The finish cabinet – day two

Something that I’ve learned from my lost year is that I need to take more time on my projects and not rush things so much. I need to be more intentional with my actions. I need to learn when an appropriate time to take a break is. Projects don’t have to be done as fast as possible. That also means when I have a project with a deadline I have to start sooner.

On Saturday, I chose to stop after I had glued up the cherry hardwood trim on all four components of the cabinet box. It was a natural stopping point, and I recognized it. I wish I had more intermediate size clamps so that it would have been easy to leave them all clamped up.

Sunday, the task was to make more progress with no real end goal for the day. I decided that the top and bottoms of the side pieces of the cabinet needed veneer to hide the exposed plies. Normally I wouldn’t care, but since this cabinet is coming inside the house routinely over the winter, it’s a small step to do. With the little travel iron I have, it’s a snap to put the maple veneer on the edges. With all four edges done, it was time to trim the cherry flush with the ply. For that, I turned to the router table and the new fence I have. The Wonder Fence can be offset, so I tried that aspect of it, and it worked fairly well. I could have used the trim router, but I had previous pour results with burning the ply. It took a few passes, but it got all squared away.

Next task was to use the Domino to make mortises for the cabinet to come together. Since I was going to be storing heavy cans and moving it around a bit, I went with an extra Domino toward the front side. I also made the back hole location elongated, because I wasn’t sure if the top and bottom pieces were exactly equal to the depth of the sides. Insurance, and all that. I used 5x30mm Dominos, as is my usual choice. With 3/4″ ply I could use the 15mm setting on all components, making things easy.

Since my Dominos have been exposed to humidity and have swelled ever so slightly, they are a tight fit. Not impossible, but really hard to remove for a dry fit. Because of that, I decided to tackle the shelf pin holes first. As always with the LR32 system, a little bit of prep work makes it an absolute joy to use. I set the front holes 37mm back from the front edge, and as my luck would be on that day, it worked out that the back edge was exactly on a multiple of 32mm from that hole. So I set the rear holes 64mm from the back of the case and ran the other line on each side piece. I chose 64mm instead of 32, because I was using a 3/4″ back fully inset in the case. If I ever were to install drawer slides in this cabinet, I’d be wanting the clearance.

With the shelf pin holes complete, it was time to test fit the cabinet. In reality, because my Dominos are slightly enlarged due to humidity, I just went ahead and glued the tenons into the sides. It was at that point I saw a perfect opportunity to take a break, and it was inside to watch a bit of football and have some family time. After about an hour, I did the case as a partial dry fit – the sides could still be removed, but not the tenons. It worked just fine, and the back panel I had cut on Saturday was a close enough fit. There was like a millimeter or two gap on one short edge, but close enough to put some mortises in to secure the back. The cabinet came back apart, mortises and tenons in, and the case came back together for real with glue. I left the action Sunday evening with some clamps applying pressure to get the best fit that I could get.

At this point there are a few things left to do. I need to clean up the saw marks on the cherry, which I’m not quite sure how to attack first. Sander would be easier, but more time consuming, and difficult because of the small edge. Plane or card scraper will probably be my choice. Then it will be time to make a few shelves, sand and finish the cabinet and shelves. Order to be determined.

It’s a scrap cabinet made with new techniques, so while it isn’t perfect I am happy with the result to this point. I think next time I’ll clean up the saw marks before I attach it to the cabinet, and make sure my rips on the plywood are pristine – I noticed a little bit of gap in a couple places, probably where the plywood shifted slightly on the saw.

All in all, good results thus far with this project. Gives me confidence going forward with the other cabinets, and the bookcase I might take on before Christmas.

Note: this was written on Sunday night, but not posted until Wednesday afternoon. Having a lot of issues posting pictures.

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