Happy New Year, and welcome to my blog! Last year on my blog I wrote a series entitled ‘The Floating Credenza’ in which I detailed the design and build of two cabinets, completing one and leaving the other unfinished. In this series I will complete the wall mounted media console, made of American black walnut.
The walnut console was left assembled, door tracks were cut along with corner joinery. With the exterior case completed the next step was to create a center divider. The center divider acts as a major support for the case, helping to keep the top flat and bottom from sagging along with tying the wall cleat into the assembly.
The center support had been left glued up and dimensioned to thickness. It remained flat over the past few months, which is a good sign that it will continue to stay flat. The first order of business was to bring it to length, first by cutting it near the line, then by planing it to the line. The ends of the board will act as a reference, so they must be accurate.
The center support features six through tenons, three on top and three on the bottom, spaced evenly along the case. I planned their layout on the case, to ensure that it would appear evenly spaced, then transferred marks to the divider.
I transfer marks by clamping the case divider in place, then using a knife and square to apply the lines.
The tenons will be sized smaller than the thickness of the case divider in order to allow a shoulder to run the full width of the divider. I saw next to my knife marks but leave the waste between the tenons for the moment.
Next I cut a rabbet along the full width of the divider, this will form the shoulder. I left the waste between the tenons to allow my plane to register properly, then removed the waste with a coping saw. Finally the waste is pared flush to the shoulders and the tenons are formed.
The layout on the case was cutout by way of first drilling, then chopping. The mortise walls are cut to form an angle, allowing space for the wedges to be installed. When cutting for wedges it is important to ensure that the wedge runs perpendicular to the grain, putting the force of the wedging action against the end grain. The opposite direction applies a splitting force to the panel.
With the center support now prepared, I can move onto the french cleat wall mount. A French cleat consists of two boards cut with full length miters, one attaching to the case and one to the wall. When the case to placed onto the cleat the weight of the case will pull the cleat tight to the wall. A French cleat is handy for installations of heavy or otherwise awkward case goods because the cleat can be easily mounted to wall studs and the case then lifted placed onto the cleat.
Cutting out the cleat starts by first jointing the material flat.
Then squaring that reference face to the sides.
Next I layout my cut.
Lo and behold!…..A giant crack hidden in the material.
I discarded my white oak, which had been aging nicely in the shop now for about three years (little did I know) and replaced it with white ash. The ash, revealing its integrity when opened, was then re-squared along its facets.
Winding sticks are used to check for twist. In this photo you can see that new art work was installed on the far wall to encourage productivity.
Finally the cleat was trimmed to thickness, cut to length and joinery laid out.
The stub tenons being formed here which will engage the case sides.
Next I crosscut to the form the shoulders.
Once the waste is removed, the tenon reveals itself.
The french cleat will be attached by mechanical means at each end, then laminated to the top of the case. To provide further glue surfacer and an additional anchor point for the cleat, a support was added to to the interior edge.
The support was made of two halves, joined up along the center and cutout to form stub tenons which will be secured to the case divider.
The support is also cut for stub tenons at the sides of the case. With the joinery now formed I can laminate the cleat to the support.
Next I adjusting the glued up assembly to ensure a flat surface for lamination to the case.
The support could then be joined up to the center support, starting by transferring marks from the cutout to the divider.
Then cutting along those marks with an azebiki nokogiri.
The cutout is completed by paring and chopping.
The support can then be set into place. I am double checking to ensure it runs square to the divider.
The completed assembly hides away the joinery. From the inside of the case it will be completely invisible.
The underside of the cleat.
Finally the complete assembly, shown from a distance.
The assembly is nearly ready to be installed into the case, with exception to a few details. Next I cut for wedges, first marking with a kebiki gauge.
Followed by sawing with a rip tooth dozuki.
One thing I always hang onto; ebony shorts. They’re handy for so many odds and ends, and after buying ebony one hardly wants to throw even a small bit of it away.
These small wedges are difficult to plane in thickness, it’s best if they can be sawn exactly.
The resulting twelve wedges, ready for installation.
To further strengthen the cleat, I’ve laminated it along with the backer to the bottom inside of the case top. Carefully positioning it to ensure that the joinery fell exactly into place. Being that it was already joined to the center divider, the divider was then also set into place and wedges seated.
Next, I transferred the stub tenons onto the case sides in preparation for cutting them out.
Then make rip cuts with an azebiki nokogiri.
The waste is chopped on the far side, then the bulk of it can then be split out quickly leaving a few paring cuts to be made.
The case sides are next installed, followed by the case bottom. I install the case bottom at the same time to keep the case sides perfectly upright as they set, and check the entire assembly to ensure that it will cure square.
Once the glue cures, the wedged tenons can be cut flush and the case can be touched up with a finish plane. I leave the wedges lightly proud and plane them flush. I take the same approach with the exposed end grain on the dovetails.
Once the engrain is planed flush, I can apply chamfers to the outside edge. The chamfers make the edge more resistant to chipping.
The cleat is left 1/8″ proud of the case, as is the case bottom, this is done to create a 1/8″ reveal around the case when it is set into place on the wall. However I do not want to be able to see the white ash cleat from the side of the cabinet, so I cut a rabbet which puts the edge further away from the case sides and hiding it from view. The edge is carefully chamfered to remove any tendency to produce splinters and the rear edge of the case is rounded over with a special plane.
The joinery works in two functions, it helps retain the cleat in the case, all while reinforcing the mitered edge of the corner dovetails. The front edge will be reinforced by small splines to ensure that it does not open up as the seasons change.
The blotches on the case will disappear, they are mineral oil from a shop towel used to prevent damage to the case side while clamping.
The case is now ready for doors, shelves and a back to be installed.
Thank you for stopping by, I hope that you have enjoyed following along with this build and I look forward to your comments.