Hello and welcome to my blog! This post continues a series in which I’m building a pair of wall mounted credenzas of American black walnut and American black cherry. In the previous post rough lumber was prepared and brought to dimension, then cut to size. In this post I will detail the process of joining the case.
The outside upper corners of the case will be joined with miter edge dovetails. These are similar to through dovetails with the exception of a miter at the front and rear edges. Having a miter at the ends of the joint allows me to run continuous detailing around the case exterior.
Before proceeding with joinery I must first check the stock to ensure that all corners are exactly 90 degrees. I fine tune the ends, shooting them square to the sides.
Next I begin dovetailing, first by laying out and cutting the tail board. Through dovetails can be ganged up and cut.
Next I cope out the waste.
Then mark the corners (I’ll be going back and forth between the two cabinets).
Followed by rough cutting the corners. I leave the line intact because I want to work my way to the line with a paring chisel.
Then I chop the baseline (not shown) and mock up my tail boards against the pin board. The thickness of this case, combined with a dark material make it difficult to ensure that my lines have transferred accurately and so I use a small light to check my marks.
Next I saw the pin board, first by making cuts only on the interior for pins nearest the mitered edges.
Followed by coping the waste and roughly sawing the miters.
Then I tune the miters with a paring chisel.
Test fitting reveals that the miters seat nicely and that the dovetails are a hair proud on both boards, which will allow me to plane them flush.
Now that the sides have been attached, I can layout and prepare the case bottom for installation. The case bottom is joined using half-blind dovetails allowing the joinery to disappear under the case and also allowing the case bottom to set back from the sides. This is an improvement on the dado and dowels method employed previously.
After sawing and chopping out the case bottom, I lay it onto the case sides to transfer marks.
Then I put the case onto the bench and cut out the sockets.
Now that the dovetails are cutout I can assemble the case and mark out where the divider will run. In the cherry case, the divider will separate 2/3’s of the case for sliding doors from the remaining 1/3 which will be a stack of drawers.
The divider will have tenons extending through the case both top and bottom. However, there will be some differences in how the top and bottom join up to the divider. The divider will join to the top with a spear miter, matching the aesthetic of the mitered corner case sides. The case sides join up to the case bottom without a miter and to accommodate that aesthetic the divider joins to the bottom with a finger joint. The case bottom is set back approximately 1/16″ allowing for that joint to be chamfered.
This process begins by cutting a dado groove and mortises into the case bottom.
Followed by cutting a notch at the front to receive the tenon.
Next I rabbet the sides of the divider, then cut tenons into the remaining material. Here I am coping out the waste between the tenons.
Finally the two pieces join up, note the setback of the case bottom from the divider.
Next I prepare the top of the case, first by cutting mortises then cutting the housing to receive the spear miter. Two of those mortises run through case top and will be wedged, the others are stub mortises used for locating the divider.
Followed by trimming the spear mitered tenon.
Finally I test fit the joint.
The case exterior shows two through tenons and the major case joinery is now completed. In the next post I begin building the doors and drawers which will complete the cabinet facade. I hope that you have enjoyed following along and I look forward to your comments.