Illusion Cabinet

~IllusionCabinetStylish legs and a dapper door dress up a simple case piece – and help to deceive the eye.

by Gary Rogowski
pages 41-45

This design is inspired by a taper, but I needed to establish the right proportions to flesh the idea out. In much of my design work, I hover around the safe ground of a 3:5 or a 2:3 proportion in the neighborhood of Golden proportions.

For this cabinet, I thought if I were to make the eye search a bit, then a more distinct ratio was in order. Throughout the design, from the overall dimensions of the case to the size of the parts of the door, everything was held as close as possible to 1:2. This made for noticeable changes in shapes both in the overall form of the piece and in its members.

Simplified Construction
The cabinet appears to be frame-and-panel construction with the legs proud of the side panels. But the sides are solid with the legs simply glued on.

To yield 14″ in width, I assembled the sides from two mahogany boards. I finished planing and sanding both panels then cut them to final length before gluing on the 1⁄16″-overlong legs, which are also mahogany. It’s a bit easier to manage cleanup this way.

I milled my legs, cut the taper on the band saw and cleaned the faces on the jointer. A pass or two with my jack plane took out any milling marks and I was almost ready for gluing. I used my biscuit joiner to register the panel faces and legs.

Once the legs are glued on, you treat the sides like a flat panel. Plane or sand them dead flat first, then mortise for the bottom panel.

Blog: Learn how exploring old furniture and how it’s built teaches you about design.
Video: See Gary Rogowski’s technique for using the table saw to level chair legs.
Article: Read Gary’s article on handle design from our February 2012 issue (#195).
Plan: Download a free SketchUp model of this project from our collection.
In our Store: “Router Joinery Techniques,” a video with Glen D. Huey.
Web site: Visit the author’s web site, view some of his work and sign up for a class.

From the October 2014 issue, #213

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