Tuen's Blog

Infrequent diary of a procrastinator

Construction of Shoe Cabinet

Written By: Tuen
I started construction of this cabinet sometime in June 2009. I based the design and plans on a clothes cupboard from a book I borrowed from the library. The dimensions of the cabinet were selected to fit the cabinet in the corner between the main door and the existing altar table. The thicknesses and type of joints, I took straight from the book.

The sides and carcase of the cabinet were built from wood that I found lying in the roof of my garage. I had some difficulty shaping the wood to size because of the large sizes involved and because my planer/thicknesser could not handle these large sizes. 

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Wood for the legs

 I sized the legs so that the bottom was in line with the cabinet bottom. This was a mistake, and I should have given an extra cm of leg below the cabinet bottom. Having no legs effectively, meant that my floor would have to be perfectly flat and level in order for the doors to open properly. This was obviously not the case, so I ended up having to insert paper shims below the front of the cabinet to allow the doors to open and close.

These would be joined to form the sides of the cabinet

These would be joined to form the sides of the cabinet

Laminating smaller boards to form larger ones was not very accurate and I ended up having to spend a lot of time planing the finished boards flat.

These would form the top and bottom rails.

These would form the top and bottom rails.

I had initial difficulties cutting the dovetails for the rails, especially the tails. The tails were cut directly into the sides of the cabinet, so I had to use chisels only and no saws. The original plans called for two pins and tails for each rail end, but due to inexperience, and perhaps the poor quality of the wood, I found that the thin section of wood between the two tails would break as I chiseled. I therefore decide to do just one pin/tail combination at each end of the rail. I hoped that with the quality of glues nowadays, one pin/tail would be enough.

The dovetail joint with one pin only (for the side).

The dovetail joint with one pin only (for the side).

Sides with top and bottom rails dry assembled.

Sides with top and bottom rails dry assembled.

After finishing the top and bottom rails,  I set to work on the middle rails. This was where I made an error in calculation and ended up with the middle rails not quite where I wanted them to be. They should have been a little lower, giving more space for the top shelf, but they ended up being a little higher. This turned out to be just as well, because in measuring the dimensions, I had neglected to consider the thickness of the legs that would eat into the useable internal depth of the cabinet. I ended up with the cabinet not being deep enough for the larger shoes to lay flat; so the shoes had to be slanted in order for the door to close. So a little more height given by the misplacement of the middle rails worked out fine for the slanted shoes.

The cutting of the tenon and mortise for the middle rails was quite smooth, as by then, I had experience in chiseling this particular type of wood. So although not perfect, the middle rails fit better than the top and bottom rails.

Assembled carcase with the middle rails.

Assembled carcase with the middle rails.

 

to be continued

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