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This hutch design is known as a breakfront. This design has been used for years to change the boring and flat surfaces of very large cabinet work by changing the depth of the different sections of the cabinet. The design works well in modern furniture, especially, as in this case, when a microwave is intended to be part of the design.


This is the pull-out tray to set items on when removing them from the microwave. The dovetailed drawer is on full extension runners.


The finished inlay on the microwave shelf front. When looking at the entire hutch, it is just the right amount of accent for a piece of this size.

Here is a close up of the finished crown coved molding.

I milled all the lumber needed to glue up all the panels for both the top and bottom cases. The bottoms would have the "whaletail" cutouts. You will notice that in order to center the design and have the point of the cutout line up with the glueline, I made all the forward boards 5 1/4" and the rearward boards 6". After the 3/4" faceframes are added, the whaletails will be centered.

I had to drill a bunch of shelf pin holes in this cabinet, so I laid out all the panels and set my drilling jig up for two different configurations. One for the center, deeper section and one setup for the outer shallower sections. I didn't want the center section holes to interfere with the outer-section holes, but I wanted to be able to line all the shelves up in the same plane across the horizontal, so careful alignment was necessary.

Here is the first dry fit of the lower carcass. Everything fits in dados and you can see the center section dividers with the extended fronts to create the breakfront.

I decided to use loose mortise and tenons for the faceframe construction. I used my Leigh FMT to cut the mortises.

The faceframe stock is only 1 1/4" wide so I cut 3/4" mortises and then milled 1/4" X 3/4" loose tenon stock and cut them to length with my crosscut sled.

The faceframe assembly ready for glue up. The wide bottom will get a whaletail cutout after it is glued up.


This is the final dry fit before gluing up the bottom section. The top will be made pretty much the same way.

The arched door design was given to me by full scale drawings. There are two different templates for the two different widths of doors. I made templates out of 1/4" MDF, the upper rail arches with the band saw and then flush trimmed on the router table with the template and a spiral flush trim bit. The profiles were cut with a matching rail and stile bit set.

This shows the detail of the completed flat panel country French arched top door.

I could have just used a piece of 1/4" birch ply for the flat panels, but I was unhappy with the appearance of "bleached" or rotary cut commercial plys. I drum sanded the undersized birch ply down to 3/16" thick and resawed and veneered some bookmatched birch from the same stock used to build the cabinet. The result of the gently curved cathedral patterns matching the wood in the cabinet is a great improvement over the commercial ply.

Next, I started on the "leaf and branch" inlay for the main shelf. I cut out the leaf template on my scroll saw.

To get a realistic leaf appearance, I chose verawood as the inlay material, and cut a gentle curve (the center of the leaf's vein) and glued the two pieces together.

You can see how the spliced grain patterns give the appearance of natural looking leaf. Vera wood is yellowish when freshly cut, but oxidizes to a very rich green when exposed to air and light. Its perfect for this application.

I did not want the "branches" to just be a perfect, even, thickness, that using a router would give, so I hand carved the recess using a "V" gouge. I used 1/16" square sapele, soaked in vinegar, and then tapped with a mallet to break down the fibers a bit, and then glued and clamped it into the curved groove. I did 4" or 5" pieces at a time depending on the sharpness of the curve.

After the branch inlay was glued in, I scraped the surface smooth.

I laid out the leaf locations, and using my template, plunge router, and inlay bushing kit, I cut the recesses and glued in the leaves.

The last "custom feature" of this project is the client designed crown molding. First I cut the cove on the table saw using home made fences and a CMT cove cutter.

I played with fence angle and the arbor tilt until I found the asymmetrical cove that I needed.

I ripped out the cove portion that I needed for the main body of the molding. I used the cutoffs for the bottom 1/4" bead.

I ripped 1/2" stock for the top bead and splined the three pieces with a 1/8" kerf cut on the table saw and some 1/8" hardboard splines to assist in glueup alignment. This shot also shows the recessed top platform for plants and other decorative items to sit behind the crown molding.



Chisel And Bit Custom Crafted Furniture

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