'Ol Dave's Woodshop - Where woodworkers are not all Pros  

'Ol Dave's Woodshop - Where woodworkers are not all Pros
                                                                   "Where woodworkers are not all Pros"
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Last year I kept having to rummage through my CD's to find what I wanted to "pop" in the player.  Since our collection of CD's were scattered all over the place and were currently being housed in or around a cheap rotating big box purchased cabinet, I decided to remedy that issue.  Actually my wife had some ideas for a CD storage cabinet that would better organize our discs and prevent us from having to lean over so much to retrieve one of them from the current cabinet. 

Also this would give us a chance to build a cabinet that would match the birch and maple desk, printer cabinet and lateral file that I had made as part of our office suite.  So I began laying out the plans with my Autocad software and began the project.  You can look at the final result in the two pictures below and then follow along the journey of building it in the article that follows if interested.

Empty CD Storage Cabinet after completion. CD Storage Cabinet after completion and filled with CD's

Project material sitting on the miter saw bench.
After the drawings were completed and the cut list made, I made the trip to my usual lumber supplier and bought some lengths of 8 quarter hard maple stock to make the corner legs and some 4 quarter stock for the shelving.  The picture here on the right shows the lumber stacked on my miter saw bench awaiting the cutting process.

I began the project by making the corner legs.  The first thing in that process was to cut some rough overall lengths and then run two sides of each blank through the jointer to square up those two sides.  Then obviously, they were all ran through the planer to get all sides to the same thickness. 

Cutting the rough tapers on one of the corner legs.

I wanted to have tapered bottoms on the legs which I had done on several other projects that I had completed.  This was accomplished my marking the taper I needed on the legs with a pencil and then taking them to my band saw to rough cut the tapers as seen here on the left.

The photo below shows the four legs after they were rough cut on the band saw and laid out on my table saw side table support.  These were awaiting the point where I could sand them smooth and set up the table saw with some dado blades to cut some 3/4 wide dados on two adjacent sides of each leg.  The dados were to be spaced at the places on the legs where the shelves would be positioned vertically in the cabinet.

Finsihed rought cut legs ready for the finish sanding.
View of a shelf getting the corner notches cut out on the bandsaw.
In the meantime I cut the eight shelves that were required to their overall lengths and widths.  Each of these shelves had to have notches cut on all four corners in order for them to fit between the legs during assembly.  On the right, you can see a picture of one of these boards getting the notch cuts on my bandsaw.

The next thing I needed to do was to set up my table saw with a 3/4" dado set to cut dados in the two inside edges of each leg at the eight places that were needed to accept the shelves.  Below you can see my setup on the table saw, a photo of me cutting the lower dados on one of the legs and finally, what the four legs looked like after the first dado cuts were made.

The next step was to make sure that the shelves and dados that were cut in the legs were going to fit properly before I finished cutting all the rest of them into the legs.  In the upper right photo on the right side of this page, you can get a glimpse of me fitting the one shelf that I had cut corner notches into (to test with) and into one of the legs that I had cut the lower dado in.  Again, I wanted to be sure that this fit was going to work before making all the rest of the cuts......(Yep!  They worked!)

The lower photo on the right shows all four of the legs after they had received all of the eight dado cuts on their inside two edges.  I then moved on to finish cutting the corner notches in the rest of the shelves.

Checking the fit of one of the shelves into one of the leg dados.
A view of all four legs with all dados cut.

Rear two legs showing back panel relief and tenons.

I used mortise & tenon joinery for the cross pieces that were to fit on both the bottom and top around all sides of the cabinet.  Also, I needed to cut 1/4" X 1/4" dados on the rear two legs (on the back facing side) to accomodate a 1/4" thick plywood back cover.   The picture on the left shows the rear two legs after the reliefs for the back panel and the mortise cuts were made.

After the mortises were all cut into the legs, I moved on to making a jig for the drill press to drill three dowel holes into both ends of all the shelves.  These 3/8" diameter holes would eventually receive wood dowels that would run the entire vertical length of the cabinet and between the side two set of legs.  This would serve two purposes:

     (1) To keep the CD's from sliding out the sides of the cabinet after assembly.
     (2) It will add a greater cosmetic appearance to the cabinet's overall looks.

Below is a photo of this jig and one of the shelves fitted into it.  I used a 3/8" forstner bit instead of a wood drill because I wanted the holes to end up being as clean as possible.  Again, I made the jig so that all of the holes would be aligned properly from one shelf to the next during assembly.  (Note: The dowels need to be inserted through each shelf end before the top is fastened to the cabinet.....just thought you might like to know that).

View of jig for drilling holes in shelf ends.

A view of the shelves and legs showing what they looked like at dry fit.
It was about this point during the project that I wanted to make sure everything was going to fit properly.  So, I gathered all the shelves and the four legs and began putting them together.  After this dry fitting process was completed, it seemed that I would have no further problems during asssembly.  You can see in the right photo what these pieces looked like at that point.

After dry fitting the shelves and legs, I disassembled them and set them aside and moved on the cutting the upper and lower panels to their rough overall widths and lengths.  I then set up my table saw with a 1/2" wide dado set to enable me to cut the tenons on these eight pieces.  The lower left photo shows the setup on my tablesaw and the right photos shows the eight pieces after the tenons had been cut.
View showing the dado setup for cutting tenons on the tablesaw. Photo of the finished top and bottom panels after cutting their tenons.

View of the cabinet top prior to finishing and assembly.The last thing that needed to be done before final assembly and applying the stain and finish was to make the top for the cabinet.  I ended up making the top at 9" wide X 18" wide which gave me a 1 1/2" overhang at the front, 1" at the two sides and 1/2" at the back.  I decided to route a 1/2" bevel around all four sides of the top.  The finished top prior to assembly and final finishing is shown here on the left.
I'm just about finished at this point.  I decided that (with so many parts) that the cabinet would be hard to stain after assembling the entire cabinet.  So I decided to stain the parts unassembled and proceed to the glueup in different stages.  After all the parts were stained (being careful not to stain the areas that would receive the glue), I first assembled each pair of side legs and their upper and lower cross panels and glued them.  Then when they had dried, I inserted all the shelves and placed them in their corresponding dados in the legs.  At this point I had to maneuver the top and bottom panels for both the front and back into place while inserting the shelves......man was that a tough task for one man to do!  I wonder.....did I forget to glue the tenons and mortises before doing this?  Nope!

The photos below show some of those steps I just described.

Stained parts at pre-assembly. Two stained and glued up side assemblies. Final pre-stained cabinet during glue-up.

The very last step was to insert the 3/8" dowels into the three through holes in all the shelf ends and then install the top.  Just so you know, prior to the staining, I drilled some 3/8" X 1/2" deep holes in the tops of the four legs at their centers and into the underside of the top matching the locations of the four holes in the legs. 

During assembly, I glued some short pieces of 3/8" dowels into those holes to hold the top onto the cabinet.  Another note that I missed in the beginning of this article is that in the bottom shelf, I did NOT drill the three 3/8" holes completely through this shelf at it's ends.  I only drilled them deep enough to receive the ends of the upright dowels to hold them in place (these were about 1/4" deep).   I installed the plywood back into the rear of the cabinet and wiped the sweat off my brow!  Below is what the cabinet looked like before receiving the final Minwax satin polyurethane clear coat.

Completed CD Cabinet prior to final finish.
This project gave me a couple of new challenges but in the end, the result was pleasing to me and my wife and is serving the pupose for which it was built.  Any questions about this CD cabinet (or any of my other projects at this website), feel free to contact me.


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