Sunday, November 2, 2014

The medicine cabinet

A new project! For the big bathroom renovation project, scheduled in 2018 or so, this is a great start. The medicine cabinet, inspired by the spice cabinets from the 17th century. I wrote about my inspiration some weeks before: Looking for inspiration.

My cabinet will be a bit more posh then the very simple ones that were just nailed together. I am going to use dovetails to assemble the box. At the top I will put a moulding. Hinges on the outside, just as if it is a barndoor. And a peculiar design detail that I like very much. The left side is extending beyond the door. In later times the door would cover the sides and looking straight on you could only see the door. But in this one you can see the left side too, maybe they needed extra wood for the lock? My lock is going inside, so I could have left this detail out, but I like it. It makes for a bit asymetrical look which spices up this little cabinet.

Inside I think I am going to put three little drawers, and the rest is going to be shelves. All drawers would be fun, but it also would be too impractical.

So, here is the design. Not fancy Sketchup, just a simple pencil drawing.

And a detail view of the crown mulding. This took the most time to design! I am absolutely new to these kinds of classic cabinets, never made a moulding before, so I am very exited to see how it goes. The design isn't really mine, you can see similar shapes in period cabinets.

Today I made a start with machining the lumber. Not all handtool work this time, I take the easy way out! Here you can see how I cut up the cherry boards in a pleasing and economical way. I hope you can see the grain pattern of the boards a bit, they are mostly flatsawn. Clicking on the image will enlarge it,

The front panel P is the full width of the board, so that was easy, It doesn't matter too much how it looks, because I am going to carve it. The long board is mostly flatsawn with cathedral grain, but on the right side the grain runs out to a more rift sawn orientation. That produces a simple striped grain pattern, ideal for the rails and styles of the door. So that part (the r's) is going to be used for those. That leaves a wide area on the left side of this board for the sides (S), the top (T) and the bottom. In between the sides S and the rails r is a long narrow piece which is ideal for the moulding. Nice straight grain in there.

These boards are kiln dried. They are a lot cleaner then the air dried ones I often use, Because air drying takes so much longer, they are often very dirty which makes reading the grain a lot more difficult.

After cutting and ripping and planing and thicknessing, this is the result of an afternoon of hard work:


  1. Hi Kees,

    Very nice design. I will enjoy following this.
    I have to make something in the same fashion albeit a different piece of furniture.
    I really to like the hinges you have come up with. Do you already know where you can purchase them?

    Thank you & good luck

    Mac ( )

  2. Hi Marc,

    I have been looking at a couple of suppliers:

    I didn't like the hinges from smeedijzerenbeslg. They were really too big and crude for my taste. So I got them from Jankos. I have a nice lock from Megchelen. I'll shoot a picture and post it overhere.