BY

JOHN A. FRY

CUSTOM CRAFTED FURNITURE

 

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This commissioned cabinet was for a home re-model in San Francisco, and I worked from measured drawings only as I never saw the home.  I was given drawings of the room with measurements and locations of the plumbing and given the thickness of the tile that would be installed.  I also received a template of the oval sink that I would plot the curve of the coopered doors.

 

Another shot of the finished installation.

 

A matching wall cabinet mounted over the toilet.

 

I started the layout of the coopered door by drawing a full size outline of the cabinet. Then using a protractor started plotting the width of each stave and measured and marked the angle of the bevel that would be required for each piece. Because the curve is actually oval, the staves needed to be narrower as the turn became sharper.

 

I cut and glued up practice pieces of poplar and then laid them on the pattern to be sure I had measured everything correctly. I re-adjusted and cut some angles again about three times until I was satisfied I had it perfect. The angles ranged from 4 degrees in the flattest part of the front, to 13.5 degrees at the sharpest part of the bend next to the cabinet sides.

 

I built a clamping form out of MDF to maintain the correct curve during the glue up. It is covered with clear tape to prevent the glue from sticking to it.

 

 

It was possible to glue the first couple of pairs of staves together without problem using ordinary clamping techniques. You can see them in the clamps in the upper left corner. Then I placed these pairs in the form and started gluing each additional stave one-at-a-time, clamping it to the previously glued group.

 

After each additional piece was added, the clamping strategy required changing. I kept making caul additions to keep the pressure flat against the edges.

 

 

After the curved doors were glued up, came the labor intensive part. The inside curves would have to be scraped and sanded to remove the faceted flats and make it curved. I used cabinet scrapers with curved edges and a good coarse hook. I could of chosen to leave it faceted, but that was not the level of craftsmanship I wanted to present. The outside surface was easy using a low angle block plane to craft the outside curve.

 

This is the top plate to support the curved apron above the doors. This piece and the curved bottom needed to be edge banded with canary strips. I used tongue and groove joinery and saw kerfed the tongue on the banding to allow it to be bent.

 

It had to be steamed to make the bend of the tightest radius at the ends without breaking. A bit of glue and a lot of clamps.

 

 

This unit was built in three separate sections. I made the doors first, and then built the center cabinet to match the doors exactly. After the center was completed the two outside drawer cabinets were built to fit the remaining space that the bathroom required, after allowing for tile and thinset. This is the dry fit of the doors to the center section after I had cut off the tops of the doors to make the grain matched upper apron.

 

One of the side sections. I used full extension, ball bearing drawer glides. The drawer sides are soft maple with through dovetails all around.

The other drawer section had one double drawer.

The inside of the big drawer with the inlaid "Chisel and Bit" medallion.

 

This shows the inside of the under sink, curved door, cabinet. These doors were mounted with euro style hinges that could handle a thick door, and limit the travel so the doors did not swing all the way around to the drawers.

Completed, finished, and ready to ship.

This is a matching wall cabinet that mounts over the toilet.

 

 

Chisel And Bit Custom Crafted Furniture

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