Frame and Panel

Before diving into the frame and panel construction of the doors and backs of this mahogany buffet cabinet, I thought I'd share a bit about the end panel surface preparation. Above, you can see two darker streaks. After applying oil to the outside surfaces of the two end panels, I noticed these two streaks on one of the panels. The above photo shows the streaks after one pass of hand planing over the entire panel surface. Before I started planing, the streaks were subtle dark patches, but not acceptable. It turns out that these streaks were the result of using the card scraper to remove small patches of grain tear-out. Below, shows it after two passes.

Three passes.

After four passes, below, the depressions were virtually removed. I rehoned the plane iron and made a final fifth pass. The shavings measured about 0.0005" thick, so I figure the fix required the removal of approximately 0.0025" from the surface. Fifteen minutes, or so, well spent.

Now, back to the business at hand. I've rough cut the mahogany for the door and back stiles and rails.

After selecting the final position of each part in the piece, I completed the final jointing (straightening) and surface planing (thicknessing) of each part to its final profile, leaving allowances for glue-up and fitting. Then all the parts were cut to length on the table saw using a stop for consistent part length.

Ready for the next stage.

Back on the table saw, I used a tenoning jig to cut the open mortises on both ends of the vertical stiles.

Then, I cut the shoulders for the tenons on the top and bottom rails.

A couple of passes on the band saw gives each tenon its rough thickness. I then moved to the shaper to cut the final tenon thickness, carefully testing the fit of the tenons to the mortises after each pass.

The top rails are a bit taller to accommodate a long curved bottom edge that visually spans the full width of the cabinet. To make these upper joints simple, I cut all the tenons to the same height.

This was followed by some cleanup with a sharp chisel.

At this point I dry fit all the parts. I used my SketchUp model to provide dimensions for the curved top rails. The radius of the arch, shown below, is 44'-7 11/64". Not a very handy dimension to work with, so instead, I used X-Y coordinate measurements every inch along the length of each top rail in the model and transferred those to templates that I then shaped and used to mark each part with the lines you see below.

I used the wooden hand plane I made back in 2007 at Inside Passage School of Fine Cabinetmaking to smooth the curved top rails after first cutting the rough shape on the band saw. Actually, I had made the hand plane as a smoother for flat surfaces, but for The Hunter desk I had modified the sole of the plane to convert it to serve as a compass plane that would follow the desired curve of the end stretchers on that project. It turned out to be basically the same curve that I needed for the top rail arch here.

The final shape of the top rails.

With all the inside surfaces prepared, I could then go back to the shaper to cut the grooves to receive the panels.

And here they are.

Six frames later...

Here are the three doors, ready for surface preparation.

The spokeshave has become one of my favorite tools since using it so extensively on Vidar's Chair and Armchair 2 that I made recently, so here I am using it again to soften the sharp edges of the stiles and rails.

With the surfaces prepared, it's time to prefinish the inside edge of the stiles and rails. The outside tongue receives oil and the interior tongue receives shellac.

Same goes for the pommele sapele panels; shellac on the inside, oil on the outside.

More glue-ups beginning next week.

Hej då and happy shavings!

Craig