Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cabinet stand...(cont'd)

I've been working on the joinery for the upper rails of the cabinet stand. There aren't too many option for joinery for this cabinet stand since the stand is supporting the weight of the cabinet as opposed to coffee table legs for example. I decided on conventional mortise and tenon joinery since it is time proven and has the benefit of being a strong, mechanical joint and capable of any racking forces. My procedure is to mark out the mortises in each of the legs. Each of the legs will have mortises in two adjacent faces to be able to join a short and long apron rail. I also select which side of the apron rails I want to face outward at this point as well as orienting the legs in their most aesthetically pleasing faces.

The mortises are offset from the top of the legs some distance to maintain sufficient solid wood between the end of the tenon and the top of the leg. To offset the resulting, shorter tenon I offset the bottom of the tenon a smaller distance to the bottom of the apron rails. This allows for a wider tenon than if I had made the tenon symmetrical. I typically rough cut the tenons slightly larger than the mortise and then trim them to fit tightly into its mating mortise. Measuring and marking cannot be stressed enough for this operation, the final dimensions of the stand need to be exactly the same as the bottom of the cabinet in my design. The tenons of two adjoining apron rails meet in each of the legs at a right angle. To accommodate this within the mortise housing I saw a 45 degree angle out of each of the tenon ends. The result is two of the rails meeting at 90 degrees within the mortise housing.

The markings for these cuts can be seen in the top photo. In the bottom photo, I test fit all the tenons and mortises and can now proceed to the next phase of creating the bottom stretchers for the cabinet stand. I also have not cut the legs down to their final length quite yet, I will also be doing this next once I decide on a final height for the cabinet.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cabinet stand...

I have begun to work on the cherry stand for the ambrosia maple cabinet in the past few days. This involves preparing all the components of the stand. I usually cut some blanks or components from one cherry plank and let the smaller blanks acclimatize and settle down over a period of a few days. This allow any hidden tension in the wood to be released. Over this time, I slowly dimension these wood blanks down to very close to their final dimensions. Another reason for sawing all the components for the cabinet stand is to maintain colour consistency throughout. Although the cabinet stand will be in cherry, black cherry varies considerably from tree to tree in colour and tone. This cabinet stand design calls for a set of upper rails mortised into the legs. If I chose to have these upper rails as the sole cross-support for the stand, they would need to be fairly wide and the aesthetics of this do not please me.

Rather than this, I have decided on narrower top apron rails and move some support to the bottom of the stand in the form of stretchers instead. The aesthetics of this are more pleasing to me, very much like dividing the load at the top and bottom of the cabinet stand.The leg dimensions remain the same, instead I divide the original upper rails into two components per rail and use the narrower component at the bottom of the stand. The strength and integrity of the cabinet stand should be maintained with this design along with more pleasing aesthetics, and more subtle, smaller components.

The leg blanks are cut to exhibit a rift-sawn pattern. This ensure that each face of each leg displays straight grain instead of a cathedral type grain pattern. I carefully marked out a large cherry plank to be able to accomplish this. The inner core of the plank will be used for the top and bottom rails. Since the plank was thicker than 8/4, I am therfore able to cut the rail pieces on edge therefore ensuring a quarter-sawn appearance. This ensure straight, consistent grain throughout. In the photos, I outline the grain pattern I will be using. Next, I will continue to prepare the stand components down to their final dimensions and then mark and cut the joinery for the stand. I should have the stand assembled within the next two to three days.