Mid-Century Modern Record Cabinet
I needed a cabinet to store my (small) record collection, and my piano sheet music... Six months later, I can finally use it!
Finally in place and in use, after six months of weekends and afterwork.
The case is entirely made of 8/4 walnut. The stand is made from poplar, since I was planning to paint it... But I ended up keeping it natural.
The keys/splines are made of maple. I was not OK with putting this monster on a giant miter jig on my table saw, so I made the slots with a circular saw.
I was going for a waterfall effect... But between the thickness of the blade, heavy hand-planing and a screw-up when trimming the boards to size, it's half successful. Eh, not like anybody will notice.
This is my first non Ana-White-construction-lumber furniture. Let's just say mistakes were made! Here is the walnut roughly crosscut to size.
When I started this project I didn't have a real dust collector, so I had to make it work with this lousy shop vac. I hated it. This thing is the noisiest "tool" in my shop by a wide margin... And not that efficient on a table saw anyway.
And of course I screwed up when buying this adapter, confusing outer and inner diameter... Yay Duct Tape!
I don't have a planer yet, nor a jointer. The guys at the lumberyard planed it and gave me one straight edge, for extra cost of course. This is going to get expensive real quick, so a planer is on the purchase list. Here I am ripping the remaining edge. No outfeed table of any kind of course, but this cabinet is vaguely at the right height.
S4S...ish. Still had to do a lot of hand planing to get this thing in better shape.
Well, for that I needed to practice my terrible hand planing skills first. Here I'm using a piece of scrap walnut to try to figure out how this works. I gotta say, walnut is very nice on the hand plane. I actually found it easier than planing pine... Maple on the other hand? Not so much.
To get the depth I want, I need to butt joint these boards. Here I'm using the famous trick of planing them together, to compensate for any imprecision in my hand planing. Not that there is any imprecision in my work of course.... Ahem.
First glue up! I bought kind of a lot of these harbor freight clamps. They are great for many things, but they are quite weak. I thought I would be able to close tiny gaps in the glue up just by putting "more clamps", but that's really not how it works. 8/4 walnut is hard to convince. So there you go, you actually can "have too many clamps", but you also need to have quality ones! A few pipe clamps would probably be ideal.
Well, waiting for the damn glue to dry. I'll need to do a lot of hand planing, so let's drill a few holes in this bench top for bench dogs. And by bench dog, I mean a 3/4" dowel I found laying around in the shop. High-tech stuff. I didn't trust myself drilling these straight with a hand drill, so this is how I did it. Terrible idea, this drill press weights a ton and this "scaffold" is quite unstable. Anyway, I survived. Below the plywood top, I glued long strips of scrap wood laminated together where I knew I was going to drill the holes, so the top is quite thick here. I had to start the hole, go as far as possible, stop, remove one board from the scaffold, and finish the hole. This was stupid, I should have just finished with a hand drill.
Edge jointing the longer boards...
And gluing! Rinse and repeat. See how the clamps are bending?
Well, this thing is pretty much done, amirite? Time for a beer!
Now the sides are cut to size, and the front bevel is done. This front bevel was a lot of work. Started on the table saw, but since I don't have a planer, and my hand planing sucks, the thickness and width of the boards are not totally consistent. This resulted in variations in the bevel, which was particularly obvious at the junctions between boards. I had to adjust everything with a hand plane to make smooth transitions. This was the general process for this entire built: Start with power tools, fix mistakes with hand tools.
"Dry fit" #12.
Turns out my blade was probably not at true 45°, because my dry fit showed gaps. It's quite obvious here with this combination square (accurate, I checked!)...
Well, once again, time to slowly fix things with a hand plane! Apparently, this side is "OK" now.
Yet another dry fit. Looks much better now.
I wanted the two dividers in the cabinet to be thinner, so I resawed some 8/4 walnut on the table saw and bookmatched them to make the dividers. Really doubt anyone will notice the bookmatch, but it's not like it added extra complexity.
The dividers are sliding on these tiny stopped dados, made with a router. Here you can see the jig I used: A few scraps hot glued together to provide an edge guide, and a stop. The only straight router bit I have is very small, so I simply made many passes, moving the edge guide a fraction of an inch each time.
I don't like the dado look, so the idea is to make a small cutout on the top and bottom, on the front side. Looking at the divider, funny how walnut changes color when you just planed it.
Here are the dividers in place. As you can see the dados are totally hidden now. This is yet another dry fit, believe it or not.
Time for the BGU: The Big Glue-Up. I was really nervous during the whole operation, but it turned out ok.
Trying to figure out how to cut the slots. I'm building some sort of jig to guide the circular saw.
Here is the jig, ready for use! Bunch of scrap wood glued and screwed together. Kind of ugly but it worked. Notice the holes in the corners. I cut the square cutouts with the table saw, and because the blade is circular it was impossible to cut enough without cutting the jig partially in half. Cutting these holes first solved that problem.
And the slots are done!
Now I have a proper HF dust collector (The 1HP).... But apparently if it falls from the dust port on the table saw, it's not doing anything. Was wondering why I was getting so much dust on my face... I'm not a smart man.
Resawing the maple on the bandsaw, to fit the slots.
Maaaaybe I went overboard with the glue...
Didn't take any picture for a while. I trimmed the miter keys, and finished the cabinet with danish oil. Now I can sort of use this thing! Mmmmm.. Maybe I should build a stand for it though?
Just danish oil for now. At the end I also added hand rubbed wax for a shinier finish.
Laminating poplar for the stand. That's probably the right amount of clamps.
That's the idea.
First mortise and tenon joint ever!
Was planing to to a mortise and tenon for the feet too, but I forgot to add the tenon length when cutting them... I was thinking of using dowels, then I realized it's a long grain to long grain joint anyway. Soooooooo:
Glue time! Always nice to clamp these weird angled joints.
Looks like I didn't mess the dimensions. I want the stand to be removable, so I 'll just put two dowels in the stretchers, glued only on the stand. The cabinet will just rest on the dowels.
I just love the drill press. This is a pilot hole to help center the 3/4" bit I used for the dowels.
Forgot to take a picture after going through the router table... Rounded all the edges.
This time it's really finished!
I really like these keys.
Thanks for watching!