Construction of corner cabinets, etc

Tall cabinets can have separate top and bottom carcasses, with the sides made up of top and bottom framing rails and grooved-in plywood panel grooved into the front pilaster and back post (423:3), or solid laminboard sides grooved together (423:4). In 423:3 the back post will continue down to floor level, but 423:4 will require a stump leg added. Tops and upper carcass bottom can be framed in as 423:5, dove­tailed to the pilasters and either rebated/ rabbeted into the side rails or screwed to fixing fillets, or tenoned (423:6) and screwed from the outside; while the lower carcass bottom will have to be housed/dadoed in as 423:10 or treated as the tops (423:11). The pilasters are usually set at right angles to the sides, but this is not obligatory and the angle or splay can be flattened slightly if necessary, but the doors should enter as 423:9 with the appropriate angles taken from a full-size layout. (See also Canted dovetails, p. 176.) Drawer arrangements are shown in 423:7, where in 7A the length and width are greatly restricted if orthodox runners are used, whereas in 7B a larger drawer is possible if a centre muntin is provided dovetailed as shown in 8A to fit in sliders (8B) screwed to the carcass bottom. A typical base carcass assembly is shown in 423:10 in which the sides are carried down to floor level, and 423:11 where an independent plinth or leg framing is added.

422 Rupert Williamson: this corner cabinet has its roots in tradition and yet possesses a freshness and speaks to us as a piece of the late twentieth century. Note how the extremely delicate glazing lines extend visually through the door stiles

423 Corner cabinets and cupboards

424 & 425 Jeremy Broun: an ingeniously simple and yet distinctive design in yew with no visible handles, merely a tilting centre panel that allows access to the interior and provides strong visual interest

426 (above) David Savage: a quiet piece in pearwood, this display cabinet cleverly makes use of the wooden shelves to create a well-proportioned front elevation as seen through the four plain glass panels

427 & 428 Display cabinet in ash (above right) and detail of doors (below). Designed and made by Fred Perry, Shrewsbury College of Art and Technology

429 (left) A fine cabinet in South Indian satinwood, with a green burnished lacquer interior, containing 13 satinwood drawers lined with green cotton velvet. Ivory handles.

The main cabinet stands on an elevated plinth supported on 12 cylindrical legs. The sides, back and doors of the cabinet are made up of book-matched saw-cut veneers, each joint broken by a semicircular fillet, with a green line of lacquer inset. The top of the cabinet, framed in solid timber around a quartered veneered panel, incorporates a concealed catch, and pivots for the doors which swing against the sides when fully open. The interior is made up of compressed hardwood panels, lacquered and burnished before assembly, except those areas facing drawers, which are velvet. The drawers are through dovetailed and radiused in plan to produce a highly decorative detail. Other parts of the lining provide a variety of vertical, square and horizontal pigeon holes for storage and display. Designed by John Makepeace and made in his workshops by Andrew Whateley, Alan Amey and David Pearson. 1980­1982

430 (right) This elegant display cabinet in ebony makes intelligent and honest use of veneered construction without any attempt to imitate solid wood. Note the angle of the grain on the side panels and the subtle shaping on the solid edging. Designed and made by Martin Grierson

Wall units

431 Edward Barnsley: a sophisticated bow-fronted cabinet which demonstrates the finest traditional cabinet-making skills and meticulous attention to detail. Note the carefully matched walnut door panels

Figure 432:1 is an example of a backless wall unit incorporating writing-top, stationery case, cupboard with sliding doors and adjustable shelving for china, books, etc. Construction can be with knock-down fittings (see Chapter 31), or lap dovetailed if the top is above eye level, and the base housed/dadoed into the ends with a heavy support rail tenoned through and wedged. Methods of supporting the adjustable shelving are described in Chapter 29, but it is always advisable to include one or more dovetailed or plain housed fixed shelves for overall rigidity, and to hold the ends in case they are inclined to bow out under central heating conditions. Wall units can be built on site to fit alcoves or arbitrary spaces (432:4) or constructed on a modular basis, i. e. multiples of a constant measurement, 4 in (10 cm), 6 in (15 cm), etc., or constant width, 21 in (53 cm), 24 in (61 cm), etc. with the separate units brought to the site fully assembled and coupled together by screwing through the sides (432:5). The interior units, writing compartment, drinks cabinet, etc. can also be built in as part of the structure, or as separate boxes which can be adjusted to any height by screwing through the sides into the main divisions. In 432:1 the base shelving is raised up to allow for easy cleaning, but if toe-room only is provided (432:2), then the support rail should be brought forward to seal off the gap. Suggested measurements are shown in 432:3, with space above about 63 in (160 cm), which is the eye level and maximum reach height for the average person, treated as 'dead storage' area for occasional access only. If the units are made up to ceiling height any slight gap should be covered with a scribing fillet cut to the ceiling-line, and either glued on as 432:6 or set in and pinned from the back (432:7). The latter also shows an inset side scribing fillet, as plaster walls are rarely plumb. Tall units can be anchored with glass mirror plates, or with battens screwed to the underside of the top shelf and plugged and screwed to the wall.

Wall cabinets attached direct to the wall have obvious advantages in small rooms as there is no wasted leg space. Figure 433:1 shows a writing cabinet, 433:2 a cupboard with shelf with either glass or laminboard doors, and 433:3 an open





12 in

3 0cm


434 Wall hung display cabinet in sycamore by John Elbert


433 Wall cupboards and shelving

bookcase on similar lines. Acceptable dimensions could be 81/2 in (21.5 cm) deep and 20 in (51 cm) high for the bookshelves, and 14V2 in (37 cm) deep, 15 in (38 cm) high and 32 in (81 cm) wide for the cabinets. Larger sizes are possible providing the fixings are adequate. Construction of the small cabinets shown can be with any orthodox jointing method, mitre dove­tails, through dovetails, etc. or tongued as shown in 433:4, while fall flaps can be hung on pivots (433:5), or merely pivoted through the sides with brass screws and sockets (433:6). Figure 435 shows a method of wall mounting in which the cabinet is hung from a bevelled rail securely plugged and screwed to the wall, with a corresponding bevelled rail attached to the back of the cabinet that hooks over it. This top hanging method will support considerable weights, but if there is any tendency for the carcass bottom to sag it should be stiffened with an inner rail, or an under batten should be screwed to the wall. Small cabinets can also be made with glass mirror plates. The slotted variety are easier to attach as the wall screws can be aligned and driven home, and the carcass with its plates dropped in position.

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mirror plates

7/8 in

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