Chris Schwarz's Blog

Pin the Rattail on the Foamular

After three more hours of CAD work last night, I finished up the preliminary drawings for the next cover project for Woodworking Magazine. We’re calling this project “An American Wall Cabinet.” But right now a more apt name would be “An R-5 Wall Cabinet.”

This morning I spent about 45 minutes building the face frame, tombstone door and drawer front of the cabinet using the pink Ã?½”-thick Foamular insulation board. I taped up the joints with packing tape. Then I printed out the hardware from the Horton Brasses web site, cut it out (Horton scaled it full-size!) and taped it in place.

If you ever wonder how woodworking magazines get away with coverlines like “Build a Bench in a Weekend,” this is it. It’s our trade secret. We just build it out of Foamular.

After a dry-fit of all the parts (no tape), I determined that the mediary rail in the door was too wide. So I shaved off Ã?½” with a ruler and a knife and it looked much better. Then Senior Editor Glen Huey and I placed the rattail hinges on the stiles so they would work well and look good.

This short exercise also drove me to plan on adding some stopped chamfers on the stiles of the face frame when I build it out of walnut. So all in all, it was worth the $10.

If you’ve never worked with Foamular, it’s a cinch to cut with a knife and a ruler. I used my Tite-Mark gauge to first score the foam’s plastic film. Then I followed up with the knife. To make the curve in the tombstone door, I drew it with a compass. The pencil lead didn’t cut the foam; it made a furrow in the film. Then my knife could easily follow that furrow to complete the cut.

And what are we going to do with the leftover foam? Easy. I use it for slicing up plywood with a circular saw. I lay the foam down on the driveway, put the plywood on top, and set the sawblade to cut through the plywood and slightly into the foam (and not the concrete). Works every time.

– Christopher Schwarz

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