Floating Cabinet with a Floating Top

glenn bradley

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Times change and we no longer use a receiver, disc player, etc. in the house. This gives me an excuse to build a new cabinet to hold those things associated with how we watch TV and listen to music today. This also gives me a great excuse to steal the existing media cabinet out of the living room and spirit it away to the shop. It will live on as my PC and stereo cabinet for the shop and the outdoor music system.

Enough about the old. On with the new. I'm shooting for something like this.

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This has full SWMBO approval and will be walnut. It will hang from the wall about a foot off the ground. The front panel is a fall front door for access to bluetooth stuff and maybe an eventual cable box if we ever decide to get cable TV.

I pull some promising looking stock from the racks. When trying to match material I find that a couple of swipes with a hand plane and a squirt of mineral spirits will get me a pretty good idea of which boards match and which don't.

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I enjoy plotting out where I will pull my parts from.

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I generally do this with chalk as things often change before I get all my parts sources selected.

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I break things into manageable pieces with a jig saw and start milling things.

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I leave the top and bottom till I am closer to final assembly. The balance of the parts don't look like much but, it is a smaller piece at about 16" x 18" x 42".

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I plan to make the floating panels by veneering up some of this reddish walnut I have been hanging onto.

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Often I will want a board with figure running some way other than the way the sawmill yielded.

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The answer to this is a bandsaw and a jointer.

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With a reference edge running along the grain like I want I just rip the blank at the tablesaw. I go ahead and rip a lot of the other blanks to the max width of the parts that will eventually come from them.

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I then crosscut most of them to length. I rip those crosscut parts that require it and get ready to do some joinery milling. I'll get to that as much as I can tomorrow. Some other things are going to get in my way tomorrow ;)
 

glenn bradley

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I find ganging identical pieces together with a bit of tape is seldom a bad idea when cutting joinery:). When I am using typical dimensions these setup blocks make things go pretty quick.
Float-Med-Cab (13).jpg
I'm a "fixed mortise / tune the tenon" kinda guy. A cutoff from your parts makes a good sample blank to test joinery setup on.
Float-Med-Cab (14).jpg
A few swipes with a shoulder plane and you can see how things are going to fit before you start cutting on your actual parts.
Float-Med-Cab (15).jpg
I go ahead and cut the joinery on the other parts for the front (fall front) door.
Float-Med-Cab (16).jpg
And you can now get the idea that this is not a large piece despite having an 18" by 46" top.
Float-Med-Cab (17).jpg
I will take after the sides tomorrow.
 

Dan Noren

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seems, in spite of it's size, with all that walnut, that is a bit of heft to be supported by just the back against the wall. i tend to think along those lines, not just the weight of the box, but the weight of the contents that will be going into it, and, what if someone happens to lean on it? then again, kind of a permanent mounting, what if you wanted to move it? one would think of some sort of support, set just far enough back, out of the line of sight, would accomplish the same effect, and would retain the ability to vacuum under it.
 

Don Baer

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Staff member
if I was hanging it on the wall I would use a French cleat, it would provide enough weight to support the weight but also provide the effect of floating. When I did the cross for the church commission that's how we hung it. It's made of 8/4 Hard Maple and is 15 feet tall. So it is very heavy.
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That was 12 years ago and it's still hanging.
 
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Vaughn McMillan

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seems, in spite of it's size, with all that walnut, that is a bit of heft to be supported by just the back against the wall. i tend to think along those lines, not just the weight of the box, but the weight of the contents that will be going into it, and, what if someone happens to lean on it? then again, kind of a permanent mounting, what if you wanted to move it? one would think of some sort of support, set just far enough back, out of the line of sight, would accomplish the same effect, and would retain the ability to vacuum under it.
With the right mounting hardware you can mount just about anything to a wall. I used to hang heavy stuff on an almost daily basis when I was installing artwork. And we were in an earthquake zone, so things had to be extra beefy.
 

glenn bradley

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SoCal
how are you causing the cabinet to float off of the floor?
Dual french cleats along the back (some parts hidden for clarity):

Dual French Cleat-1.jpg . Dual French Cleat-2.jpg

The sides will do the lion's share of support. They are veneered 1/4" ply panels with an additional ply backer surrounded by walnut creating a thin box / rigid panel. These end panels will transfer load from the rear stiles and cleats to the bottom boards and top supporting structure. The carcass is only 12" x 16-1/4" x 40", mostly made of walnut, and should be easily held by the cleat length and surface I am planning. If you have worked with oaks, hickory, padauk or other mineral-rich woods walnut is relatively light. I was never a structural engineer but I've hung a few things that are still up. I have the ultimate testing lab; my living room plus my 2 and 4 year old grandsons :D :D :D.
 

glenn bradley

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I know I re-cover some methods and techniques ad nauseum. I do this under the assumption that some newbie or experienced person unfamiliar with the method may drop in to our little world here :). Hmm, I seem to have this recurring need to explain myself . . . :p.

The door stiles need stopped grooves. Here is another example of how setup bars can help out. I again use an off-cut and do the proposed joinery cut on it.
Float-Med-Cab (18).jpg

The setup bar acts like a big feeler gauge to tell me how things are fitting.
Float-Med-Cab (19).jpg

All is well? Off we go. Many of you have seen and done this operation before; a stopped groove on the router table. The fence setting is already known as show by the result on the scrap shown in the previous pics. The stop position will change for each of the two parts.
Float-Med-Cab (20).jpg

The part, controlled by the stop, fence, and your steady mitts, is lowered onto the spinning bit, moved to the other stop and lifted off.
Float-Med-Cab (21).jpg . Float-Med-Cab (22).jpg

I used a down-cut spiral since I wanted a very clean edge. The parts are asymmetrical lengthwise so the stops are changed from one part to the other.
Float-Med-Cab (23).jpg

The actual dimensions match the drawings so I will confidently :rolleyes: move on to the side panels where the joinery is a bit more challenging.
 
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Don Baer

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Staff member
Dual french cleats along the back (some parts hidden for clarity):

View attachment 119752 . View attachment 119753

The sides will do the lion's share of support. They are veneered 1/4" ply panels with an additional ply backer surrounded by walnut creating a rigid panel. These end panels will transfer load from the rear stiles and cleats to the bottom boards and top supporting structure. The carcass is only 12" x 16-1/4" x 40", mostly made of walnut, and should be easily held by the cleat length and surface I am planning. If you have worked with oaks, hickory, padauk or other mineral-rich woods walnut is relatively light. I was never a structural engineer but I've hung a few things that are still up :D.
just wondering, are the cleats you show in the drawing upside down ? Also when I did the cross I only used the French cleat on the horizontal part ten I put a spacer on vertical part towards the bottom to keep it from leaning. The cleat was 48" long. I like the single cleat since it was easier to hang
 

glenn bradley

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just wondering, are the cleats you show in the drawing upside down ? Also when I did the cross I only used the French cleat on the horizontal part ten I put a spacer on vertical part towards the bottom to keep it from leaning. The cleat was 48" long. I like the single cleat since it was easier to hang
Sorry, those pics weren't s clear as I originally thought. The cleats that are spaced away from the carcass in the first pic would be the wall mounted ones. Normal cleats like your used to, my example was just bad. A single cleat would probably be plenty. I just tend to be a little overkill in my thinking until the grandkids get a few years older. They are 100% boys. for multiple cleat setups I put on the one wall cleat first. I then position the additional wall cleat(s) using the mating cleat on the piece to set position. Pretty easy as long as the design allows you that sort of access.
 

glenn bradley

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The center divider was a smidge too snug off the saw. My de-snugger took care of that.
Float-Med-Cab (24).jpg

There we go.
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Cut all the panel slots.
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I haven't used a lot of the smaller dominoes as of yet so I took a few minutes and made some domino stock.
Float-Med-Cab (27).jpg . Float-Med-Cab (28).jpg

That oughta do it.
Float-Med-Cab (29).jpg
 

glenn bradley

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SoCal
Thanks guys! I know there are folks on here who are a lot more familiar with the Domino than I am. Here's something I picked up working on darker woods. I mark across the pieces to be joined with my usual pencil that rides along in my apron.
Float-Med-Cab (30).jpg

Before I cut the mortise I write over that pencil line with a white pencil. You don't even have to be careful, the graphite pencil shows through the white marking. This give a little easier target to hit with my old eyes.
Float-Med-Cab (31).jpg

One of the things I have enjoyed about floating tenons (way before the Domino) is that you can cut parts to actual length. This allows clamped up dry fits to measure off the piece for additional joinery if required. You can see that I used stub tenons on the fall-front dividers for no particular reason.
Float-Med-Cab (32).jpg

Once you're happy you cut mortises on both halves of the joint and add the tenon. Although a new tool for me I can see that the Domino makes quick work of this operation.
Float-Med-Cab (33).jpg

And you can kind of get the idea of the look here.
Float-Med-Cab (34).jpg
 

glenn bradley

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Location
SoCal
I failed miserably on getting pics of the veneer re-sawing and preparation. I spent the morning helping a neighbor with his boat. Short story is that we had to be towed back in to the ramp . . . don't ask. Certainly could have been a worse place to wait for a tow.

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At any rate, time was short so I just plowed through. This is the best I've got.

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You may notice the Veneer is a bit thick. Veneering is very new to me; this is my second run. I should have made the panels first and then cut the grooves that will hold them. LOML has specified that she wants the panels flush with the rails and stiles. This means a rabbeted edge on the panels.

I calculated using whole imperial dimensions (like 1/4") for the substrate. BB ply is metric so it will be a bit shy . .. Doh! My solution was to go thick on the veneer. I will drum sand it back to the dimension I want. 20/20 hindsight. I'll try to do better next time.
 
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