenon joinery is made simple through the use of a spacer that ensures accuracy without measuring. Blue tape, used as a guide when sawing and chopping the joints, ensures a perfect fit without fuss. The case dovetails are rabbeted at the rear edge to accommodate the back. The door is traditional frame-and-panel construction, with a hinge strip that simplifies mortising.
While this cabinet doesn’t have over-the-top ornamentation such as moldings or veneers, it still has personality. Slightly offset surfaces and proud joinery create a quiet symphony of highlights and shadows that avoid the monotony of flush parts and make this cabinet come alive. It’s a simple technique that can add interest to any casework. I’ll show you some tricks for creating the offsets that don’t complicate the construction. The project is also loaded with other tips on doing more accurate work with less measuring, lessons I’ve been teaching my students. You’ll discover that laying out joinery with marking gauges and spacer blocks instead of a ruler and pencil makes the work faster and more fun. Finally, you’ll see how basic blue painter’s tape ensures clean, accurate results when laying out and cutting mortise-and-tenon joints.
Work on the case parts first While it’s tempting to mill all of the stock for a project at once, it’s better to build the case first and then make the door and drawer parts to fit their openings. This technique allows for changes along the way, reduces the risk of errors, and ensures that various components fit perfectly.…