Record Cabinets

I haven’t done many commissions. And up until this, I never build a record cabinet. I made these for Shana, who will be gifting them to Tim this Christmas (she already gave them to him, I’m not ruining some surprise).  They’re the owners of Sun Ray Cinema in 5 points. Shana and I worked out the design in mid- October, and I worked on them here and there until mid-December.  She seemed more than happy with the end result, and I think Shana was very appreciative of me keeping her up to date with how they were coming along. She really liked the aspect of using local wood. A lot of the wood for the front panels was from Florida; as close as the corner of College and King St in Riverside (poplar from a year ago), and Fleming Island (Butternut). The idea on these was to keep a good deal of the rough wood – sawmill marks, weathering, etc.

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The cases are 3/4″ birch plywood, with the bottom and backs being 1/2″ ply. The finish is 4 coats of wipe on poly.

Here are maybe too many pictures from start to finish. I’m sure at least a few people would be interested though.

The rough poplar for the fronts.
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Getting home plywood and breaking down into rough parts.

Photo Oct 23, 9 21 32 AM

Routing the dadoes for the case.
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Finished case sides.
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Rise and repeat (remember, I made two cases.)
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Test fitting. The dado was important for the shelf. I wanted a mechanical joint (as well as using screws at the edges) since it’d be holding a lot of weight. Plus, then I don’t have to use screws in the middle, forcing me to apply molding or plugs to cover the screws, and not having the look of a big uninterrupted panel for the sides.
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The veneer on the plywood was pretty delicate, Sometimes cutting the plywood would tear out the edges of the veneer. On edges you’d see in the final product, I used tape to prevent this.

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Lots of tape…
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Photo Oct 23, 7 30 35 PM

A lot of the walnut molding was cut at the router table for the groove then the table saw. This worked fine for the 3/4″ ply, but my undersized router bit for 1/2″ plywood didn’t make a snug fit with this plywood. So for the thinner trim I used a table saw, then cleaned it up with the router plane and chisels. And easing over all the edges with the plane of course.

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Then I glued all the trim on…
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Done with the dividers…

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After applying a few coats of the finish to what would become the insides of the case, I could start putting it together.

After some math, I made some wooden spacers to go from the sides to the inside divider. It made putting in the dividers a lot easier.

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And then my shop got really small.

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So I went to visit a big shop – to pick up some of the rough cypress for the fronts.

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I cut the cypress to the right width.

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Then lightly planed it. Taking off the high spots and accentuating the saw marks.

Photo Nov 20, 9 06 32 PM


Some of the pieces would be finished and not rough. I scraped those smooth.


Photo Nov 24, 11 05 59 AM

Then glued up the panels. I did a few smaller sections at once to get up to 5 rows wide.  I backed them with plywood covered in wax paper. That way they had something flat for support, but the wax paper made sure the pieces didn’t stick to the plywood, just each other.

Photo Nov 24, 8 18 36 PM Photo Nov 24, 9 11 30 PM

Before I worked them into the cabinets, I did a few coats of the finish. Knowing the rougher surfaces would soak up the poly more.
It’s enough to protect it, without making it look plasticy and unnatural.
Photo Nov 24, 9 22 43 PM

After getting the fronts on, more glues and screws, it was just a lot of little detail work with the walnut trim.

I tried to have the trim come from the same board as much as I could. Obviously this couldn’t happen for every bit of the trim. But trim on the same plane / in a similar place etc I tried to match up. These are book matched pieces for the top of the fronts (along the top of that segmented panel).  This way when you’d look down at the cabinet, these pieces at the top and bottom that you’d see would have a real similarity. 

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These had to be cut to fit the space like the rest of the trim. The table saw took out most the waste, and I cleaned it up with the router plane. Working with smaller pieces like this, I prefer to get to hand tools sooner.  It’s safer.

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Gluing on the trim. There were some angles to cut and some pieces to chisel away to get a good fit, but it went well. It was clean, nice and quiet –  slow going work, as opposed to a lot of the sawing, planing and sanding to get to this point.

Photo Dec 11, 9 23 27 AM


A few more coats of finish and they got delivered. This was the final resting place for cabinets.

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As a surprise, I heard they lasted about 15 minutes under some sheets in the house. So Christmas came early.

I was really glad for the opportunity, and glad I could build them for people who do great things for our community.



Bench / shoe storage, etc

Our front porch is back in action, and fit for human use since we only have one cat now.  Years of using the back door like a hippy is about to change.

Thank said, a suitable place to sit and store shoes would be handy.  I started working on that today.

I’m starting with a handful of fir 2×6″s.  I got these from someone in the neighborhood who emailed me a year or two ago about a renovation they were doing.  They said they had all this wood for free. And they just sort of happened upon my blog and thought I could use it.  As most the homes in the area it looked about 1950’s or so.  So at least 60 year old fir. Tight grain. Good stuff.

Rough though, a bit warped, and with nails.

Nail removal.
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They I straightened one side so it sat firmly and square on the band saw table.

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Here’s a piece after resawing on the bandsaw for the rails.

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Planing short pieces for the legs.

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You can  see here how I now have the long sides (faces) are parallel, but the edges aren’t square.

Photo Sep 24, 9 18 10 AM

I squared up on side and edge on the jointer, they ripped the leg to final width on the tablesaw.
I also ran the thinner stock for the rail through the planer to get rid of the bandsaw marks.

Four legs blanks, and stock for the rails.

Photo Sep 24, 9 32 55 AM

Thinking the top and panels with be some of the butternut boards I have.





Cabinet is on the wall and getting some more tool holders in.   Trying to make tool holder sturdy, but not too permanent.  Left is some files / rasps, scrapers, fret saw and chisels. 

Space above the gouge chisels on the right will be for measuring / marking tools.

One thing at a time.

Tool cabinet. One thing at a time.


I took all the hand-tools off the wall though to see how I’ll best get them in the cabinet. When it’s done it will certainly be nice that everything has a place, but also that it’s out of sight when not in use – not just a cluttery wall of tools on nails. Also, no matter how messy the shop or garage gets, whenever I get to any slow and patient hand tool work, it will start with having everything in it’s place. Or that’s the plan.

A little less time for this lately though. A little more record things, and (as you saw in earlier posts) beach things. And just taking the time out to hug the dog.


Tool Cabinet

Guess now I need to make a few more things to hold tools in this cabinet.


That, and try and get this thing on the wall.

Tool Cabinet Party!

Portland was fun! Pics, etc, on that soon enough at the Mabel land blog.  Clearly between my wife and I we post something every few months, with the exception of course of quick stuff from my phone. Which, no clue why a few of those previous ones didn’t load properly.

So yeah, in Portland a week and a half, then i\I spend a few hours in the shop and that is what you get an update on..

Drawers done on the tool cabinet. Here’s the most boring picture first.

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I did one set of drawers first, then thought some variation in the depth of the drawer would be nice. So the second set has the sides cut-away.

This picture should help it make more sense.  Just a dry test fit before gluing up.

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Here’s two of the four drawers glued up. One of each type. The deeper ones are rounded over throughout the inside. More comfortable getting things in and out.

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The drawers aren’t very deep and really, they’re made to be taken out while working.  One drawer would be a set of something, or tools that go together, etc. For instance, carving chisels and a mallet. Or tools for steps of a sharpening regimen.   You get the idea.

Here they all are together and in the case.  They slide decently, but will definitely need some paste wax after I finished the cabinet.  The reveal is still slightly off between the drawers to the right, and obviously they need some sort of handle.  BUT – it was my first time doing something like this and using the same board to line up and cut four drawers from. The grain isn’t super strong in the Butternut, but the continuity is very much there.

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Previous tool cabinet stuff here.

Gluing up cabinet box / routing for back –
Dadoes for drawer slides –
Doors –
Starting drawers –

Ok, ok .. and here’s a picture of Mabel and I on vacation. One of the ones that won’t load on this page.

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Tool Cabinet part 8…?

Haven’t much time for this lately. A lot of record label stuff and mail order.

But I’ve had a few hours here and there to slowly do some woodworking. It’s nice to be at a place where slowly and patiently is what it’s all about.  Good for now.

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So I got a little more done on the tool cabinet – two of the drawers.  Most pieces are cut for the other two, just need to fine tune some fits.  Here’s a detail of the drawers and slide.

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Mostly from scrap; the fronts are butternut, sides are birch, and the back and bottom is oak.


Haven’t posted much here lately, except from my phone.

This video is pretty neat and should hold you over.
For at least 8 minutes.


Tool Cabinet pt. 7

It’s brutal how slowly this is coming along! BAH!

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Working on the drawer now.  Dadoes for drawer slides.

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All the sides cut. 

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Backs go on the outside of side pieces, then the front of the sides stand proud and a front piece can be rabbeted on.  Joint to connect the backs will be a rabbet.

Not sure what the front will be yet.  Glued pieces to continue the stripes? Or one wide board cut for the drawers so it’s continuous grain? My original idea was spalted oak fronts I had.   But I think it would look too busy.

Tool Cabinet, part 6

Slow and steady  slow here with woodshop time. Health and other endeavors haven’t cooperated so well the past few weeks.

But I cut the mortises for the hinges on the doors and cabinet. It’s a good fit, it just need a small bit of tampering with.

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And up next, the drawers.