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Project 4: First Aid Cabinet

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billw

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With the first coat drying on the saw vice I can't crack on with sharpening any saws yet, but I do have a half-finished wall cabinet that needed a door and a finish applying. I did have a door design in mind since the carcass is actually half of a project from F&C, but I don't have any 10mm PAR that's large enough for that design. In addition the workmanship on the carcass is basically cr*p, so it really isn't good enough for anything other than a shop item - and I'm adept at cutting myself so having some plasters and TCP to hand will be a bonus.

So, I'm starting off with this, made from American black walnut and bog oak for the back and dowels.

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You could drive a bus through those gaps, thankfully they're all going to be against a wall.

This morning I rough cut the door from a piece of 10mm bog oak that's fortunately just about big enough to make the door. My initial thoughts were to inlay a cross into the door to signify its first aid usage, and I have three suitable offcuts to do that from - sycamore, padauk, and purpleheart. I know the latter two will eventually fade to brown but since the cabinet will be in a workshop that will probably take a fair while, and I could always try the suntan lotion trick to give some UV protection.

Alternatively I could make it a 3D affair and chamfer the edges of the cross.

As for the handle, I've cut the door a little long and was thinking of having a small handle extending out from the bottom of the door itself so it could be flicked open using one finger, helpful if you're bleeding to death I suppose. I already have some brass hinges and a paid of magnets to keep the door shut.

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ps yes the bench is riddled with woodworm holes.
 

billw

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I spent most of today getting frustrated with Japanese waterstones and building a proper shooting board out of MDF and ply to replace the chipboard and scrap pine effort I first did, which has now been repurposed as a temporary donkey's ear to build the appropriate add-ons for my new board.

Anyhow, I digress. I fitted the door today, this highlighted just how bad the carcass is in terms of damage from where it had gone through a thicknesser and got caught, plus generally just being a bit of a half-pineappled piece of work. I think this general attitude has somewhat continued to finishing it.

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I did read somewhere that you could adjust hinges to get rid of the gap, as you can see I didn't bother. I've prepped three sides of the door, the bottom side is about an inch or so long at the moment, as I try to sketch out leaving some of the overhang in place as a handle. My first attempts just look a bit rubbish, so maybe I'll scrap that idea and plane it flush.

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There's some lovely medullary rays on the inside of the door, they're not on the outside because the other side looks less terrible. Still not decided on which wood for doing the inlaid cross, but it's on the list.

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MikeG.

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Don't put yourself down so much, Bill. You're making stuff, and that's great. Hopefully you're enjoying the process, and learning as you go. That's also great. What you are making is fit for its purpose, rather than the scrap bin. All that has lots to be commended. Most of all, you're in your workshop whilst others are at their keyboard, and you are learning skills. Bumping up against your limitations is exactly how you learn new skills and techniques.....and bear in mind that bog oak can be a pig to work with.

As to the looks......so long as you don't go for fancy mouldings or expensive blingy hardware, a rustic hand-made appearance is really attractive. Stick with that aesthetic all the way through and you'll win plenty of plaudits from friends and family. Personally, I'd put that cabinet in the bathroom quite happily.

-

Difficult marking-up bog oak, isn't it.
 

billw

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Thanks for the comments @mikeg, I think my posts are probably worded as such just to point out to the reader that I'm not oblivious to the errors and thinking I'm the next James Krenov :LOL:

As for bog oak, yes it's a complete pig. It tends to splinter very easily, it's way too easy to damage unless tools are razor-sharp, but it's such incredibly beautiful stuff that I couldn't resist using some of it! The rest of the stock I have will certainly be getting saved for when I can do it justice.

Once I have this cabinet finished I'm going to revisit my sharpening skills as I'd like to avoid the errors that are caused by slightly blunt or poorly-honed edges. However as you mention - it's all learning and I'm quite blessed to have so much free time at the moment to dedicate to the workshop.
 

custard

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Bill, please don't inlay or carve that piece of Bog Oak.

Bog Oak is a rapidly diminishing timber, most of the good stuff has already come out of the farm lands of East Anglia and Western Ireland. Hamish Low, the guy who basically figured out how to reliably process and dry Bog Oak, is convinced that we're now seeing supplies of the timber tapering out. Consequently decent boards of Bog Oak, and yours genuinely is a pretty good example, are non-replaceable precious resources.

The hard fact is that, right now, you just don't have the skills for important timbers like this. Put that board away, save it until your abilities have caught up with your enthusiasm, then take it out in ten years and do your very finest work.

There's nothing wrong about early projects that are a bit rough and ready, that's just how we all learn. But when timber that's a national treasure gets chewed up for those first projects, well maybe you'll look back on that with regret.

Hope you don't take this the wrong way, I'm 100% up for encouraging new furniture makers in any way I can. But the first lesson that any maker has to learn is respect for the materials.
 

billw

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The hard fact is that, right now, you just don't have the skills for important timbers like this. Put that board away, save it until your abilities have caught up with your enthusiasm, then take it out in ten years and do your very finest work.
It's probably a bit late for that particular piece, but the remaining stocks I have certainly won't be getting used any time soon. Doing the winding sticks and the door has demonstrated the difficulty of working with it as a beginner.

I think the problem was I was itching to properly make something, and my timber stocks consist solely of bog oak, ebony, offcuts, and these.....

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Those are definitely not getting touched in the near future.
 

billw

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Latest progress. Cut out the cross for the door out of scrap sycamore, which uses just a simple lap joint. Made sure it was oversized on all ends in case my marking out was off.

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I used a cabinet scraper on it after this was taken to remove all the discolouration.

After sizing it I started very carefully creating the rebate by hand.

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Can't quote work out why the right hand edge of the bottom section isn't quite straight, because I've checked all the angles on the cross itself and they're as good as 90deg all round.

I'm planning on having about half of the 8mm depth of the cross standing proud of the door and it will have chamfered edges. At the moment though it fits just fine, if not a little tight, but I am happy with that. Not too much work left all being well!
 

Torx

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Bill, please don't inlay or carve that piece of Bog Oak.

Bog Oak is a rapidly diminishing timber, most of the good stuff has already come out of the farm lands of East Anglia and Western Ireland. Hamish Low, the guy who basically figured out how to reliably process and dry Bog Oak, is convinced that we're now seeing supplies of the timber tapering out. Consequently decent boards of Bog Oak, and yours genuinely is a pretty good example, are non-replaceable precious resources.

The hard fact is that, right now, you just don't have the skills for important timbers like this. Put that board away, save it until your abilities have caught up with your enthusiasm, then take it out in ten years and do your very finest work.

There's nothing wrong about early projects that are a bit rough and ready, that's just how we all learn. But when timber that's a national treasure gets chewed up for those first projects, well maybe you'll look back on that with regret.

Hope you don't take this the wrong way, I'm 100% up for encouraging new furniture makers in any way I can. But the first lesson that any maker has to learn is respect for the materials.
Not to start a debate (I’ve had scraps of bog oak barely large enough to get a couple of dowels from tucked away for years), but imperfections or not, I bet this will be an heirloom piece, especially as it’s so functional.
 

billw

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Did some more on the cross today. It's been frustrating at times, due to some lack of thinking which caused cracks and whatever, but it's not looking too shabby. Shown sitting in the rebate.
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Tomorrow I'll sand it and then it's a job of getting the door finished off so I can glue the cross in.

I have opted to leave the door about an inch longer than the cabinet at the bottom, and I'll be putting a maple triangle on the bottom right corner to show where to pull the door to open it. I must remember to put the magnets in too!
 

billw

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Two coats of Osmo Polyx satin applied. Frustrated that despite using a cabinet scraper on the cross it is still defaced by particles from the bog oak. Still, I am relatively happy with the overall progress. Just waiting for the screws for the hinges to arrive before completing this project.

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I couldn't get the effect to show up well under the artificial light in the garage, but in direct sunlight the bog oak is a beautiful mix of deep brown and jet black.
 

billw

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Finished article. Pleased - yeah, it's not bad at all. Yet to decide where to fit it in the garage/workshop.

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A very satisfying click as the magnets connect to hold the door shut.

Next up: making a box to hold wood samples.
 
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