Cutting the Cabinet Carcass (in Relative Terms)

The Bastard Tool Cabinet.
Those of you following along know that as of last Friday, I had only managed to cut the sides of my Bastard Tool Cabinet to size. This weekend I was able to spend some time in the shop and I managed to cut the rest of the carcass.

I began with the back. I marked the height by using a story stick to reference the height of the existing sliding storage cabinet. I then subtracted two 3/4" Baltic birch scraps from the story stick measurement (for the top & bottom) and voilà, I had the exact height of the back. As there were no parts to match the width to yet, I just set the table saw fence to 29" and cut away.

Measuring the back.
Next I moved on to the top and bottom. These are the funny looking pieces with the triangles in the middle. As the doors will be 3" deep, I'll be removing triangles from their edges to allow clearance for them to open and close independently. The triangles on the top and bottom are to fill the void left by the clearance notches on the doors. To cut the top & bottom I first trimmed the panels to length while the saw fence was still set to 29" (instant and exact fit to the width of the back with no trial & error). I then marked out the width of the edges of the top and bottom and used my Woodpeckers Story Stick to determine the center. It has one face marked with a 0 in the middle and inches counting off in each direction. I adjusted it so that the same number read at either edge of the panels and marked the 0 spot. Center found. Once I had the center marked, I measured 3" off the previously marked width and drew 45 degree lines back to the width line with my Japenese 45 degree square (I had to use my Veritas Sliding Bevel to extend the line).

One of the Bottom/Top pieces, marked & ready for cutting.
Close, but not perfect.
When faced with how to cut the top and bottom panels, I opted to cut the main width sections on the side with stopped table saw cuts. I then took it over to the bench and used a cheap pull saw to cut the center triangle by hand. My hand cuts were inconsistent, with only every other cut coming out square. As this is a shop project made of plywood, I took out my rasp and quickly chewed the angle cuts down to the line.

It was at this point that I realized that I may have been overly optimistic when I said that the sides were done last week. I had made the mistake of cutting them 3 7/8" too narrow (the wide of the bottom & top, not the full cabinet). After a few moment of pouting, I pulled out another piece of Baltic birch and set about making new, properly sized sides. As there were other carcass pieces ready at this point, I again used relative dimensioning. I began with the freshly cut bottom piece. To that I added a 3" strip which will serve as the pocket section of the doors (cut from an original side piece), a 3/4" scrap on edge to represent the door panel itself and a 1/8" keyway key to allow for an 1/8" gap between the between the inside face of the door pockets and the main carcass. After marking this reference line on the new side piece, I realized that I had oriented my pieces off the end, and not the back, of the side. Luckily I had not made a cut, so I re-stacked them with the correct orientation, set up the table saw and cut both side pieces.

A Bottom/Top piece + a 3" strip for the door pocket + a 3/4" piece for the door back + 1/8" keyway key = the side width.
Finally, the carcass panels were ready to be assembled.

Ready for assembly.
In a serendipitous post, The Wood Whisperer has posted an article today on using Measuring Sticks for relative dimensioning. Apparently even the cool kids like to take their cut lines from other pieces, rather than a tape measure. How do you mark for your cuts?

Other Bastard Wall Cabinet Posts
Trudging Towards Tool Storage
The Bastard Wall Cabinet (For Tools!)
Winter Wall Cabinet Wonderland