Tom’s Wine Cabinet

Viewer Project - By Tom Buhl from Santa Barbara, CA
Added on August 21, 2012

The floating case idea was developed from creating a danish modern credenza (to match 1950s desk) with that feature. I was also influenced by student projects at College of the Redwoods. A friend had recently attended and he would send pix of his own and other’s projects.

Lots going on in this concept piece of Hickory, Honduras Mahogany (horizontal lines), Ash (legs) and Wenge for the Buhl diamond inlay (underside of top). Ash was chosen for the legs as I was unable to locate straight-grained Hickory in suitable lengths. I had strongly hoped to use hickory for the legs, but made due with material available to me.

Two dovetailed cases float between the six legs. Cleats rest in leg notches and are pinned (fixed in front, slotted in rear) and slide into stopped, housed dovetail sockets routed in the underside of the top. None of these elements are glued to allow wood movement front to back. Horizontal and small vertical divider in large case also used housed dovetails. Cases attach to legs with stub and floating tenons.

I spent quite a bit of time pondering the mechanics of attaching the top to the cleats. During most of the build, I expected to use counter bored screws up through the cleats into the top. Clearance issues would dictate driving the screw before placing the cleats into leg notches. That approach also did not give me cleat to top preferred cupping resistance towards edges and I’d have the counter bored holes or plugs, both of which were negatives to my expectations.

For a brief moment late in the process, I considered making shallow grooves and just letting the top rest on the cleats with no “locking”. Being a concept piece for myself I almost went that direction, but then my inner wood whisperer said, “that top is gonna potato chip during one of our Santa Ana, low humidity evenings.” So the housed sliding dovetail was finally chosen.

The case to leg with back panel glue ups took some heavy pondering. Number of interlocking at perpendicular planes elements created a sequencing and balancing challenge. Great to have an assistant, clamps and deep breathing exercises.

For the finish I wiped on poly/boiled linseed oil, mineral spirits blend (4:1:3) wet sanded up to 600 grit. Six to nine coats depending on anticipated exposure of the element. Interiors and door panels were finished before glue up. A number of other elements were finished as I went along.

For more photos including the process go to:

Thanks to all who responded to WTOR forum queries throughout the build. Great community!


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