December 29, 2000
This last fall my daughter Kanon asked me for a cabinet to place her CD deck on and for storing CDs, so I promised I'd make something. Since I'd been thinking of building a number of Arts & Crafts style pieces for the rest of the house, I decided I'd get some practice by making a kind of "A & C-ish" cabinet.
The cabinet's size was dictated by the area it has to occupy in her room, and the physical size of CDs. It stands about 92cm high, 65 cm wide (body) and 70 cm (top). It's only about 19 cm deep (based on the length of CD jewel boxes). It would have had prettier proportions had I made it a bit deeper, but I was building for CDs, and the area it will stand in is quite narrow. I gave it two sliding doors on top and French doors on bottom, with two adjustable shelves.
Most of the cabinet is red oak. I looked for the traditional white oak, but it's very hard to come by in Japan, and the red oak was available at a "Doit" home center. I also didn't see any reason to quibble much over the wood, since it was to be a practice piece. I should note, though, that after beginning the construction, I found a supplier of Japanese nara--a close relative of white oak, and bought a good stock of it; I have it stored and waiting for the A & C settee I'm planning next.
I decided to edge join the sides and top, and as a distinguishing motif (and for more practice), I inserted a slice from a dark, unnamed species of board I found at a Tokyo woodstore. After beginning to work with it, I decided it was probably some kind of mahogany, based on the grain. In addition to the slice between the edge-joined sides and tops, I also used it to make two butterfly keys which I embedded in the top.
In accord with A&C design canons, I used through-tenons on the upper and lower stretchers, and since this was the first time I'd cut mortises and tenons. I used the method recommended by many others--a Forstner bit to open the mortises, then chisels to trim the ends up square. For the tenons I used a home-made tenon jig, based on one that C. John Hebert has mentioned on The Oak woodworking forum and on John's Website. Thanks, John!.
The door panels are Japanese kiri or Paulownia wood. Based on the occasional comment I've seen about it on other woodworking forums, it seems to be a fairly unusual timber to Western woodworkers, but here in Japan, it is the standard for high-end dressers. It's favored here due to its resistance to insects and fire, but I just wanted to try it out and see what it might look like. Japanese furnituremakers always leave Paulownia unfinished when used in drawers, but they adopt a variety of finishes in the body of their dressers. On this cabinet, I used several coats of Watco oil, followed by Watco wax.
Thanks for viewing!