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Sideboard-Entertainment Centre

Well I am not sure how much of this project I will post since it blends power and hand tools.

The project is a very large one, both in size and expected duration. This is a sideboard-entertainment centre for the livingroom. It replaces a wall unit that was 4.0 m long. Rather than build one long and low unit (700mm low for a flatscreen TV, while the remainder is to house drinks, glasses, music and "stuff"), the plan is to build three pieces - 2 side units 900 mm long and one central unit 2200 mm long.

The design is sort of Shaker-meets-Art Deco (MY Gawd! ), which essentially means I am including the curves from art deco and the frame-and-panel typical of Shaker furniture. I wish I could draw up realistic drawings, but what I have instead are lifesized plans on thin ply.

I am beginning with the two side (mirror-image) units. These will feature two curved doors and a set of drawers, thus ..

The complete plan is this..

The plan is to build the coopered doors for each end section first, then construct the cabinet around them (taking a leaf out of Krenov's book). The centre section will be built last. That will feature curved drawers at the centre.

I've built a few coopered boxes before, but these are the first coopered frame-and-panel doors. I know I will need some advice along the way.

A while ago I posted the preparation for the timber I am using. This was salvaged from roofing timbers. I thought it was Jarrah, but now I suspect it is Karri. These are very difficult to tell apart. Very similar colour and texture, but the Karri tends to be less figured and much harder. Seriously hard stuff. Ah well, it is free.

I resawed several boards on my bandsaw and thicknessed it down to 1/2", then ripped these to 2" wide. This made it possible to determine how many boards were needed for the door panel, and I calculated that they needed a 4 1/2 degree bevel on each side for the curve. This was completed on the tablesaw. (see I am not showing any of this ).

This is where we ended (and now we can begin) ...

Sort the boards by figure and colour, arrange with the grain, and then number them before taping together ...

Note that I rebated the outer edges beforehand. Final shaping takes place later ..

The taped rear makes it easy to fold into a curve once glued up. Remove the excess glue now. Note that the inside has been finish planed. I do not plan to shape the inside. It will be left as is.

The glue-up result ...

This is the stage when I desire a new bench. Mine is just 5' long. not the flatest, and has just a face vise, end stop, and an end vise that gets little use. I built it about 15 years ago and it has been modified and kept going all this time. To be fair, however, I doubt that many better-equiped benches could hold objects like the curved door panels. How could yours do better, or how would you do this?

There was enough width for the panel to lie on the bench. I needed to prevent it splaying outward, which might cause a join to come apart. So one side has a clamp as a stop and the other uses the vise.

The end is help with a Veritas bench pup ..

So I planed with supports ...

Planed without supports ...

Scraped with supports ..

Scraped without supports ...

And then .. suddenly it is starting to make sense ...

Now for the frame.

Regards from Perth


June 2010