This post continues a series in which I am building a butler’s desk of American black walnut. In the previous post I had completed installing the web frames, which act as supports for the drawers. With the web frames now completed, I can turn my attention to the ‘desk’ side of the case and begin installing a storage shelf and upper door track for a pair of sliding doors.
The doors I am creating will have similarity to that of hikido, or double sliding doors, utilized in tansu, fusuma, and shoji. One common placement of hikido are in tansu called Cho-bako, which served as storage chests for writing materials.
My work begins by creating a way to secure the overhead shelf; locking pins which slide into place and prevent the shelf from coming loose. I am making them of Gaboon ebony and I’m starting with a cutoff chunk that I have saved. Gaboon ebony is a rare material, something I almost never purchase, so the piece in question has been sitting idle for nearly 15 years. That may come as a shock to some who know my age, however as teenager I bought a few boards of gaboon ebony to use on a project and ended up never using them.
I begin squaring up the block, starting with six sides square makes the process of working small pieces much easier.
Next cutting to rough dimension.
Then sawing the notch.
Followed by sawing the piece in half to create two and then finishing their sides and chamfering.
Corresponding notches are created in the shelf and the pins are slid into place. Unlike much of my work these do not having a wedging component, the size of the shelf along with it’s span will not allow for it. Instead they’re simply a snug fit.
With the shelf now secure I can begin work on the doors themselves. I had put aside material for the doors a while back, to let it settle. Upon further consideration, however, I determined that I would like to rework these panels and remove the sap wood in the center.
After cutting, fitting, rejoining, and finish planing the panels then dimensioning their framing members, I’m now ready to begin planning out my panels. I made everything to rough size knowing that I would like to fit the panels to their exterior frames before cutting them to exact size. The reason being that I wanted to plan the overlap with real pieces as opposed to paper dimensions.
With the sizes now determined I can begin joining the frames. I’ve created a short video detailing the process of small mortise and tenons required for this type of small door.
With the joinery now cut I can assemble the frames in preparation for final fitting.
After fitting the frames, I install them into the cabinet, then further tweak until finally achieving a good fit and smooth action.
Thank you for joining me, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.