Sideboard – dividers

Once these go in, the carcase frame is almost complete…

The bottom portion of the case (where the doors and shelves will be) is divided into two compartments. I used a full panel for for this part as it will also be used to hold pins for the shelves.

The panel is made from both eastern white pine and poplar. The exterior and front of the case is eastern white pine. Instead of making the entire dividing panel out of the more expensive pine, I made the first few inches of the panel pine and the rest poplar. The process is the same as gluing up any other panel.

Typically, and as I have in the past, I would use a sliding dovetail to seat the divider panel into the carcase. However, I decided to go with a simple dado. I think mostly because I wanted to practice cutting dados. It turns out it was good practice…and practice that I needed. Each dado was a little better than the previous. There are 6 dados total (two long dados for the large middle panel & two short dados for each drawer divider.

I found that blue tape is a great little helper with this task. It really helped keep my router plane from marrring the surface. The technique I used was to 1) finish the panel to final thickness, including a once over with the smoothing plane, 2) mark out the dados with a marking knife based upon that final thickness of the divider, 3) cut along the knife line with the cross-cut saw down to final depth, 4) chisel out the majority of the waste, and 5) finish up to final depth with the router plane.

This technique worked good, producing a nice square dado. The divider was a little bit of a tight fit, which is what I wanted and expected. I used the smoothing plane to dial in the perfect fit.

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Here I am flushing all the parts before I move onto the top.

divider clean up

– JR






Sideboard – bottom web frame

You could almost picture some drawers…


The bottom web frame uses similar construction to the top web frame. It differs in how it connects to the case sides. While the top web frame is dovetailed (half-blind) into the top of the side, the bottom web frame is joined with dados. If you have downloaded the Sketchup model for this project, you can see there is a dado on the front and back of the case side to receive the front and back pieces of the web frame. That dado is not continuous across the width of the side pieces. I forgot to take a photo before I glued it up.


The rest of the frame is similar construction to the top web frame where the ends and middle of the web frame are allowed to float within the web frame to allow for wood movement. I repeated this same process of only gluing in the front mortise and tenons and leaving the back free floating (with-out glue).

The middle divider in the bottom web frame matches the construction of the top web frame. These will eventually be connected with a “divider” piece at the front and back of the case, which will further define the drawer locations. There will also be a runner that “runs” front to back on that middle divider that will help guide both drawers into and out of the case.



-that blue painters tape helps me to remember where each joint goes during glue-up – it can get confusing when your running around like a mad-man while the glue is drying

Next up should be the dividers that define the drawer and door locations.


Sideboard – top web frame

The top web frame comes together with M&T and half blinds…

It will help to hold the carcase together, provide a surface to attach the top, and help to frame the drawers.

I used a little blue tape to help hold things together while I marked out for the half blind dovetails. I spent some time making sure that everything was square before marking to final length.


I am starting to really like cutting and fitting half blind dovetails. I’m still very new to this type of joinery, as in my past life – as a power tool woodworker – I only cut through dovetails. The half blind seems to come a little more easy to me; there is less fitting and paring with the chisel for me when I cut them. I think I will incorparate them more into future projects.


After the half blinds were cut and fit properly, the rest of the web frame (middle and sides) were constructed using mortise and tenon joinery. Only the tenons on the front of the case will be glued. The tenons on the back of the case will be free-floating (no glue) so they can move with changes in humdity. I didn’t get a shot of it working, but I got to use my “pigsticker”, which is lots of fun to use. I drove through six mortises in no time with that puppy.

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Here’s a couple pics of the top web from in place.

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Next up – the bottom web frame…

-side note…nothing is glued at this point, nor will be for quite some time. I’ll be taking the carcase apart and puting it back together multiple times as I fit some other parts.


Sideboard – dovetails & rebates

I finally get to some joinery…

I always cut tails first. I do so because, for me, this is the harder of the two (tails or pins) to cut. I also wanted to put the harder, tails on the board that was the hardest to cut. This resulted in cutting the tails on the bottom panel of the carcase.

The bottom panel is 60″ in length, which makes it difficult to work on. I started to cut the tails by clamping the panel to the front of my bench. This worked somewhat, but the top part of the board – where I was sawing – was unsupported and created lots of vibration during the cut. Not something I enjoy – nor does it help me stay square and true while cutting. Not to mention, I had to stand on top of my saw bench to get into the comfortable height in-line with the end of the panel.

That’s how I cut one end of this panel. On the other end, I tried something a little different. I layed the panel flat on my bench and let it hang off the end of the bench a few inches. It was just a matter of “taking a knee” at the end of my bench. The board was much more stable and I was more comfortable.

In the end, both ends turned out good. The second method was much more enjoyable however.


The corresponding pins on the side panels were a little easier to cut. I was able to clamp these to the front of my bench without all the other issues because of their shorter length. Marking for the tails was the challenge. Luckily I had a third hand to help.


A little chopping and fine tuning, and I was able to get a glimpse of what the sideboard would look like.


Looks good…it’s exciting when things start to come together.

Next, I took the opportunity to cut the rebate for the planks that will make up the back of the carcase.


I think my next chapter in this project will be to work on the top web frame.


Sideboard – making some panels

Before I begin, I need to make some panels…

This is part of every project that I enjoy. It’s a great way to get into the groove.

I started (bottom, right side, and left side) first cutting all parts to rough length. Here you can see, I lack a saw bench. However, the step stool and upside down chair stool have been serving me well for a while.


The next step in this process for me is to flatten each board across it’s width. I am also checking, and adjusting, for wind if there is any. There’ my handy-dandy homemade winding sticks.


These Eastern White Pine boards were in the rough, and came to me significantly over 1″ thick. I removed a lot of wood off each board as there was a decent amount of cupping on every board. This cupping was no match for my #6 jack plane, which I have set up with a very aggressive radius. You might be able to make out the marks from that radius in the photo below. With this nice soft pine, I was able to hog off a ton of material in a short amount of time.


The shavings bucket was overflowing some.


From there, I cleaned up one side of each board that I was joining together to make the panels I needed. I purposely leave the other side as is. The reason I don’t flatten and true the other side? Economy of motion (I hope that’s the right saying). I would rather spend my time flattening and truing the entire panel, rather than each board individually…basically saving a step. There’s also another trick I use (using complementary angles to edge glue the boards of a panel together) which I will save for another blog post.


This is me stickering some panels while they wait for glue-up.


Here’s the bottom panel and one of the sides. I’m liking the way the grain of this pine is turning out.


The last thing I had to do to finish preparing these panels was to bring them to final finished dimension – which includes squaring them up. Glad I built that shooting board this winter…it came in handy. Here’s the panels – awaiting their dovetails.

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Here’s some shop waste piling up. I’ve been to busy sawing and planing to make a run to the compost pile.


Next, I’ll see if I can get these puppies panels dovetailed…


Sideboard Layout

Layout is one of the hardest parts for me…

I spent a good portion of the day yesterday laying out parts for the sideboard. I worked through the entire stack, picking out the best fits for the project based upon grain, color, and wood movement potential. It deffinately helps to take the time now and mark everything out.


I don’t have a dedicated space for my shop. It’s part time shop – part time garage. Therefore, I spent a little extra time restacking the lumber pile in the order that the parts will be used. The boards selected for top and bottom mouldings, for example, are on the bottom of the pile. On top of the pile, are boards like that shown above – bottom & side – which I will use at the start of the project…constructing the carcase.

Glad this task is over…it was tedious, and required some serious brain power. It is becoming evident how invloved this project will be.

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Now I am tired, but excited to start making some cuts.





Eastern White Pine Sideboard Kick-off

Feels good to kick-off another project…

Here’s a pic of the design. Clicking on the link will take you to my Sketchup Models page. From there, a click on the pic will take you to the 3D Warehouse in case you would like to download the model.


The carcase is constructed with dovetails at the bottom and at the top where it joins a web-frame. There is a second (lower) web-frame that supports the drawers, and also serves to create a division between the drawers and the lower cabinets. There’s also a divider panel that separates the two lower cabinets.

The doors are basic frame and panel construction. They will feature mortise and tenon joinery with a floating panel. The drawers are constructed with half blind dovetails at the front and through dovetails at the back. The “panel” for the bottom of the drawer will float, allowing for wood expansion at the back of the drawer.

I am going to attempt to make my own moulding for the top and bottom moulding on this project. I came up with something for the model, but that design is not yet set in stone. Actually, anything at this point is fair game…I usually make some changes as I work my way through the build.

As I mentioned in the previous post, all the exterior portions of the sideboard (except for the back panels) will feature eastern white pine. All interior portions will be constructed with poplar…the back panels will be poplar as well. The poplar is going to save me some cash, and should wear better on those drawers over time.

Can’t wait to get started…


Lumber run

A took a day off work last week to make a trip to the local lumber yard…

I’m gearing up for my next big project (6′ sideboard). It’s pretty exciting for me as I haven’t really been in the game lately.

The design process usually takes a good amount of time for me, and that’s where I am right now. The design is in it’s final stages, just working out all the fine details (joinery). I should be finished with the design soon. Once finished, I’ll post it and include a link to the 3D Warehouse like usual. The sideboard will feature both drawers and doors, and should end up somewhere around 100 bf of lumber.

The photos below depict all the lumber I should need for the project. There’s about 50bf of Eastern White Pine on the top of the pile, which is intended as the primary wood for the project. On the bottom of the pile, there is about 70 bf of Poplar intended to be used as a secondary wood for all the internal structures.

The lumber is just stacked for now, but it will be stickered once I start to surface it. Right now, everything is in the rough.

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This was my first trip to this particular lumber yard. The verdict is still out; I’ll have to see how the wood works. The guys out in the yard were very helpful. One of them brought me to the stack of Eastern White Pine and helped me located the boards I was looking for. He then pulled down the stacks with the fork lift and helped me sort through the stacks, board by board, until I found some 16 footers that would work. He then offered to cut them in half so they would fit into my van…I thought this was pretty good service. So, I’ll see how things go with this new supplier over the next few projects. If all is good, perhaps I’ll feature a post on them.

Stayed tuned for the new project design…


It’s been quite some time


Well, it certainly has been a while since my last post…it’s approaching a year now.

There’s a plethora of reasons I could come up with: it was just way too cold in the shop this past winter (it barely broke 35F in the shop all winter), there’s the kids (lots of work there), the P90X3 challenge (90 consecutive days of intense exercise), and a much needed hiatus (needed the time to re-focus).

However, even though: it was frigid, and I didn’t have much time (P90X3/kids/hiatus), I did manage to get a couple of small projects completed so far this year.

Saw Sharpening Vise

One of the first things I set out to do this year was build myself a saw sharpening vise. I based the design off the one that I believe Lie-Nielsen uses/created.The concept is basically two pieces of wood hinged together that clamp the saw blade in place.

I just drop it into my moxon-like vise, which provides all the clamping pressure I need to hold the saw plate steady. To help with the holding power, I glued a couple of strips of leather to the inside faces of the saw vise. Not bad for some extra scraps taking up space in the shop.


Shooting board

I also made this shooting board from scraps around the shop. The base is made out of MDF and the rest are scraps of cherry and maple. I’ve been meaning to make this one for a while. I should get a lot of use out of it.


Tool Rack

Again…here are some more scraps. I had these nice strips of cherry left over from the Chiffonier project. It is not eveident in this photo, but there are strips of walnut sandwhiched in-between the strips of cherry. The walnut strips were strategically placed according to the tools you see in the photo (ie. each chisel has it’s own home). The walnut creates a gap large enough for the small end of the tool to pass through rack. This helps keep my bench neat & clean, and in addition, positions the tools I use most at close range.


Pine Shelf

I did manage to get one non-shop project finished. This shelf is made out of some type of pine. It’s held together with cut nails and glue. There is no fancy joinery – dados, rebates, dovetails, nor mortise & tenon – just the nails. A few chamfers and some shellace & wax and it was ready for it’s new home.



Hopefully won’t be too long for the next post-


Plate Rack – molding…paint…shellac…done!

Might as well just cram it all in, because I’m done…


I went with a simple round-over for the bottom molding. It anchors the base just enough, and it gives the plate rack the ability to stand on it’s own…if it were not hung on the wall. The top is a fairly small crown, which is perfect for this size project. I am not sure how to describe the crown…it is like a large cove that rounds over into a smaller cove. Whatever it’s called, it came out perfect.

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I prepped the back bead boards with some shellac I whipped up. It’s really dry this time a year. As a result, I was able to apply 5 coats in one evening. After a couple of days of curing, I rubbed out the shellac with 0000 steel wool. Then I applied some butcher’s wax and buffed to a shine.

The rest of the plate rack was intended to be painted. Yes, I will be covering up all that beautiful hard maple..including my hand-cut, half-blind, dovetails. I was a little disappointed, until I saw the results.

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This was a fun little project. See you next time…