A freestanding cabinet project

by Mark Zifchock

markcabinetThis is a cabinet that I designed and executed at Ithaca Generator.  It’s rough proportions are considered to reflect patterns in the concrete walls at our house, and to work with the existing room dimensions.  I selected a 3/4 inch poplar veneered plywood for two of the walls and the door.  The back wall is an eighth-inch sheet of ply.  Attention to dimensions was taken as well, since certain edges of the walls and door would be capped with strips of poplar to hide the rough plywood edges, and I wanted the corner to have a symmetrical aspect.  The sheet goods were ripped on a table saw by my father and I.

I chose to install recessed metal rails to allow for adjustable shelves, which required shallow 3/4 inch channels.  This proved challenging, and although I used a clamped fence, the router pulled away a couple of times, and a close look will show that the channels are uneven in a couple of spots.

I held the walls together with glued dowels.  I originally assembled my own jig to assist this, but found that it is very difficult to get the registration correct, and was glad to find an all metal dowel jig at the hardware store.  The dowels and the edges of the fit corners get a thin cover of glue, spread by finger.  Thanks to Al Nolan for helping me get the pieces together and square before it started to set.

I attached the 1/4 inch strips to the face of the cabinet walls, and to the edges of the door with glue and finish nails.  The door also got 3/4 inch strips on either side to complete the symmetric aspect   I forgot to alternate between the dark and light poplar for the door strips, so a rather handsome effect was lost.

The door was hung with 110 degree full overlay mortised hinges.  This required a special forstner bit, which leaves an shallow cylindrical space in the door for part of the hinges to fit into.

The cabinet is being finished with a clear water based polyeurethane to allow the wood to show best.  Each layer of polyeurethane gets a light sanding.

Having access to the tools and space at Ithaca Generator was incredible helpful.  This project would definitely have languished without the convenience of the Generator setup.

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