Quick Update on the Thorsen Cabinet

It’s been a busy week at work, and I’m looking forward to making some solid progress in the shop on this new Greene & Greene cabinet that is inspired by an original cabinet in the Thorsen house.  I’d like to get the carcass all together, and that seems realistic.

I’ve finished milling the Sapele for the body of the carcass, and I just cut the dados and rabbets to assemble it.  I need to drill the shelf pin holes, and drill the mounting holes for the skirt.  Then I can start milling up the wood for  the back of the cabinet and the door.

I should probably go buy some 5/4 or 6/4 stock for the door — which wants to be 1″ thick the way it’s designed.  I could plane down the 8/4, but that seems wasteful.

Stuff I need to buy still: plug cutters to plug the screw holes that attach the skirts.  The screws don’t show unless you take the front skirt off, but it should be finished.  I need to buy or make the handle too.  Dale Barnard, the man that designed this cabinet, sells a custom brass handle that is modeled after the Gamble house kitchen cabinet handles (as I understand it).  At $80, it’s a little steep for my budget though.

G&G Reproduction Handle

G&G Reproduction Handle

I used my power tools to get to this point, I will final surface the inner faces and exposed edges with my hand planes, followed by a light sanding before I do the assembly.  That reminds me, I’ll need to raise the grain on the inside faces before I final sand it, it’s nearly impossible to do a nice job on that once the cabinet is glued up.

Sides with dados and rabbets

Sides with dados and rabbets

Carcass mock up

Carcass mock up

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4 thoughts on “Quick Update on the Thorsen Cabinet

  1. $80 handle is pretty tough. Do you ever pre-finish the interior of your cabinets? Looking good.

    • Jeff, I pre-finished the inside of the Underhill nail cabinet (and the egg crate dividers) before assembly, that helped for sure.

      On this cabinet I plan to dye it before top coating with oil, shellac and colored wax — I don’t think I could pre-finish it and do a good job of it (and deal with the transition to the outside).

  2. The original cabinets in the Thorsen house dining room have no handles, just ebony lock escutcheons over little mortise locks, a detail the Greenes used a lot. Why not go with that? It does mean you need to keep a key in the lock to use as a handle, but on door stiles as delicate as these they are a very unobtrusive choice.

    I think Dale Barnard’s handles are just fixed handles. The originals in the Gamble house operate very small full-mortise locks, very sumptuous for a kitchen! When I was a docent at the Gamble house I made some inquiries, but never was able to discover who the manufacturer of the hardware was. They used the same handles in the Blacker house kitchen and pantry, but I haven’t seen them anywhere else.

    • Thanks John! Amusingly I was just writing another blog post and noticed the same thing about the original cabinet – that they are carved wood escutcheons that take a key. I don’t know if my woodworking chops are up to doing a full mortise lock and a carved escutcheon, but I’m certainly thinking about it now.

      Dale’s handles are definitely just fixed pulls, I suspected that the Gamble house pulls were mortised latches — that’s one of the details I wanted to look more closely at the next time I can get down there. Verifying a few details on the Inglenook Sconces is another one, I think the one I made is pretty close, but there are a few details I was guessing at.

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