With the major construction on the cabinet portion complete, it was time to get to work on the stand. After all, this can’t very well be an ambry on stand without the stand part.
The challenge of this part is the quantity of bent laminations. The only straight pieces are on the front / back aprons and then the internal bracing. The apron sides are straight forward curves, shaped to match the curve of the cabinet sides. I’m doing all the glue ups with DAP Plastic Resin glue which is a sort of middle brown color and should not creep. The lack of creep was evident when I pulled the pieces off the form; there was zero spring-back of the shape. Yeah. You do have to be careful not to breathe the powder when mixing it up; a dust mask and some care seems to be sufficient.
Next are the legs. The trick here is that the leg is tapered. So I built a sled for the thickness planer which was basically a shallow ramp; I think the differential was about 1/32″. I don’t often use a dial caliper in woodworking but for this it was critical. As the piece went through on the sled it became thinner at the end. It worked well except that the planer ate a few pieces and I had some blanks that ended up too thin when I resawed them. That was discouraging but in the end it worked out OK. For this form the left end had a block and wedges to cinch the bottom of the foot tight – that worked nicely.
So here are the 8 parts ready to mortise and tenon. I chose to use machines for all of the mortise and tenons. I wanted super tight joints; the tenons aren’t as long as I would like and the whole thing was fussy.
In fact I had a major oops on the side pieces; I managed to forget I planned to cut an angle on the legs which shortened the appearance of the sides by something like 3/4. So I ended up making the side aprons twice. I pulled out the ancient Delta mortising attachment for my sad little drill press. Once I worked out the work holding after the angles were cut, it worked ok (note to self: must buy a proper drill press some day). I went to the table saw and tenoning jig for the tenons. All the tenons were straight; the mortises were angled for maximum strenght. Some hand work to fit everything. The tenons were mitered inside where they met. Tenons were pinned with square pegs.
This is the dry fit. It needed just a little coaxing to be square but it was close. Next I made the knee braces which I wanted visually and I hope they add some lateral strength. These are more bent laminations, though fairly tight. These are made of (8) pieces 1/16th inch thick.
There are 8 of these. Shockingly none broke; I think due to the outer compression strap I used (in this case 1/8″ bending ply). Metal would have been better but I didn’t have anything that worked so well and the ply seemed to do the job. My first bending test in free air, just between my hands, snapped it two. That outer compression band really makes a difference keeping the fibers from breaking open. The knee braces are screwed and glued in place, straight through the knee brace. I then followed up with a piece of veneer covering the screw heads and then trimmed to fit. With all the angles I had to add some some shims behind the braces in 4 places and fuss around to make the corners work out right but I achieved the look I planned. I think I got structural stability and it looks OK. Thought I later realized it would have been really cool if the pieces on the sides were continuous. But it was too late to be clever like that (and with the curve it would been tricky).
And here it is ready to be prepped for finishing. The lighter colored diagonals are cherry which I hope sort of ages along with the underside of the cabinet (There is some chance these will be visible from the audience since it’s on a raised platform). Those diagonals will be the attachment point for the cabinet and add a lot of stiffness. I considered more complicated joinery but later decided this would be stronger. First thought was a dovetail into the sides bet I decided better if I didn’t cut into the laminated apron sides. Glue and screws were perfect for this and I think appropriate for this kind of piece. It’s certainly dead simple.
Sunday morning I was able to do some last little fussy bits, adjusting the lock, making the door flush on both sides and fixing the hinges so they work better. Sunday afternoon I sanded down to 320 grit, all by hand. Boy did that make my fitness tracker go nuts. No machines any more as I wanted to avoid tell-tale swirls and other marks. And then I cleaned the shop and mixed up some shellac.
The plan is to use Boiled Linseed Oil on the cabinet to bring out the birds eye maple figure. Then the cabinet goes outside for a tan (to darken the cherry) for a day. Then shellac, shellac, shellac followed by rubbing out. I picked up some Super Blonde for the cabinet and a Dark Jethwa for the base, but I think that will be stained darker to hide the color differential in the laminations. Glass for shelves and the door is on order.
So the next time you see this, it should be done. Wait for it.