Gil’s Walnut Armoire

Viewer Project - By Gil McNeill from Chatham County, NC
Added on February 6, 2011

Dovetailing:
Top & bottom case (router-cut), drawers (router-cut), drawer dividers (router-cut), base (hand-cut)…I wanted to experiment with both methods. The hand-cut definitely look more refined, but it was nice to have the router/jig since I had so many dovetails to cut on the rest of the piece. The upper & lower case dovetails are hidden so it didn’t really matter. I think it would have looked a little nicer with hand-cut dovetails on the drawers.

Doors:
The raised/”bookmatched” panels were a first for me…the panels aren’t resawn bookmatch (I don’t have a bandsaw with resaw capabilities)…I just pulled a bunch of wood and spent a few hours making up the bookmatch (i.e., composing with grain)…that was a lot of fun

Door & drawer pulls:
The pulls are ebonized walnut (another first for me). The ebonizing process was easy…I found an article on the FWW website. I used a convex router bit to cut the profile.

Case backs:
Lower case back is made of ship-lapped poplar (another first!)…Upper case back is walnut plywood…I’m not a big fan of using plywood, but that was a lot of visible space to fill so I experimented with the plywood. If I had had the materials, I probably would have gone with ship-lapped walnut. That’s probably the main thing I’d redo on the piece. Isn’t there always something?

Something to note:
I had to make the doors twice. That was a bitter pill to swallow! The first set of door frames twisted on me bad. I couldn’t figure out how to fix them, so I tore the doors apart and rebuilt the frames. The original panels in the doors were just flat, so I decided on the new doors to do raised panels. It worked out great and made the door rebuild a tolerable process!

As a Guild member, here are some of the areas where Marc assisted me:
– Design advice on adding additional upper & lower moldings to the upper case. Compare the before & after. The additional moldings really give the piece more interest (texture) & balance.
– Advice on how to mount the door and drawer pulls (glued & doweled through as well as glued on the back-side of the pulls)
– Finishing advice – I basically used your Simple Varnish Finish DVD process using General Finishes Arm-R-Seal.

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