Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 3, Issue 5
June 2009
Patricia's Bridal Cabinet: Part 2

Editor's Note: The following is the second article in a series of three. Part 1 can be found in Volume 3, Issue 4. Look for the final instalment in an upcoming woodworking newsletter.

Before you build a house, you will spend a long time and great consideration designing your plans. Even so, once you finally start building it, the original plan will change many times and often evolve quite unexpectedly. In contrast, when I carve my abstract sculptures I do not have a sketch or model—I carve the wood directly and the sculpture develops during the process. When I started making this cabinet, I approached the project with a similar attitude and procedure. Of course, the cabinet is a little different from my abstract sculptures, so I did make a rough sketch.

Finished Bridal Cabinet

The cabinet is free standing and made of two parts, an upper and lower case. The overall dimensions of the piece are 31-1/2" wide x 76-3/4" high; the lower case is 8-3/4" deep, and the upper case is 7-3/4". The upper case has one glass door and a deep "flower box" at its top, since Pat, the person for whom the cabinet was made, enjoys flowers very much. The lower case includes two doors and two drawers. During the making of this cabinet, every other aspect of the design, without exception, evolved tremendously.

When I build traditional Japanese cabinets or sliding doors, I usually follow a standard procedure. I am sure that when you make a Western-style cabinet, you should also follow a certain standard procedure, such as determining which part you make first. However, I find that for me the best method for building a project is to proceed in the most convenient way, and that meant starting with the upper part of the cabinet.

I first designed the middle board, which is at the bottom of the upper case. This set the tone for the whole cabinet and became the main reference board for my layout: as I worked on the cabinet, all horizontal pieces were marked from the middle board. This board has a 1" overhang at the side board and extends 2" forward of the upper side board's front edge.

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