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OK everyone, I know there are at least a few of you following this, and I need your help and ideas. When I first drew up plans for this entertainment center, I put a door on the small cabinet section in the center. I still intend to do that, but I’m wondering what kind of hardware to use for the door. As a refresher, here is my original sketch:

Console Table Sketch 2

I was so unsure of what to do here that I deliberately drew in a question mark.

Notice how I left any evidence of hardware off that center section in the drawing? That’s not me being clever. That’s me not knowing what to do. Complicating matters, the front of that cabinet is inset about 3/16″ from the front of the legs, like this:

Center Cabinet Inset

Since there will be audio equipment in there, I need the door to open fully.  So that 3/16″ has some implications for the kind of hinges I might pick. One option is, I could stick with the original drawing, and use some sort of European cup hinge like in frameless cabinets (or in our RV).

Cup Hinge

They wouldn’t be visible from the outside. And I could use some sort of push-to-open door magnet hardware so that I wouldn’t even need a knob. That would be the ultimate in door stealth, but I’m not sure that would be appropriate for this piece. You see, this piece will have Victorian-looking drawer pulls, an old-looking zinc top, a punched tin looking door panel, and it will be distressed and made to look “old”. I don’t think modern euro hardware would look right on an “old” piece of furniture.

But I can’t use the standard butt hinges that would be on an “old” piece because of that 3/16″ setback. Either the hinge knuckle wouldn’t clear the leg, or I’d have to mortise the knuckle into the leg (weird).  And either way, I’m worried that the door wouldn’t open all the way. One thing I think would work would be to use a pair of no-mortise hinges like these. (Obviously not brass though…)

No Mortise Hinge

That seems kind of like cheating to me – just screwing on a stamped hinge – but it would at least look correct.

And then there’s the question of which way should the door open? If it opens left or right, that kind of busts up the symmetry (unless I use the invisible euro-hardware).  Is that symmetry even important? I don’t know. I could have the door open down and outward. That seems like a recipe for broken toes and banged shins. But with that setup, I could use regular butt hinges. But you wouldn’t be able to get any closer than 14 inches to the front of the cabinet with the door open.

I’ll probably go with the no mortise hinges, this door knob, and a hinges-on-the-left setup. Also, departing from the original sketch, I don’t think I’m going to miter the corners of the door. At least, that’s how I’m leaning right now. If I modify my original sketch, it would look like this.

Console Table Sketch with door

But if any of you have any other ideas I may not have thought of, please let me know in the comments.

I did some actual work

In addition to fretting and indecision, I did some actual work this week on the drawers. I’m happy to announce that I’ve got the hard parts of the drawer boxes complete, and here they are sitting in the cabinet.

Drawers in Cabinet

Earlier in the project, I waxed poetic about the virtues of hand-cut dovetails. And that’s great when I need to cut one or two. But when I need to cut four corners of four drawers with five to seven pins and tails each… well I know when I’m beaten. For this task, I turned to a router dovetail jig (and we all know I hate routers). My jig is a Leigh – which is a good quality jig. But it’s fussy, and I don’t use it often enough to do things by memory. This means I have to read the entire hundred page manual and burn through multiple test-pieces each time I want to use the thing. It takes me hours and hours to use the jig. The good news is that it makes for really spectacular pictures while it’s in use. Like this one:

Router in Action

The picture is cool, but what’s not cool is that it’s a router. It’s incredibly loud. It throws crap everywhere. It makes a lot of dust. So if you’re smart, you wear eye protection, ear protection, and lung protection. This is what I look like using this jig.

Somehow, Stef finds this attractive.

Somehow, Stef finds this attractive.

It gets pretty hot and stuffy under all that protection. And since I have to make multiple setups and adjustments, I took it off and put it on about 1400 times while making these drawers. Routers. Ugh.

So to sum up, this week in the shop, there was a lot of this

Using the Leigh Jig

A whole barrel full of this

Router DroppingsAnd at the end of it all four sets of tight fitting dovetails holding the drawers together. Miraculously, I did not mis-cut a single piece in making all the dovetails. (I usually cut into the wrong end or side of a board at least once when I do this.) I used through dovetails on the back

Through Dovetails

And half blind dovetails on the front

Half Blind Dovetails

I’m actually a little worried about those tiny half-pins on the ends of the half blind dovetails. I wanted them small so that the grooves for the drawer bottoms would fall into the tails and you wouldn’t see them from the outside.  I accomplished that.  They should be fine once the drawers are glued up… I’m just worried that I’ll snap one of them off during a test-fit.

And speaking of the drawer bottoms – I still have to cut those. I had thought, in error, that I had some appropriate plywood lying around for the drawer bottoms. I have quarter inch maple, and walnut – but not enough of any one kind to make all the drawer bottoms. I do have enough cherry – but that would look just wrong. So this week will entail yet another trip to the lumber yard; to buy a sheet of plywood that I’ll use one third of; which will leave me two thirds of a sheet to add to my ever-growing stash; which somehow won’t be enough for the next project where I need it.

And now, for something completely different

On an unrelated note – we went snowshoeing this past weekend with brother-in-law Joe, where we stumbled across what looked to be the Griswold Family Christmas Tree.

Griswold Family Tree

Bye for now!