Saturday, April 12, 2008

Preparing the drawer cases (1)...

After slicing (resawing) and dicing (ripping, cross-cutting) the rough blanks for the interior parts, I am now left with a few fairly identically sized boards. The individual boards are thicker than the final dimension to allow for any cupping ,bowing, or twist that may result from the resawing operation and acclimatization of the boards. I have also resawn a few extra boards to allow for any problems or mismatched grain when creating the wider panels for the drawer cases. The boards are fairly similar in width but differ in length. Half are destined for the single drawer case, the other half to the stacked drawer case. Some wane or bark can be seen on a few of the boards and this will be trimmed off to create square edges with minimal removal.

I will let these boards sit on edge for a day or so and then proceed with hand planing them closer to the final thickness. Once the "approximate" final thickness is achieved, the next step in the sequence is to square the mating edges and join these boards to create the panels for the drawer cases. There are two approaches to creating the panels, either glue the boards up initially and hand plane or surface the panel to final thickness or ..... hand plane the individual boards close to final thickness and then join to make a panel. I prefer the latter as any strange characteristics of each board will be manifested before joining. This allows me to substitute one board for another, more stable board. Of course, there is a little final hand plane surfacing to complete the thicknessing to size step, but very minimal.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Selecting wood for the interior...

After having decided on a layout for the interior, I proceeded to take measurements of the
drawer case mockups. With these measurements in hand, I then create a cut list. The cut list provides me a clear idea of the amount of wood necessary to make both the drawer cases. The cut list also allows me to optimize the individual components for the drawer cases in order to minimize the wood necessary. This is only valid to a point however, as the wood components need to be selected with careful consideration to grain orientation and to maintain the harmony of the individual drawer cases.

With this information in hand, I selected an area of a large beech plank to cut my blanks from. Fortunately, I have some very nice European Beech planks in my studio I had acquired a while ago. The planks are rift to quarter-sawn in grain orientation and fairly thick at approximately 2.5 inches. The blanks are slightly different in size and are rift-sawn. The difference in blank size is attributed to the different size of either of the drawer cases. In the photo above, the two blanks can be seen along with my measurements and cut list. I also drew the components of the drawer cases out on another sheet of cardboard as a visual aid in laying out the components. Since the depth of the drawer cases is fairly large, I will be gluing two pieces of beech for each of the tops, bottoms and sides of the drawer cases. In doing this, I will try to maintain grain orientation and harmony to create fairly seamless components for the drawer cases.

Next I will layout and mark the boards to be cut from both of these beech blanks. After cutting the blanks in half and squaring one face and one edge of the individual halves , I will slice the boards off using a bandsaw similar to resawing.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Cabinet interior mock up...

I have been mocking up a few different layouts for the interior of the cabinet in the past few days. There are certain criteria which need to be considered in this process. The original design calls for three drawers with maximized interior space for art objects. One of the factors used in the design of the layout is the height and width of the cabinet itself and allowing as much room for taller art objects. This space will co-exist with the three drawers. Initially, I designed the drawers on the right hand side of the cabinet interior with two lower drawers, a space for art object(s), and a drawer above. I had also considered shelving in the design but decided against this as the height of the cabinet would further limit any taller art objects from being displayed.

In the photo, is my latest design of the interior. This layout is a good example of the design adage, "less is sometimes more". There is a fair amount of room on both the left and right side of the cabinet interior. The drawers have been divided into two assemblies with one drawer at the top left and two drawers at the bottom right of the cabinet interior. The design is also somewhat interesting and does not conform to the typical, established layout of drawers within a cabinet. This feature enhances the uniqueness of the cabinet interior in my opinion.

This design is not quite cast in stone as yet. I intend to further refine the layout with both interesting, unique design and optimized space as criteria. Mocking up is a great exercise in the design process, both initially and in finalizing the design. Having the components of a furniture piece mocked up to scale proportions reveals any design considerations which might have been overlooked in the initial design.