As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.  

Jam Cupboard


This project is a Shaker-style Jam Cupboard, in pine. For inspiration I looked at the "Pine Cupboard" by Robert Wurster, on page 122 of the book "Shaker Style Wood Projects" by Robert Sonday. (Pictured at Right) His cupboard was quite tall, almost 6'; I sized mine about 48" tall by 20" wide by 11" deep.

Our cupboard is to be used for CD and tape storage, so I have incorporated a locking mechanism, to keep out inquisitive little fingers. A true shaker piece would just have a simple wooden stick (what is the proper term?) screwed to the face of the piece to hold the door closed.

With two small children at home, time in the shop is in short supply. Therefore, I gave up on the idea of using dado's to attach the shelves to the case, and instead used biscuits. (Forgive me, galoot/neanderthal friends) I was stunned at how much biscuits sped up the process of assembling the case. I was done very quickly. Of course, that speed also meant I made a mistake that much more quickly and easily. (No I'm not going to tell you)

Just to clarify -- for me and my current assortment of shop tools, dadoing would have meant either a lot of fiddling on the table saw to get the wobble dado blade set to the right thickness (Might have failed there, as the wood was 7/8" and I think my wobble just goes to 3/4" thickness), or having to put together a jig for dadoing with the router, and then still more fiddling and clamping.

I started with rough pine boards, 12" wide by 8' long, from Home Depot. I sorted and sorted and sorted, probably rejected 80% of the boards that I picked up at the store, and still I had some compromises to make to deal with large knots. That obviously explains the price premium you pay in the aisles where they sell the "clear" pine.

The door was my first attempt at a raised panel door. I was considering various options there, when a friend of mine told me how I could use the table saw to do this. Many of us have seen or read how you can clamp a scrap of wood diagonally across your table saw as a fence, and then slide your board along this fence over the blade. WIth each pass you raise the blade a bit to cut deeper, and you end up with a curved piece cut out of your board. The example is usually a curved piece of cove molding. (See references below) Well, as my friend explained, if you partially embed your scrap wood fence in the blade, you can cut a partial curve, giving you a pretty good raised panel. This gives you a panel where the cut-out is nicely curved. This method is not suitable for doing a lot of panels, but if you only need 1 or 2 (as I did), then I found that this method works well enough.

The finish is several coats of orange shellac, followed by paste wax.

Photo Gallery

Here are a variety of pictures of the unit. First we have a shot when the cupboard was assembled but not finished - the door is not built either. Then we have three shots of the finished unit. All of the pictures are clickable, to view much larger pictures (30-20K in size, each).


In case you want to find out about making Cove molding on the table saw, here are some links:
(Web site links often change, so just in case, the diagram from the fine woodworking site is shown at right.)

  1. Fine Woodworking
  2. American Woodworker


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