Contemporary Cabinet

PW_Cabinet-OpenerThe inspiration for this simple build hangs on a live-edge piece of walnut.

by Megan Fitzpatrick
pages 26-31

A contemporary look and no dovetails: Those were my self-imposed rules for this cabinet design. I’ve just completed a remodel on my kitchen, you see, with shop-built Shaker-style cabinets and a passel of hand-dovetailed drawers. I needed a change in design direction.

This walnut and spalted beech hanging cabinet is the result, and while I can certainly see some Shaker (with a touch of Krenov) in its bones, the live-edge top and mix of woods brings it into (or at least closer to) the 21st century.

Rather than relying on the cutlist and illustrations provided, I urge you to let your own eye and the wood you have available guide your build. While I’m pleased with the proportions here, the depth and width were at least in part determined by the width of the walnut and beech I had available, and the place I plan to hang the cabinet.

I began by milling the walnut stock for the posts to 1-1⁄2″ square, leaving all the pieces 8″ or so over-long. That’s because I wasn’t sure of the angle I wanted on the pyramid at the bottom of each, and needed some room to try out a few. I used a backsaw to rough out a variety of angles, but in the end, settled on 45°. That’s an easy cut at the table saw.

Mark the pyramid base (where it transitions into the flat of the post) 1″ up from the bottom on at least one face, then tilt your table saw blade to 45°. Align the saw blade at the top of the cut with your layout line, then cut all four faces. This leaves you with a 1⁄2″ flat centered on the bottom of each post.

I recommend making these cuts before cutting your stock to final length (off the top, of course); that way, you have some wiggle room if you experience blow-out or decide to change the angle.

After you have a pleasing pyramid, reset your table saw blade to 0° to cut the posts to final length, then decide how you want them to appear in the finished piece. Arrange them in a bundle in the correct order and draw a cabinetmaker’s triangle on the top to help keep you oriented throughout the rest of the build.

Video: See how to use “ticking sticks” to fit doors.
Plan: Download a SketchUp model of the cabinet.
Blog: Learn how to install butt hinges.
In our Store: For contemporary inspiration from some of today’s best makers, read “Studio Furniture of the Renwick Gallery,” by Oscar P. Fitzgerald.

From the November 2014 issue, #214

pwm1114_150