Country Dry Sink

Begin building the top by gluing and nailing the side splash pieces to the back splash pieces. I like to hold the back splash in place using a vise to keep everything in line as it’s nailed together.

Begin building the top by gluing and nailing the side splash pieces to the back splash pieces. I like to hold the back splash in place using a vise to keep everything in line as it’s nailed together.

Traditional American dry sinks were made from yellow pine and had deep wooden troughs on top that were useful for storing pitchers, churns and buckets of liquids. Now that we’ve got refrigerators and ice makers, the dry sink has graduated to become an expensive item at antique markets.

This updated version preserves the form of the traditional dry sink, with its high splash guard on back and storage down below, but I’ve altered a few key components. Instead of a sunken wooden trough on top, I’ve added two drawers. And instead of yellow pine, this dry sink is made from curly maple. Put the finished project in your kitchen to add a country touch to a farm home, or use it as a buffet in an informal dining room.

Traditional Construction

I build all my casework the same way, and I’m convinced that these methods will ensure that the furniture will be around for a long time. Begin by building the face frame of the cabinet because most of the cabinet dimensions are based on the face frame. I use mortise-and-tenon joinery to join the rails and stiles. I make the tenons on all the rails 1″ long, and all the mortises 1-1/16″ deep, which will ensure your tenons won’t bottom out in your mortises and give some space for excess glue to go. Dry-fit the face-frame parts, then put glue in the mortises and glue up all the rails and stiles. Start with the center rail and stile and work out.

Doors Next

Now glue and nail the splash pieces to the top. Turn the splash upside-down and put a bead of glue on the entire length of the back splash. Then put a bead of glue on the back third of the side splash. If you glue the entire side splash, your top might bust apart after a few seasons.

Now glue and nail the splash pieces to the top. Turn the splash upside-down and put a bead of glue on the entire length of the back splash. Then put a bead of glue on the back third of the side splash. If you glue the entire side splash, your top might bust apart after a few seasons.Once the glue is dry from the face frame, I like to make my doors because they are easier to hang and fit while the face frame can be laid flat on my bench. The doors are built much the same way as the face frame, with 1"-long tenons on the rails. To hold the panel in place, I plow a 3/8" x 3/8" groove down the inside edge of all the door parts. Be sure to make the tenons on the rails haunched because of this groove. Once you have the rails and stiles fit, measure the opening for the panel and cut your stock to size, making sure that you leave a 1/8" gap all around to accommodate wood movement in the panel. I cut an 8° bevel on the edges of the panel using my shaper, though you can easily cut this bevel by tilting the blade about 12° on your table saw. Finish sand the panel and add one coat of stain. Place the panel in the groove, glue up the mortise-and-tenon joints and clamp the doors. You’ll notice that I make the doors the same size as my opening in the face frame. This is on purpose. Once my doors are complete, I trim them to size on my jointer. Hang the doors in the face frame, then remove the doors and move onto the case. Build the Case Place the top on the splash assembly and nail it in place through the underside of the top.

Begin building the case by gluing up some boards to make the side pieces and shelves. Once those are cut to finished size, cut 3/4″-wide x 1/4″-deep dadoes to hold the two fixed shelves in place.

The bottom dado is located 4-3/4″ from the bottom edge of sides. This will make the bottom shelf stick up 1/4″ above the bottom rail of the face frame and serve as a door stop. The second dado should be flush to the top of the center rail because the drawers will ride on that shelf. Now cut 1/2″ x 1/4″ rabbets in the sides for the back.

Put a bead of glue in the dadoes, then put the shelves in the dadoes and nail the case together through the sides. Some people might wince at nailing a case together this way; I don’t. I figure that when the glue finally gives way, as it will someday, it’s the nails that will hold the piece together.

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