Furniture Lab

Furniture Lab

Furniture Lab: Tech Cabinet Grand Finale

comments (4) June 3rd, 2011 in blogs

jtetreault John Tetreault, Deputy Art Director
thumbs up 16 users recommend

I added dovetailed rails to the case front. Glued and attached with copper nails. I left one rail below the center gallery un-glued and turned it into a secret drawer.
To seal any possible lead solder from contact i used a spray satin polyurethane. Four coats on each side left a nice sheen.
An 1/8th inch kerf from the tablesaw blade held the panels firmly in place. I used through tenons for the frame construction.
Heres the door glue-up with the panels locked in.
I had to rip straight edges on all the door parts to get nice square mortise and tenon joints. I wanted to get back the natural patina edge on the center gallery section of the door, so I carefully chose a close grain (and texture) match from scrap pieces and glued on 1/4 thick edging.
Attaching the door was a bit tricky because of the natural edge of the case front. I first attached the hinges to the straight edge of the door. Then I fine tuned the depth of each hinges mortise in the case side to get the door to swing smoothly.
I added a 12 light LED light strip in the gallery and a single blinking red light to each of the circuit panels just for fun. I first drilled a hole in the panel and attached the single light. Then ran the wires across the panel, securing them with tiny copper wires looped through tiny holes in the panel. To pass by where the door swings, I used the black casing from standard house wiring and fed it through the edge of the stile. I left a little slack and then attached it to the underside of the shelf.
Heres the switch set into the top.
I drilled holes into the back to recess the wire nuts for the light connections but left the rest of the wires exposed.
Finished photos! Heres the cabinet from the front. With a slow shutter speed on the camera, you can see both red blinking LED lights in the panels. The center gallery fits a Bose sound dock perfectly and surrounded by all the antique wood, it sounds great!
Heres the front view with the door open showing the hidden drawer. The drawer is shallow but great for a small laptop or ipad.
Detail showing the contrast between the weathered wood and satin finished circuit panel.
I added dovetailed rails to the case front. Glued and attached with copper nails. I left one rail below the center gallery un-glued and turned it into a secret drawer. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

I added dovetailed rails to the case front. Glued and attached with copper nails. I left one rail below the center gallery un-glued and turned it into a secret drawer.

Photo: John Tetreault

It's always interesting to try and combine the old and rough, with the new and smooth. Such was the case with my first Furniture Lab project. Dubbed the "Tech Cabinet," this pseudo-chimney cupboard incroporated hi-tech-looking printed circuit boards and LED lighting, with weathered old barn boards that have been aging in the great outdoors for the better part of 100 years (or maybe even more!).

Learn About the Entire Tech Cabinet Build

This project didn't come to be without its fair share of problem situations that required smart solutions. Trying to cut precise joinery with wood that has largely been left untouched (ie: un-milled) can be quite difficult, to say the least, but all the trial-and-error, finagling, and head-scratching were worth it. The contrasts that abound on this piece make it what it is, and I think it's fair to say that there aren't too many cabinets quite like it.

See my gallery of photos for a detailed description on the construction process. And don't forget to check back for more Furniture Lab projects from other Fine Woodworking staffers. Who knows, I might throw myself back in the mix too--sooner than you think!

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, cabinet, reclaimed, salvaged, rustic furniture, steampunk

Comments (4)

a_Furnitologist a_Furnitologist writes: You all will please excuse me but I can't let the spam or drivel for comments push a more meaningful post down.

Again I want to make the Furniture Lab aware of WoodExpo Call for Entries. A perfect opportunity to show what you are up to and where you believe woodworking is headed.

You can find the video call for entries here:

Look forward to seeing you there.......Neil Lamens
Posted: 10:04 am on June 8th

MrFalcon MrFalcon writes: Great job, you crazy kid:) -Mr. Falcon's mama
Posted: 9:29 pm on June 4th

Metchosin_David Metchosin_David writes: Where did you get my Twitter name?

Posted: 8:49 am on June 4th

a_Furnitologist a_Furnitologist writes: Hey Furniture Lab:

How about presenting your stuff to the public at WoodExpo2012.

Here's a video introduction for the Call for Entries:

Big success last year and where looking to up game.

It's all about the "Next Step" in furniture design.

Lets see what you got

Neil Lamens
Furnitology Productions

Posted: 8:00 am on June 4th

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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.