Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Wall Cabinet Design

With barely one-month left to run on my college course, there’s just enough time to squeeze in a wood-machining project (practical exam) before we say goodbye. This year, it’s the wall cabinet – some of us were hoping we’d be making these twelve-moths ago. Second-years’ have it easy; all the wood is machined for them… They only have to cut all the joints, assemble and prepare it for finishing within the allocated twenty-six hours… For those of us at Level 3 though, we’ll have to machine all our own timber and, first of all, come up with a design!

Our design brief details the dimensions (no larger than 350mm high x 450mm long x 125mm deep) and, as with the previous year, we’ll be given a finite amount of sapele to work with. How we join the corners is up to us but the doors (whether they’re to be inset of layover-style) must have “a veneer element” to them… The back panel must also be veneered though, fortunately, we’re allowed to use pre-veneered MDF sheets for this! 😀

We’ll have to supply our own brass hinges and a suitable pair of knobs or handles (even if they’re only temporary) but shelf lugs and catches (possibly rare Earth magnets) will be provided by the college.

I’ve just spent a little time on SketchUp and, given the two-week (four-day) time constraint, this is what I’ve come up with:

Wall Cabinet design.

While it may not be to everyone’s tastes, it is pretty simple and should be straight-forward enough to complete within the allocated time. While trying to keep things square and simple, I’ve drawn this initial sketch with through-tenon joinery connecting the top and base to the sides (I’ve said before that I’m a fan of the Arts & Crafts-style, even though I doubt you’d see many of such pieces made from sapele/mahogany…). My idea with the doors is too create a book-match effect across the two, using contrasting oak veneers. As you may recall from the 2009 exam piece, I discovered how well oak and sapele complement one another. Naturally, I would also use contrasting oak wedges to secure the through tenons.

Remove the doors and you can see what I have in mind for the interior:

Inside the Wall Cabinet.

This piece must have an adjustable shelf, and I assume, at this point, that there’s no harm in having two or more. With an overall length of 450mm, I feel it would be better to divider the space up in two. If possible, I’d like to keep the shelves (13mm) slightly thinner than the cabinet sides (19mm). If veneered MDF is available in the right thickness, I may use that. I’ve also drawn an oak back panel (on the inside). Again, this continues the contrasting theme though, it would also mean I had to veneer my own panel from scratch (as I will do, with the doors). If allowed, I may cut some of my own veneers from some of my English oak offcuts in my own workshop, on my Startrite bandsaw. I often find the commercially-available veneer sheets lack enough character, particularly with oak (which I believe may commonly be American?). It’s not like on that table I made last year, where I could simply slide the MDF drawer base out and replace it with a piece of oak!

We also have to consider how the piece will be mounted to a wall. I’m currently looking at cutting a rebate for the back panel, which could be done after the carcase is assembled, using a bearing-guided router cutter. If the rear edges were grooved, I’d have to stop them short of the ends otherwise, they’ve be clearly visible in the finished piece. Having the rebates would also give me an extra 6mm or so (!) of depth inside the cabinet.

As far as hanging this unit on a wall is concerned, it looks like the use of a French cleat is not an option, with the back panel a mandatory requirement of the design brief. So, I’m thinking of using slotted screw holes (as I did on the cherry bookshelf) and there may just be enough room in the 19mm extending above the top… Then again, I’m still scratching my head on this one. I want a “concealed” fixing (so, no screw holes in the back panel!) and I may just use ordinary brass hanging plates, or something similar.

Why am I sat here, on my PC, on the hottest day of the year so far???

[Uh-oh – **Rant Alert!!**]

Well, naturally, I’d be out in the workshop on a day like this. Except, for once, it’s too hot to be out there for any prolonged periods! It isn’t much warmer in the house, to be honest. But, I’m not dripping with sweat, sat here. Also, in the last week or so, the signal on my digital DAB radio has gotten worse than ever and, on just about every digital station, the signal disappears after a very short period of time – this can be anything; from ten-seconds to less than half an entire song! It’s really p*****g me off at the minute as I currently only have access to the atrocious FM broadcastings of Radio One and other “chavtastic” b*****s!! I’ve taken the radio apart several times; there’s no dust in there and I’ve also tried moving it around, even bring it inside the house… No success. Must be something to do with the ‘digital s**tover‘… 😛

I’m badly missing Planet Rock!! 😦

My mobile phone died on Thursday as well, after five-years of repeatedly hitting the concrete floor (it lasted much longer than my previous one, from Sagem). So, I’ll have to dig in to my ‘power tool funds‘ so that I can reconnect with the small number of people in my life… 😉 I have this effect on electronics where, for example, if an in an office-type environment, printers and computers will commonly stop working while I’m around. Honestly, it happens all the time! 😀

Rant over!

Thanks for reading.

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