Welcome to my blog! This post begins a series in which I will build two wall hanging credenzas, one of American black walnut and the other of American black cherry. These two cabinets will be similar in stature, both will feature sliding doors. The black cherry cabinet will have the additional feature of three drawers
I built a similar wall hanging credenza approximately four years ago. I use the finished product daily, so I’ve had some time to think about what I would change. The credenza serves me well, but there are refinements I will make to improve upon and further define my aesthetic.
The first of those changes is to miter the corner edge of the dovetails, allowing for continuous detailing along the edges.
The doors on the previous wall hanging credenza were made using high quality plywood veneered with maple burl. These cabinets will feature solid wood doors, constructed similarly to the door I created for the Medicine Cabinet series, utilizing dovetailed battens mortised into full sized stiles and capped with thin rails. The panel will be flush to the frame just as the Medicine cabinet door panel is flush to its frame.
On that same note I will be using very subtle wood grain for the doors, vertical grain or a similarly quiet grain pattern. I have been moving away from such bold statements as those made by book matched maple burl.
The wall hanging cabinet pictured above uses a dado joint to connect the case bottom to the sides which is reinforced with dowels. That joint is doing its job just fine but I now prefer to hide half-blind dovetails under the case, eliminating those dowels from the exterior case and allowing the case bottom to be setback from the case sides along the front edge. That ledge will be chamfered and the cabinet will now feature continuous chamfers on all edges.
I’m building two cabinets, one in cherry and the other in walnut and I may show both as I progress through the work but I will focus on the cherry cabinet for the majority of the work.
The material I have selected for the case exterior on this cabinet is flat sawn at about 10″ wide. The overall depth of the cherry cabinet will need to be 16″ and so I’ve selected a sequenced board to extend the width of this board and form a panel. Rather than book matching the boards to form the case, I have cut the sequenced board to remove the the rift sawn edges which I will then use to make up the width.
To join up a board that will be face jointed by hand, I begin by jointing the edges independent of the board faces, using a square to check at one location then using winding sticks to align the edge. This allows me to work a full panel when finished and take nearly equal amounts off both sides as I bring the board to thickness.
I begin work along this edge with the jack plane, followed by the try plane.
After removing wind from the edge, I place my precision level on the edge to check for flatness. I want a straight flat edge, not one that is especially hollow.
My final passes are with the LN 7, taking a full length shaving.
The matching board has been jointed as well then the pair are put together and checked for gaps.
I apply arrows to the board faces pointing in the direction of rising grain so that I can make sure to align everything properly during the glue up.
The board is now glued and ready for face jointing.
I use longer precision steel winding sticks to check for twist along the case.
The first plane I work with is the jack plane. I wanted to contrast my efforts to the Butler’s Desk and so this time around I did all of the rough work along the grain, rather than across the grain. I believe it was slightly faster going long grain.
Shown here I’m using my straight edge and working in 3′ sections.
An up close look at the glue joint reveals a nearly invisible glue line.
The face is now jointed, and smoothed. You can begin to see the subtleties of the grain pattern in this otherwise quiet board. The slight curl in the surface really shows through after finish planing.
Cherry planes wonderfully, this photo shows how smooth the surface is after finish planing, smooth enough to show a reflection of the shop.
These long panels will be cut to become the case top and sides making a continuous run on the visible exterior of the case. The case bottoms, however, are their own separate panels. I’ve glued them up from material that matches the top as closely as possible.
Here the cherry case bottom is being face jointed, the board is also constructed of a flat sawn center joined to rift sawn edges.
After the boards are planed for thickness and then finished planed, they are then jointed along the their front edge and brought to a finished width. Rather than saw the boards to width, I use a jack plane set for extremely heavy shavings and remove the 1/4″ of material in a few strokes.
After the panels are edge jointed and brought to size, I am able to layout the saw cuts I have planned. I have left a bit of extra material on these panels, this allows me to place the finished layout on the panel strategically avoiding highly figured grain at the corner joints.
Highly figured grain is weaker than straight grain but it can make for an interesting case exterior.
That’s all for now, I hope that you will enjoy following along with this build and look forward to your comments.
Continue onto the case joinery;