Oak Bar Cabinet (my wife’s xmas present) Making good on my mistake.

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My wife wanted a Bar cabinet similar to one in her Pottery Barn Catalog. She typically finds something she wants and we “fix” the design. I have to admit, she is better at the implementation of a design than I am.

This one was pretty close to what she wanted though, or so we thought. Here is the original Picture as seen in the catalog.

So the first thing I did was take inventory on my wood supply. After showing some samples of what wood I had available (not much, my supply is getting low) she chose the native sawn oak.

The oak was sawn with my alaskian mill from a log segment similar to this one.

The lumber has been air drying for about 2 years now. It was just a flat sawn oak from left overs the loggers left behind. A couple of 4 and 5 foot chunks to gnarly for real logs, but just the way my wife likes them.

I then cut one edge square with a skill saw. The use of my home made bench hold downs were exceptionally helpful holding the pieces while I snapped a line and cut one edge with the skill saw.

Each piece is planed, and the cut edge is jointed on the Delta jointer.

If additional jointing was needed a quick shot with the #8 was in order.

Next I glued up the larger panels.

I’m not quite sure why I didn’t glue in sections, but I ended up doing a lot of flattening. I know better, but I thought the joints were going to be a bit more even than they wound up to be. I used a combination of my #5 jack and my 604 to get them flat and even. Because of the grain and knots in this lumber, there was some apparent tear out.

To eliminate the tear out it was on to a combination of my scraper plane and cabinet scrapers.

Next was cutting the dados. For all the hand tool elitists, you need to close your eyes for this one. I decided to go ahead with my tried and true router and jig.

So here is where the story got a little interesting. I had it together dry, and my wife came into the shop. “A little short isn’t it” was the response. Its 31” just like the dimensions in the catalog I said. But the catalog says 36”. No, I printed them right off the web page. Long story short, one page said 31” and a second page said 36”. Redesign!! We now need to add 5” somehow. This was a 2 am “I got it” revelation. Final design is actually better than original, but it took some “real” woodworking craft to pull it off. You know, the good woodworker knows how to cover his mistakes!

To raise the cabinet, I added a second drawer and moved the wine cubbies to the top. To do this I simply added the cubbies to the top of the existing cabinet. To secure it I first drilled and dry doweled the first top to the sides. I then screwed the first top to the added section of sides. This will be covered by a piece of live edge trim to hide it and give the assumption it was by design. This also allowed me to use a piece with a live edge for the “real and final” top. Adding a shelf to the open section filled the open space. Using another live edge gave it more of the look we were going for.

All actual ripping was done on my table saw, but the smoothing was done with my #60 ½ and the edges rounded with the ¼” molder.

Here is the new and final design. I need the 2 drawers and there will be a glass door on the left bottom.

Next Challenge was fastening the decorative steel on the corners. Thanks to Smitty, It will be done with some rusted old screws. The metal was a piece off an old piece of farm machinery discovered in the woods somewhere and dragged home. All I had to do was cut it to length. Cutting to length was completed with my horizontal metal band saw.

Next were the 2 drawers. Hand cut dovetails with my restored Disston 70 of course.

Now if you go over to Al’s Hand Planes of your dreams thread it was suggested that this was done intentional to increase the probability of this becoming a plane cabinet. I think the odds of that are pretty slim.


I thought I’d point out a fairly important tool if you cut dovetails using a pencil to mark



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One comment

  1. Nicely done Don. That wasn’t a mistake it was a design miscommunication. That was the best Smitty came up with a few rusty screws?

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