Blue Milk-Painted Cupboard.


This project was supposed to be another one of those in-between jobs that was to be slapped together in a weekend.  (And after this job I have finally realised that in woodworking there is NO such thing as a quick job.)  I replaced the bar fridge at work for a larger one and there was a space available, and a need for, a grocery cupboard.  My friend gave me some cheap pine pieces in odd thicknesses and I was up to the challenge of using it.  I also just bought a new biscuit machine (plate joiner to my USA brothers), so all of these factors led me to the following design.  More like I stumbled blindly into the following design:

Use the biscuit machine to assemble the carcase for speed, but use the pine instead of man made boards in order to stick to traditional techniques as much as possible.  The thinking behind this is with the pine, I still get to use my handplanes as well as seeing how I cope with the wood movement of the pine.  The doors too were a hybrid between speed and traditional woodworking.  I assembled the rails & stiles with the biscuit machine, and used tinted glass for the panels.

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Carcase sides being glued up.                                                                                                                                
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I decided to add a small drawer inside just to make it look interesting.  The travel of the drawer was limited in both directions.  At the back I simply screwed a piece of scrap wood, taking into account the knob had to be recessed so as to not make contact with the door when the cupboard was closed.

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Drawer visible on top right corner.
                                                                                                                                                                             Stop to limit backward travel of drawer.

The stop to limit the forward travel of the drawer was more complicated as I didn’t have a lip to attach a stop to.  So I first attached a small square piece of scrap onto the roof of the drawer opening and that would stop the drawer when it made contact with the inside of the drawer-front.  The I cut out its negative on the corresponding part of the draw back so as to not limit the drawer being pushed in.  See pictures below:

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So to recap, the little block of wood glued to the roof of the opening bumps against the inside part of the drawer front to prevent the drawer from falling out when opened-see 1st photo above on left hand side.

The other two photos show how a corresponding notch has been cut out of the drawer back to allow the drawer to be pushed in.

The final thing needed was to allow the drawer to be removed, and for this I screwed a figure 8 clip that could be rotated out of the way whenever I needed to remove the drawer.  The photo on the left below shows the clip in the open position when inserting the drawer for the first time or when I need to remove it (possible reason is to plane it after seasonal movement causes it to jam).  And the photo on the right shows the closed position.

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I had bought some milk paint which I was planning to do on the Shaker Bench II project and so this was a reason to try it out.  I am not sure if the South African version is inferior to the stuff I see in overseas magazines, but I am definitely not a fan of milk paint.  It clogs up within minutes of being mixed, dries very rough but if sanded goes through to the base layer.  The poly also never looked good on top of it, almost a dirty look.

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In conclusion, I learnt a bit about inserting a butt hinge, frame (and panel) door construction, wood movement in pine and milk paint.  So this project was a good lesson for me on my path as a wannabe traditional woodworker.  The overall result looked too cottagey though and in future I would use man made boards with Euro hinges, this would make the project neater and faster.  Or I would go totally traditional with hardwood frame & panels and proper joinery.  Hybrid furniture is perhaps not for me.

Thanks for sharing.

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