The Teacher, the Apprentice and the Cabinet

Ready for door assembly

Writing your very first blog can be both exciting and scary, what do you write about and honestly, who will really cares. Since taking a dive into the woodworking waters, life has been full of adventure and insight as I discover how much there is to learn. Its like the quote from O’ Brother Where Art Thou, “C’mon in boys, the water is Fine!” But not everything has been fine. It may be a blessing or it may be a curse, but the more you learn about how furniture was/is made, the more questions you ask and the more you notice. Notice how good this craftsman built his furniture, how poorly you built yours. That’s when something inside you says, “keep building, learn the lessons and grow in that skill.”

To learn the lessons, I have found that being taught by a teacher accelerates the learning process and I have been quite fortunate to find some excellent teachers, which I will discuss in my upcoming blog posts. The first teacher I want to mention is Steve, blog writer (www.closegrain.com) and teacher (Popular Woodworking University).

Reading Steve’s blog posts for over two years now, I consider him one of the best teachers and mentors in traditional woodworking. After emailing Steve, he was willing to give me lessons via Skype. Both of us have video cams and we are able to stream live from our respective woodworking shops (myself in Louisiana and Steve from Massachusetts.) This has been very successful. We kicked the lessons off with questions/answers in order for Steve to gauge my knowledge base. From my multiple questions and Steve’s wise judgement and direction, we decided that building a basic cabinet would be best for this young and inquisitive fella.

In building this cabinet, I was learning about carcass joinery (box construction), dados for the shelf, building a drawer, and floating panel. The species of wood used is Louisiana cypress and the drawer was reclaimed walnut and poplar sides. I will post another blog on the finished cabinet. I learned a lot and look forward to the next project.

Using full dovetails and half blind dovetails for the carcass of the cabinet

Using full dovetails and half blind dovetails for the carcass of the cabinet.

Full dovetails looks good

Full dovetails looks good

My half blind dovetails need some work

My half blind dovetails need some work…lots of work.

Dados for the shelf and drawer below

Dados for the shelf and drawer below

Practicing on groves and small panel before attempting the larger panel

Practicing on groves and small panel before attempting the larger panel

Panels cut to size, appropriately marked and handout mortise and tenon.

Panels cut to size, appropriately marked and hand cut mortise and tenon.

Floating panel planed to size and a good fit

Floating panel planed to size and a good fit

First floating panel complete, lots of lessons learned in making this.

First floating panel complete, lots of lessons learned in making this.

Drawer front and sides fit, next to dovetail the joints.

Drawer front and sides fit, next to dovetail the joints.

Dovetail complete, still need lot more work on my half blind dovetails

Dovetail complete, still need more work on my half blind dovetails

Ready for the drawer bottom

Ready for the drawer bottom

Now full dovetails for the back

Now full dovetails for the back

Drawer fits, with a little planing here and there.

Drawer fits, with a little planing here and there.

Ready for assembly, stain and finish.

Ready for assembly, stain and finish.

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2 thoughts on “The Teacher, the Apprentice and the Cabinet

  1. The cabinet is looking quite nice, Thomas! Is that some cypress from Lamar?

    I am very glad you were able to find an arrangement that worked for you. I look forward to seeing you progress as a craftsmen, keep up the good work.

    Regards,

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