Transform Reclaimed Cedar Siding into Beautiful Cabinet Panels

comments (4) October 11th, 2011 in blogs

jtetreault John Tetreault, Deputy Art Director
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Heres a photo of the clapboards before I cleaned them up and ran them through the planer.
The finish on the clapboards beat up the planer blades, but at thirty dollars for a set of two-sided blades, I figured it was worth it. In this photo you can see the nice, tight grain revealed after planing.
I planed the panels down to a half-inch thick and used the existing rabbet, shortened to a half-inch long. They sit in a groove in the rails and legs.
Heres a detail of the rail to leg joint.
Through dovetails for the top of the legs.
Cleaning up all the parts.
Pegs attach the tenons on the rails to the legs.
I glued up the end assemblys first. Here you can see the rest of the case ready for glue-up.
The final case glue-up.
The finished cabinet.
Heres a detail photo of the leg/rail joint.
The finished cabinet open.
Heres a photo of the clapboards before I cleaned them up and ran them through the planer. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Here's a photo of the clapboards before I cleaned them up and ran them through the planer.

Photo: John Tetreault

I recently completed a commissioned piece for an alter cloth storage cabinet and had to get creative with the material used to keep the project on budget.


The client liked the idea of using red cedar to help protect the cloths, but we soon realized just how pricey this species can be. The original design had red cedar legs and cherry plywood panels. After coming across some red cedar siding, I altered the design, using poplar for the legs and cedar for the panels. This allowed me to keep the material costs down, but better yet, the client ended up with an upgrade to solid wood panels.

The cedar had a beautiful, straight grain and the warm brownish-red tones offered a nice contrast against the light colored poplar. These particular red cedar pieces came from interior wall boards that were used instead of sheetrock in a log home. The few pieces of cedar I have left would also work well as door panels. I think I'll put them aside to be used for a linen closet or a small bathroom cabinet down the road.

When the chest part of the alter cloth cabinet was completed, I built the lid out of solid poplar. The brass lid stay that I bought for the project didn't look quite go with the overall look of the cabinet, so I came up with a more organic looking alternative.

 Follow this link for a cool tip on how to make a handmade lid stay.


posted in: blogs, how to, cabinet, cedar, recycled wood, clapboards

Comments (4)

mburns mburns writes: What a handsome piece. Very nice choice of joint for the top of the leg. Sweet.
Posted: 5:16 pm on October 23rd

aronde aronde writes: Besides the use of reclaimed wood, I'm particularly impressed with the through dovetails for the leg/rail joints. Had not come across this. Great inspiration
Posted: 3:30 am on October 23rd

JeffB JeffB writes: That is a very handsome cabinet. Like the colors and the joinery.
Posted: 8:54 pm on October 13th

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: Nice recycling job, John.

For the rest of us who don't have access to old WRC clapboards, you might consider using standard WRC decking - 5/4 by 6" (5 1/2" actual). Yes, you can buy clapboards - but the ones I've seen are all beveled - and cost as much per sf.

John looks to have clear WRC boards - this stuff new does cost a fortune. But I find the knotty stuff to be just fine - and a lot less - about $1 lf as I remember. I buy 16' lengths as they seem to be clearer.

I've used a bunch for outdoor stuff - Garden Benches, Adirondack Chairs, etc. and not panels. But for panels I think I'd resaw in half. When finished planing, I would think we would have close to 1/2". A little less perhaps, but enough.
Posted: 1:41 am on October 13th

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