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In keeping with traditional Arts and Crafts design, I built this clock cabinet from quartersawn white oak.
Clamping the front and rear frames together during assembly is a challenge because the tapered edges on the opposing sides aren’t parallel. Your next job is to drill 5-mm diameter holes for the shelf pins that will eventually support the adjustable glass shelves.
The solid-wood partition panels that divide the interior of the cabinet rest on wooden cleats attached to the sides and back.
Take a look at the plans to see how the corners of the interior partitions are notched around the vertical stiles at the front. Next, prepare solid-wood panel inserts to cover the small openings on the sides of the cabinet, at both the top and bottom. It’s almost time to order glass, but first make the two doors—a small one that covers the clock face, and a larger door for the main part of the cabinet. Next, set the small door aside and concentrate on making the decorative grid assembly (the strips used are called muntin bars).
After checking the measurements of your door opening, cut two vertical and four horizontal strips to fit snugly between the frame sides.
Mark the location of the notches and end tabs, then make your cuts with a backer board behind the parts to minimize tearout.
I mounted the doors on the cabinet using full-wrap minaret hinges with an antique brass finish. Let the stain dry for a full week before applying three coats of wipe-on satin polyurethane to protect the surface. When the finish is complete, apply a light bead of clear silicone caulking to the rabbets and place the glass in the openings.
Mount the clock mechanism on the face board and drop it into place from the top of the cabinet.
Now that you’re an expert at building Arts and Crafts furniture, there’s nothing stopping you from designing a few companion pieces to keep the movement alive and thriving for another hundred years.
If you want your drawer to have a precise fit, don’t rely on the dimensions given in the materials list—measure the opening for yourself and adjust the plans as required. To economize, I made the sides and back of my drawer out of poplar and I used a commercial dovetail jig. The drawer slides on L-shaped aluminum runners that are screwed to wood cleats at the front and rear. Cut the drawer stop to size, drill pilot holes in the aluminum and secure the piece with a pair of screws installed from underneath. Quartersawn white oak will forever be known as the classic lumber of Arts and Crafts projects. After you cut the cove in your molding, cut the 45-degree bevels on the FRONT side of your molding.
Now, turn your stock over so the FLAT BACK side is against the table surface and repeat the procedures outlined above, making the 45-degree cuts on the BACK side of your molding strip.
NOTE: Before assembling and gluing the top of the cabinet, make a cardboard pattern for the glass shelves.
Begin construction with the framed panels that form the sides, front and back of the cabinet. It’s much easier to drill these holes prior to assembly, while you still have easy access to the interior faces of the frames.
To achieve a perfect fit and flush alignment along the top edges, it’s best to cut and install these thin cleats with the side frames temporarily assembled without glue. The grain direction on these panels runs from side to side so that no end-grain is visible from the front of the cabinet.

These narrow wooden strips are notched to form half-lap joints where they intersect, with material removed from the ends to create tabs that mount the muntin bars to the surrounding door frame. Now, adjust your saw blade height to cut precisely halfway through the thickness of the material. Like most finishing techniques, Michel’s approach begins with a complete sanding of the entire project through to 220-grit paper. When you finish the drawer front, mask the sides with tape to avoid transferring dye and stain to these parts. Next, spread silicone on the backs of the retainer cleats and clamp or tack them in place with a pin nailer. Counterbore the heads slightly below the surface so they won’t interfere with the movement of the drawer. Save your knees by laying the cabinet face down on the workbench to complete this last step.
The almost vertical end-grain of quartersawn lumber makes it extremely stable and results in a consistent grain pattern that’s pleasing to the eye. Start by using a pencil to draw the desired 45-degree bevels on each end of your coved molding stock. Cut one of these miters with the table set at 90-degrees and the miter gauge at 60-degrees to the left in the left table slot. Each frame consists of two long vertical stiles and a series of short, horizontal rails, all connected together with dowels. For now, gather all the blanks for the lower frame rails and lay out the curved profile on their bottom edges.
In addition to preventing the wood from getting marred, the off-cuts square up the edges, creating a solid grip.
Wrap some tape around the bit to tell you how deep to go and make a drilling template to achieve consistent spacing. Air-driven brad nails are the easiest option for tacking the parts in place while the glue dries. Make the panels oversize to start, then trim the edges to the final dimensions after the glue has dried.
Remove saw marks with a sanding block and you’re ready to complete another dry fit: this time, with the interior partitions in place. You’ll need to cut an opening in the panel with a jigsaw to accommodate the clock mechanism. After the door frames are assembled, rabbet the openings on the back to receive glass, using the same router and chisel technique as before.
If you find there’s insufficient clearance around the edges, trim equal amounts from opposing sides to make the doors fit.
Also, try to keep the stain out of the frame rabbets, but don’t forget to finish the back of the grid assembly on the curio door and the retainer strips for the glass. Drill a hole in the panel to allow the cord to pass through into the clock compartment, then notch the rear plywood panel at the bottom to allow the wiring to exit the back. Quartersawn lumber is more expensive than flat-sawn boards because the milling method results in less lumber from a given log, although the beautiful grain is worth the extra cost.
Tilt your saw table to 45-degrees and place the COVED FACE of your molding on the saw table surface with one edge against the rip fence surface.
You could use traditional mortises and tenons to assemble the joints, but dowels are almost as strong and much quicker to prepare. If you find that the scrap shims slip when force is applied, use double-sided tape to anchor them temporarily. A few biscuits will help with alignment during assembly, but when you prepare the top panel, be careful to keep the slots well clear of the ends so the biscuits aren’t revealed when the panel is cut to length.

If everything looks good, reassemble the cabinet for the final time with glue applied to the frame joints and the top of the panel support cleats.
Don’t worry if the cutout is a little ragged because it’ll be hidden from view after the clock dial is installed. If you use a dado blade, you can cut the notches in a single pass; otherwise, you’ll need to make repeated runs to clear all the waste material. With this work done, snap the grid together with glue applied to the joints and set the assembly in the door opening to mark where the tabs rest on the rabbeted edge of the frame. The glass for the doors and cabinet sides are best held in place with wooden retainer strips.
Finish up by attaching the cabinet top using four L-shaped metal brackets installed with screws from inside. Before making a purchase, examine each board carefully for signs of checking on the ends and cracks on the face (known as honeycombs).
See the Table Saw section of Power Tool Woodworking for Everyone (555069) for the proper cove cutting technique. Cut both with the 45-degree back edges of the molding against the miter gauge and the table.
The only tricky part here is making the tapered stiles for the sides of the front and rear frames.
For fine finishing work such as this, I use 23-gauge brad nails because the thin diameter and head-free design leaves an entry point that’s almost invisible.
Try the panels in the openings to make sure there is a little wiggle room to allow for seasonal expansion and contraction. The clockwork I used came as a kit that included a battery-powered movement, a Roman brass dial and a complete set of hands.
For the long curio door, catches are required at both the top and bottom, but only one is necessary for the smaller door at the top. You can cut the strips to size and dry-fit them in the openings, but don’t install them permanently until after the finish is applied.
Make a plywood panel to cover the opening located behind the drawer, installed permanently with glue.
You should also carefully select boards with a consistent colour and prominent grain pattern.
When you’re satisfied, install the inserts with glue applied only to the middle 2″ section of the top and bottom flanges. Drilling removes the majority of the material, so you simply need to square the corners with a chisel. The face board is secured to side cleats attached to the interior walls and bottom of the upper cabinet compartment.
Your goal is to create pockets that match the exact thickness of the tabs so that the surface of the rabbet and the back of the muntin assembly end up being flush. Clamp the inserts in place while the glue dries or tack them with your trusty air nailer if you have one. Glue the cleats in place but don’t permanently mount the face board until after the cabinet has been stained.

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Author: admin | 22.09.2013 | Category: Small Storage Buildings

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