Thorsen Cabinet Completed!

I wrapped up the assembly of the Thorsen cabinet, finally, yesterday.  Rubbing out the parts, installing the stained glass and doing the final assembly all went without a hitch.  I wasn’t able to get a good picture of the completed project — only mediocre ones.  My camera phone doesn’t do well with a lot of contrast and the dark cabinet needs a lot of light to photograph well.

First off, I rubbed out all of the parts with 0000 steel wool and black BriWax.  The was goes into the pores in the wood and adds a bit more color.  I’ll probably topcoat it with regular paste wax later for protection.  I installed the stained glass into the door using the wood retaining strips I’d made, securing them with my pin nailer.

Glass installed in the door, finish rubbed out

Glass installed in the door, finish rubbed out

Case and shelf rubbed out...

Case and shelf rubbed out…

Slats for ship lapped back rubbed out

Slats for ship lapped back rubbed out

Once the parts were all finished it was time to assemble it.  First the back was screwed in, then I hung the door, and that was it.  Why did this take me all day?  I did waste some time trying to match the patina on the handle with the hinges, but I couldn’t get the hinges to darken properly.  I’ll have to read up on patinas, I thought I understood the process.

Back installed into the case

Back installed into the case

Then I hauled the project into the house.  I haven’t hung it yet, I decided I need to repaint the wall where it’s going…which will lead to repainting the room, and god only know what that will lead to.  I actually want to make paneling for the room to match this cabinet, in the style of the Thorsen house where it follows the outline of the cabinet.  But first there are six other projects I want to do, so we’ll have to settle for a fresh coat of paint for now.

My photography skills notwithstanding, I’m really happy with the finished project.  There are (always) a few things that I see to improve on in the next project, whether it’s proportions, construction or finish details of course.  But I try not to dwell on the minor glitches and enjoy the overall result.

Finished cabinet

Finished cabinet



Another view of the outside

Another view of the outside




Categories: Woodworking | Tags: | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “Thorsen Cabinet Completed!

  1. Once again, that looks really awesome! Is it above a fire place mantel?

    • Thanks Marilyn. It’s sitting on a sofa table we have against a wall opposite the fireplace. That table is destined to be replaced soonish with a matching G&G piece, maybe the Blacker table I posted about recently (although that one might not be scaled quite right for the space, it has the advantage of being a match to the dining room table I want to build and could be used as an extension for more seating at the dinner table).

      Although there is a very real risk I’m going to veer into making pine boxes decorated with Kolrosing…

  2. Beautiful work!

  3. Your joints look perfect! Nice job.

  4. I think the camera caught the look. If you need a place to safe guard while you paint send it to me.
    Why do you use 2 screws on the top of the back two center back boards?

    • Hi Ralph — no particular reason on the two screws – it just seemed better than one, and close together I didn’t think it would be affected by wood movement.

  5. Thanks for sharing. Really a fine looking cabinet. I enjoy reading your blogs. How is the inlay coming along?

    • I did the one experimental piece, then sent the router base back to have them look at it because there were a couple of problems with it. I’m looking forward to doing more with that.

  6. Great work. Very nice!

  7. Beautiful work Joe. The stained glass looks fantastic! I like the repeating cloud theme throughout this cabinet and you captured it in the stained glass perfectly. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy seeing your projects come together.


    • Thanks Greg – I’m eager to see your next Tansu come together. The first one was awesome, without even allowing for the fact that it was made from construction limber from the home center. I’m really eager to see what you do with the Cherry. By the way, I finished some cherry with the “Tried & True” oil+wax blend. The stuff is really easy to use and it really brought out the color of the Cherry nicely. I don’t care for their oil/varnish blend, it never seems to dry, but the oil+wax mix I really like.

  8. Jonathan


    Your work keeps getting better and better. I’m not usually a fan of Greene and Greene stuff, but this latest piece is stunning! Way to go, this is inspiring. The colour in the finish is amazing.


  9. Your blog makes me want to build things. Thanks for talking through details – very helpful. BTW – I’m over in Pleasanton. Do you know anyone that stocks big timer for making a Roubo-ish workbench?

    • I’m near santa cruz — if you’re ever over this way I’d be happy to get together and talk shop.

      We’re lucky, around here there is a ton of Douglas Fir available, which makes great workbenches. Watch craigslist, over the weekend I saw four big fir beams (6 x 9 and one larger one), all about 20′ long for less than $100. It was enough to build a workbench with leftovers. Jackel Enterprises in Watsonville has reclaimed fir timbers, but CL is going to be much cheaper. Fir makes a great bench, I made my Roubo-ish bench from a recycled 6×9, and 6×6 legs with 4×6 stretchers.

  10. Thanks for the doug fir /craigslist advice and the invite to the beach. I will let you know if I’m coming over 17. I saw your car project too (I have a 66 GTO).

    Back to your cabinet – the finish looks very good. Did the BriWax give you a subtle effect or strong color change?

  11. Dallas

    Once again you have built a beautiful piece. Love the Stained glass look. Thanks for the project blog, I greatly enjoy it.

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