Furniture Lab

Furniture Lab

Furniture Lab: Tech Cabinet Part 2

comments (4) May 25th, 2011 in blogs

jtetreault John Tetreault, Deputy Art Director
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To cut the through-tenons on the shelves I simply clamped all of them together and used a hand saw to define the cheeks.
A router made quick work of removing the waste between the tenon cheeks.
When routing out the waste I nicked one of the tenons. If these were regular tenons the nick would have been hidden in the mortise, but since they are through-tenons and will be seen, I picked a similar grain from a scrap piece and made a tenon plug of sorts.
The scrub plane sure is a fun tool to use. I adjusted the blade to take shallow cuts and deliberately lined up the scalloping with the grain for all shelves. This texture will compliment the weathered texture of the case sides.
I marked the shelf through-tenons on the case sides and then drilled tiny holes at the four corners of the mortise location.
From the exterior of the case sides I used a forstner bit to drill out most of the waste and then carefully squared up the mortise with a chisel.
I cut slots on all the shelf tenons where wedges will be added later. After test fitting all the shelves, I disassembled everything and added glue to the shelf dados and a little drop on each of the tenon cheeks. Lots of clamps and cauls pulled it all together and one long clamp on opposite corners held the case square.
I cut the dovetails for the top purposely a little tight, so no clamps were needed once it was tapped in place. You can get away with this on a softwood like pine, but I wouldnt recommend using this technique with hardwoods.

To cut the through-tenons on the shelves I simply clamped all of them together and used a hand saw to define the cheeks.


To cut the through-tenons on the shelves I simply clamped all of them together and used a hand saw to define the cheeks.

Photo: John Tetreault

Furniture Lab Tech Cabinet - Part II
Follow along as Fine Woodworking associate art director John Tetreault constructs a cabinet using reclaimed materials found during our recent trek to southern Massachusetts.

Things are really beginning to speed up at this point of the Tech Cabinet build. The dados for the shelves have been cut in the case sides and the dovetails have been cut to accept the top. Next, I broke out the scrub plane to surface the interior shelves. The undulating surface that the scrub plane produces mimics the weathered exterior boards of the case sides. Browse through the photos above, where I show you how I made the through-tenons on the shelves and a little trick to cut mortises on the case sides when you want to keep the original patina of the wood.

Once the shelves were done, I was ready for the case glue-up. It was a little tricky with all those through-tenons, but I tackled the case first and then tapped home the dovetails on the top.

I'll be back next week, with the conclusion of the project and plenty of final beauty shots!

More Projects by John Tetreault

The 3-Hour Cabinet
Bending Dovetails
Make Your Own Leather Chisel Roll
Video: Build a Hybrid Roubo Workbench  

Watch the Furniture Lab Junkyard Visit
Be sure to read Asa Christiana's story outlining the original idea and intent of Furniture Lab, plus, watch our original Furniture Lab junkyard visit. John Tetreault, Tom McKenna, and Anatole Burkin visited an old salvage yard for some quirky design inspiration. 

posted in: blogs, how to, dovetails, furniture lab, rustic furniture, salvaged furniture, barn board, reclaimed lumber

Comments (4)

thomassir857 thomassir857 writes: The blog is unique that’s providing the nice material. Please post more interesting articles here.
read more
Posted: 3:05 am on June 13th

Barnhouse Barnhouse writes: I recommend coating circuit boards with some kind of finish - you don't want to get lead on your hands every time you touch your cabinet or whatever...
Posted: 10:23 pm on June 1st

jtetreault jtetreault writes: Thanks Paul,
The scrub plane was a lot of fun to use. The texture is shallow enough to allow objects to sit flat on the shelf, but deep enough to have a great wavy feel to it. I should have the final construction photos up soon!
Posted: 1:47 pm on May 31st

Wixom Wixom writes: I can't wait to see the cabinet when it's done, especially the marks from the scrub plane. It's looking cool so far. Paul
Posted: 6:01 pm on May 28th

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About Furniture Lab

Inspired by the steampunk and recycled furniture movements, Furniture Lab allows the editors of Fine Woodworking magazine and to really let their hair down.

Here, you'll find us cooking up all manner of design experiments. We aim to incorporate salvaged and recylced items into our furniture and will be veering way off the traditional path of Fine Woodworking.