Building the Doors
The doors are made from solid oak using frame-and-panel construction. I first chopped the mortises in the stiles and cut matching tenons on the rails, fitting each to its mortise with a shoulder plane.
Then, on the table saw, I plowed the 5/16″ x 5/16″ grooves in the rail and stile stock that would receive the edges of the door panels, after which I turned my attention to the raised panels that would be fit inside the frames.
The flat front face of each door panel is decorated with walnut stringing made with a quick-and-dirty inlay technique. I first used a hollow-ground planer blade on my table saw to cut clean grooves on the face of each panel. I left that same blade in the saw to rip off thin strips from a walnut panel I had thicknessed to the exact width of the grooves. After applying a little glue to the grooves, I tapped the strips into place. I completed the process by planing each strip flush with the surface.
Since the door panels show their flat faces in front, I raised the back surface of each panel by planing wide bevels all around to reduce the edge thickness.
The bevels were laid out by marking one line on the edges of each panel about 5/16″ from the front surface and a second on the back surface of each panel about 1-1⁄2″ from the edge.
After dry-assembling each door to check the joinery, I glued the mortises and tenons and clamped the assembled door, leaving it to cure on a flat surface.
My setup for mortising door hinges employs a vise, a catch block and one of the corner brackets I used earlier when installing the end panels. This presents the door at a convenient height for handwork and keeps it stable under the force of chisels and a mallet.
The mortises on the door frame, however, have to be chopped on the assembled cabinet in less convenient circumstances.
However, despite my gauge and my careful installation, I still managed to goof in the installation of one door. I could have filled the hinge screw holes and re-installed the hinges. (Like I said, things can happen …)
Instead, I decided to fix the error with a plane. To do this, I marked the high section with pencil scribble, then removed the hinges and planed those scribbled high areas flat.
Now that my machining and joinery was completed, I moved to sanding the project smooth up through the grits, and applied three coats of oil-based polyurethane — this sort of project takes a bit of abuse.
All that remained to do was to bring it to my son’s apartment, which unfortunately meant carrying it up a few flights of stairs. Maybe the next time I offer to build something for him, delivery will not be included in the bargain!