Krenov Inspired Cabinet.


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Recently I read a couple of James Krenov's books, which I think every woodworker should, and this really made me want to build something like his.  I found plans from FWW for a Krenov style cabinet, and modified them a bit.  This is a commission for a friend to be a whiskey display cabinet and the timing on his askng was almost ironic. 

 

The wood is cherry and birdseye maple.  The maple came from Wisconsin and looks stunning in person.  I bought it when we were getting ton of rain, and then didnt use it till it hadnt rained for a month. It all warped.  I re-flattened all of it with hand planes.  Overall I tried to do as much as possible by hand but I did utilize a few machines.  I'll never give up a table saw or bandsaw.  The joinery on the base is mortise and tenon both of which I made this chisels.  The glass etching was a bit of an experience and I could use a lot more practice, though I'm happy with the results.  

 

This was a very fun summer project.  Cant wait till the next one.  I welcome any questions, comments, and critiques.

 

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I know you built this for a friend, but I have to ask...what'd you charge him for this?  If you say anything less than $2,500 then you're a really good buddy.  Hope he appreciates the level of skill and attention put into this piece.

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I did it for cost, which was around $500.  He was the best man in my wedding and I've known him since I was 2.  Making money is nice but for me it the best way to ruin a hobby.  Making furniture is what I'm interested in.   Not that I don't want to make money at this but he got the friends and family price.  I look at it from the standpoint that someone else is paying for me to do what I love. 

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I did it for cost, which was around $500.  He was the best man in my wedding and I've known him since I was 2.  Making money is nice but for me it the best way to ruin a hobby.  Making furniture is what I'm interested in.   Not that I don't want to make money at this but he got the friends and family price.  I look at it from the standpoint that someone else is paying for me to do what I love. 

 

Amen!

 

Just don't forget, friends of friends don't get the full discounted pricing, they help pay for shop upgrades too!   :P

 

Stunning work, I have no doubt you will get referral work from this one!  Only thing that I would have liked to see different was shop made pulls.  You did such great detailed work on the pins, I think matching pulls would have been fantastic.  

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I agonized over the door pulls for a long time.  WAY to long. LOL.  Initially I wanted to make them myself, but I just couldn't come up with a shape that I liked.  So I resigned myself to finding some that would fit the theme.    I spent several days going from hardware store to hardware store trying to find the right ones.  My phone is full of pictures of pulls now.

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Beautiful. What did you finish it with, and how is the cabinet attached to the base?

Again, beautiful work.

The finish is boiled linseed oil, shellac, and wax. I did use mechanical fasteners to join the top to the bottom. They are these figure 8 looking washer things.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very nice cabinet but I'm going to be really picky here so please don't be offended.  My remarks are meant in good faith for all of us to take 'on board' so that we can think about them and maybe adopt the comments in our next piece.

 

Handles (in my view) are always, without fail, the most difficult thing to get right.  If you look at JK's stuff they tend to be very small such that the door can be opened with just forefinger and thumb...nothing more, so the ones here to me at least, look too large.  They're also positioned too high up which makes the cabinet visually look too top heavy..to give it a little 'weight' they ought to be positioned just below centre height.

 

The shelves seem to be too thick.  I personally think they ought to be a fraction thinner than the carcase (or case) so if say, the sides were 17 or 18mm then the shelves should be 14 or 15mm...again, a question of visual 'weight' and proportion.

 

The thing I saw immediately though, are the doors.  The 'shadow gap' at the bottom of the RHS door is much bigger than the LHS and in a cabinet of this quality, all the 'shadow gaps' should be identical.  For what it's worth,  to make a set of double doors is really difficult and to get them to line up in all planes is bloody hard..so well done that man!  If it's any consolation, I made a double door cabinet like this recently and it took me about three days to fit the doors - Rob 

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First off, thank you for the critique I do appreciate it.  I will consider all of this on my next project.

 

Handles-

The placement was really kind of a guess, but I did want them up higher.  The cabinet is not as tall as it may appear, at only 53".  The person this is for is quite tall (he sent me a picture of him next to it, he makes it look tiny).  The thought of placing them higher came from not wanting the user to have to bend down to open it.  Though if it throws off the balance I'll spend more time looking at the placement on the next one.

 

Shelves- None of this even crossed my mind.  For the longest time I was wanting to use glass but decided against that.  I wanted to tie the base and the top together in some way. 

 

Doors- There is no doubt these were the hardest part.  3 days fitting them up sounds about right.  I actually re-made one door and I dont know if I would use knife hinges again.  I spent LOTS and LOTS of time measuring out everything for the hinges to make sure they were exact and they still needed some tweaking.    The low angle shot really shows the gap, maybe I just need to be a better photographer LOL! 

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You're very welcome mds2.  I take the view that we always learning and without these details being pointed out by a third party, we tend to adopt the 'that'll do' attitude whereas we ought to adopt the 'that ain't right, it needs tweaking' sort of view...at least I think so.  Whenever I get hold of a critique (good or bad) about something I've done I try and squirrel the information away somewhere so I don't repeat it in the next piece.  That's the theory, practice is something else..... - Rob

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Beautiful work.  You really got the most out of that birdseye.   Overall I think it is a job well done and a piece I would be proud to put in my own home.

 

I wonder how people feel about the cherry base?  I really like the contrast and the color combination.  However, I do wonder if the cherry is almost too nice and too figured to play second fiddle to the birdseye.  In some ways in competes/detracts from the beautfiul birdseye.   Those of us who like to use contrasting species (myself included), this can be a real struggle so I wonder what others think. 

 

Again, nice work and thank you for showing it off. 

 

 

Very difficult to match two timbers to get a pleasing combination.  I usually go for one main timber with small accent details (door pulls, shelf supports etc) in a contrasting timber.

 

One detail I really like - on your doors the outter stiles span the entire height of the door while the inner stiles and bounded by the rails.  This allows the the rails to give you a continuous horizontal line.  I do not know if this is typical of a Krenov style but I have not seen it done before and to me, at least, adds some interest. 

 

This is a feature that JK does use in some of his cabinets...not all it has to be said.  I think it depends on the overall look that he was trying to achieve - Rob

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