This weeks progress is all about creating a mock-up for the stand. I wanted to create a mock-up because although I had a general idea of what I wanted to do I knew that i needed to practice on the legs and the joinery to make them both sturdy and delicate. I have a bad habit of making my designs too sturdy and then they look a bit chunky. So I spent the whole weekend working up a practice stand in big-box pine 2×4’s
The drawing and picture below give a rough idea of the proportions of the stand.
I have read before that with design you need to focus on a few items and not to go overboard on lots of details. You need to stick with 2-3 major elements. For the cabinet the major elements are going to be the veneer panel and the asymmetric layout of the drawers. For the stand the major elements are the delicate arched front and I wanted to try legs with a five sided or pentagon cross-section. I also wanted to experiment with the possibility of sending the legs higher than the sides.
I started by laminating the arch and then created a jig to slice a flat spot on the top of the arch to glue to the mating horizontal. The resulting wishbone shape creates two points of tenons for the mating legs.
The jig holds the arch in a predictable position so that the table saw blade can take one pass at the top of the arch which creates a clean glue-line.
Then I used the crosscut sled to cut the tenons to length.
Next I ripped matching 45 degree angles on the edge of a 2×4 to create the mortice faces for the legs. At this point I was not 100% sure where the leg shape was going to end up so all I really needed was the 90 degree angle for the two mortice faces. I then had to create a jig so that I could hold the leg blank with the 45 degree mortice face at parallel to the floor so that I could route the mortices with a 1/2 inch plunge bit and an auxiliary fence on the router.
Then I dry fit the face arch to the leg blanks. This is where the design effort took a lot of thought. I had to determine how hard I wanted to do a gently curved leg or if it was going to be very hard to replicate. I was hoping to have a leg that would splay outwards slightly to increase the stability but I also knew that the more challenging I made the shapes the harder it was going to be to replicate with precision. I used blue tape to mark off the general idea of the shapes I was considering. Eventually I settled on the simpler straight leg shapes on the right.
I then used the bandsaw to cut out the general shape of each leg. Then I cut a piece of MDF to create a template with the idea that I would use a pattern bit and the table mounter router to clean up all of the legs to a consistent shape.
I used a trick of blue tape where you put tape on both mating surfaces and then use super glue and an super glue accelerant to act as double faced tape to stick the template to the mating piece. The technique works great.
The patternmakers bit is an absolute beast that runs on a bearing. In theory this should work great but in practice it’s a bit terrifying to see this huge bit spinning at over 3000 rpm inches from your fingers. I got it done, but it’s not my favorite way of repeating patterns. I think I have another technique for this shape and I may simplify it even more in the final piece.
Next I need to reduce the 5 sided face to something that looks more symmetrical. So I softened the two parallel faces by 15 degrees each side to create a more symmetrical pentagon. It still has one 90 degree face but it looks better.
Trying to glue legs with 5 sides together is a challenge with parallel faces on the bar clams. To create a gluing block that compensates for this I cut 30 degree angles so that when I used the same blue tape and super glue trick I had some temporary gluing blocks.
This made it possible to apply pressure predictably.
I was satisfied with the general shape of the stand. Delicate and still strong. But the base is pretty spindly so it will be top heavy. I have an idea of how to secure this to the wall so that the cabinet won’t be tipsy.
I do like the general look of the stand under the cabinet. Other than a few tweaks I like the design and the look. Making a mock up took the whole weekend in this case, but now I have practiced the many different ways I can achieve this and I have some ideas to simplify some of the details even further in the finished piece. I even like the way the end of the stand extends taller than the bottom of the cabinet. In the finished piece the cabinet will appear to float about 3/4 inch off the top of the stand.
It has a strong resemblance to the Krenov piece that I drew inspiration from for the stand.
Just a small bit of the shavings and scraps created this weekend. The one advantage of pine is how easy it works. The shavings come off silky smooth.
One small excursion I took was to purchase a set of punches to allow me to mark my pieces in the future.