Good Progress on the G&G Cabinet

I got the skirts and false bottom installed on the carcass for the cabinet I’m making, which is styled like the left side of the cabinet in the Thorsen house dining room.

Nothing on this project (so far) is particularly hard or tricky, but typical of G&G stuff there is a lot of time spent on little details.  The four sides of the cabinet went together quickly, two rabbets, a double fistful of dados and some glue and screws.  I easily have twice as much time in the skirt as the cabinet body.

The fit on the front part of the skirt is fairly critical, if it’s too long at all it won’t fit, and if it’s too short — even a little — it will look sloppy.  But the real time sink was in shaping the ends of the finger joints.  I suppose you could just hit them with a router, but at that stage they looked too mechanical.  I wanted a fat, rounded, organic look that seems to typify the Greene’s work.

The joints fit, but this is fairly ugly

The joints fit, but this is fairly ugly

I wish I had taken a picture when the ends were just rounded over with a router bit, it was an improvement over square but it still looked pretty stiff and mechanical.

Shaping begun, more to do

Shaping begun, more to do

Once the corners were rounded over with a router, I went to work on the ends of the finger joints with a rasp and a file.  I also used a fine flat file on the routed edges to take of burn marks and shape the inside corners where the router bit can’t reach.  Then I attacked it with 150 grit sandpaper, blending out and points and facets.  Then I worked through the grits, 180, 220, 320, until everything looked and felt smooth.  It was several rounds of blending and refinement, and it’s totally a gut feel thing.  I don’t know if they have to be shaped like this, but it makes me happy.

Shaping of the skirts completed

Shaping of the skirts completed

Before I could assemble it I had to work out the attachment details.  The sides get screwed on from inside of the case.  The front is removable, a little secret hiding place.  I used rare earth magnets to hold the from on.

Magnets to hold the front skirt on

Magnets to hold the front skirt on

The last detail to deal with was the Ebony plugs.  I picked up a neat trick from the video, which is to use a 3/8″ socket extension to hold the end of the Ebony bar in a drill to spin it against the sandpaper to shape and polish the end.  In the past I’ve just chucked it up, which works too, but this is much better.

Use a socket extension chucked in a drill to spin the Ebony bar against sandpaper

Use a socket extension chucked in a drill to spin the Ebony bar against sandpaper

I go through a series of grits to shape and polish the sandpaper.  Each piece is placed on top of a double thickness of scotchbrite pads for cushion, today I started with 150 and progressed through 220, 320, 600, 1,500 and 6,000.  In the past I’ve stopped with 1,000 and switched to a cloth with green rouge on it — that works just as well.  This is just the sandpaper I had handy today.

Setup for shaping and polishing the end of the plugs

Setup for shaping and polishing the end of the plugs

Finished end, ready to be cut off

Finished end, ready to be cut off

I set up a bench hook with a stop so I could make a batch of plugs all at once.  This actually goes pretty fast, way faster than hand sanding the skirts.  Just saying…

Cut the plugs off all at the same length

Cut the plugs off all at the same length

Each hole gets some glue around the edges, then the plug is set in and tapped carefully to seat it

Each hole gets some glue around the edges, then the plug is set in and tapped carefully to seat it

Success!  I make the plugs a little shorter than the hole is deep so I can be sure to seat them deep enough.

Success! I make the plugs a little shorter than the hole is deep so I can be sure to seat them deep enough.

Screwing the side skirts on, plugging the holes inside of the case and gluing in the sub-bottom were pretty anti-climatic.  I think the cabinet looks pretty good at this point, and I’m going to start on the top next.

Skirts installed and sub-bottom glued in

Skirts installed and sub-bottom glued in

I have the wood for the shiplapped back ready, just a little prep work to have that ready to install.  I won’t install it until I have everything built and have applied all of the finish coats.  I’ll make the top next and glue that on.

Mostly-completed carcass

Mostly-completed carcass

 

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2 thoughts on “Good Progress on the G&G Cabinet

  1. Hi Joe,
    how did you do the holes for the ebony plugs? Drill and chisel or mortising machine? Lee Valley has a nice square chisel and drill jig for doing plugs in various sizes. Yours look real nice no matter how you did them.

  2. Hi Ralph,

    Santa brought me a mortiser a month ago for a late Christmas present. It does a really nice job on these, but of course it’s limited in what it can reach. I’m planning to get the Lee Valley square chisels one of these days, either way it makes it so much neater and faster than using a regular chisel. When I do it that way one of the sides is invariably a tiny bit off — although by the time you put a square plug in the hole it never seems to show.

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