Breaking the rules
I spent some time playing with a cabinet design concept, and also trying to break some design rules.
Box: Symmetrical finger joints, 12-1/2″ wide x 14-1/2″ tall x 7″ deep
Drawer: Asymmetrical finger joints, Width: 11-3/16″ Height: 2-1/2″ Depth: 5-13/16″
Cabinet back: Shiplapped, book-matched black walnut
Hinges: front/on door: 3″ long ; claws/sides: 2-3/4″ long
Materials: Curly maple and black walnut, both local to NW Missouri
Finish: Sanded to 150 grit, and applied three coats of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish using a tightly wadded lint-free cloth
Equipment used: Leigh D4R dovetail jig with the F3 finger joint template; and the M2 multiple mortise and tenon template
Photos of the box — make sure to click on the images to enlarge them, and to navigate from one to the next:
I hope you enjoy seeing this little cabinet — I had a great time implementing some ideas, and breaking rules. For example:
- Joinery: It is unusual to see finger joints in fine pieces. The more traditional joinery is dovetails; and it seems that contemporary thinking leans toward very skinny dovetails. But I love the “zippered” look of finger joints, especially when contrasting woods are used.
- The shelf: It is held in place using through tenons. I wanted the rounded ends of the tenons to play with the zippered look of the carcase. Further, I wanted to capture at least one of the through tenons in some way (see “Hinges”, below).
- Drawer: The finger joints are asymmetric — the human eye likes to see symmetry. I decided on asymmetric finger layout; this means that the top fingers are curly maple, and the bottom fingers are black walnut. Convention normally dictates that both top and bottom should be curly maple in the drawer.
- Hinges: Over the last several months I have been experimenting with finger joints. This project summarizes those trials. My wife, Sandy, designed the basic shape; I traced and shaped the hinges using rasps and files, and an oscillating sander. The shape of the hinges on the doors are reminiscent of a large shark’s tooth, while the other half of the hinge reminds me of a crab claw trying to catch the through tenon.
- Glues used: For the finger joinery I used liquid hide glue; it is repairable, and it also has superb lubricating qualities that allow easy assembly of joinery with a relatively tight fit. For the hinges I used epoxy.
I welcome your comments on this cabinet.