Sofa Cabinet

In a beautiful tall living room overlooking Sweetwater Lake are stunning views galore, and eclectic design touches near at hand: the counter tops, the antique doors, the contemporary lamps and the real life boat functioning as a bed overhanging the balcony above. The room is generous in proportion as an invitation to a crowded party, and a large sofa sits facing the window side, leaving the back exposed to the entrance.

Why would you not put a long low cabinet to balance the back of the sofa, and give it room for the mandatory games, an oversized travel book maybe, and an elegant light or two? And why would you choose any style besides chevrons for the theme of the piece?

A few sketches boiled down to this one, and the final construction drifted to the right side.
Walnut was the wood of choice, and to give the best chance of a long enduring life, many dowels were used to make strong joints. There was a knot on this board which was laid out on the inside of the bottom skirt board, never to be seen, but I couldn’t resist drilling it out and replacing it with a solid face grain plug.
The back frame is being joined to the bottom, with biscuits to align the edges.
Now the front face and legs are being assembled to the case, using sixty-four dowels.
Clamping a cabinet that is 8’ long presents some special problems, with clamps hooked to each other or to middle face frame dividers. All the joints need to be tested without glue, to make sure they go together well, and then finally clamped with glue. The second time is the more nerve racking as there are only a few minutes working time.
The lower angled braces served to add a bridge arch design element, but also adds two more dowels at the post ends, and more vertical strength. The basic case is complete.
The cabinet ends and doors were designed to have chevron patterns. I picked a board with interesting grain, and cut it in 3” widths, and then sliced those in half to have enough chevrons all from the same board. They were routed with a lap joint, cut to angle, and glued to the panel center line. The assembled panels were then installed into the door frames.
After a few decades of messing around with wood, I still failed to fully account for the personality of walnut, as it presents with a bit more variability of sheen and color, depending on the orientation of the individual piece and the light source.
Back from the finish shop, with handles installed. Overall, I find this piece sophisticated and elegant, strong and graceful. Maybe it is just how life goes, we all like to be seen in the best light.
Waiting for the move to a gorgeous living room, and to get filled with games, fun times and memories.

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