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irpiTi iJi/t df rioof note: Staves start out as 24"-long pieces of 7/a"-thick hardwood stock that they're made up of individual staves — like a barrel. And because the edges of the staves are beveled slightly, they form a gradual curve when they are clamped together.

Although this cabinet has two doors, 1 decided to glue up one wide blank and cut the doors apart after doing all the shaping first. This way, you can be sure that the profile of both doors is consistent.

The door blank is glued up out of six inHvidual staves cut from %''-thick stock. The trickiest part of making the doors is probably gluing up the blank. Because of the curved shape of the doors, clamping them up is a challenge. So 1 made a simple jig (see box at left). The jig has a couple of forms that match the curve of the doors. Tire staves are simply placed in the forms and then wedges are used to force them together while the glue dries.

After the blank is glued up, you can shape the curved surface and cut the doors to size. (See opposite page for more on how this is done).

The last steps to complete the doors is to mount them to the case and add the brass door knobs and ball catches, like you see in details V and 'c' above

Now that you have the case complete, you're ready to start on the most interesting part of this project — making the curved doors.

These doors are called "coopered" doors. A cooper is a person who makes barrels. And coopered doors get their name from the fact

To glue up the blank for the coopered doors, I made this assembly jig. It's nothing more than a base and a pair of plywood forms Each form has a curve cut along the top edge to match the desired curve of the doors The forms "cradle" the staves while small wedges apply the necessary clamping pressure to the panel until the glue dries

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How To:

Coopered Door Technique

The coopered doors on this cabinet may look challenging, but they're really not that difficult to build. The trick is in carefully fitting the staves that make up the door blank so that the glue joints end up nearly invisible.

I started by beveling the mating edges of the staves at about 3°. I say "about" because you may have to fine tune the angle just a bit. The goal is for the staves to fit together tightly while they are sitting in the jig. (I found it helpful to number the staves after fitting them.)

After gluing the staves together in the jig (see opposite page), you can begin smoothing out the curve on the front of the blank. Start by using your template to lay out a 28"-radius curve on both ends of the blank. Then you can remove the peaks on the outer face of the blank with a block plane (Fig. 2). Finally, a curved sanding block and some sandpaper can be used for the final smoothing. Don't worry about the inside face of the door — just scrape off any glue.

The next step is to square up the ends of the blank and cut it to length to match the height of the opening in the cabinet (allowing for a Vie" gap at the top and bottom of the doors). Once this is done, you can cut the door blank in half to create the two doors. I taped a couple of long, beveled strips of wood to my table saw to help support the blank and keep it from rocking (Figs. 4 and 5).

After trimming the outer edge of each door so they fit the opening in the cabinet, you can rout a cove along the front, inner side edge of each door, as shown in Fig. 6. The final step is to cut the mortises for the hinges. Take a look at Fig. 7 at right to see how 1 did this.

Rout Coves. A decorative cove is routed along the inside edge of each door to match the cove in the front molding of the case.

Cut Hinge Mortises, To cut the mortises for the hinges, a tall auxiliary fence with a spacer is attached to the miter gauge.

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Wedges are used to hold the staves together in the jig while the giue dries.

Tight Fit is Best. Fine tune the bevel angle on the staves until they fit together without any visible gaps

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Plane Off Peaks. After laying out the radius Cut to Length. A simple plywood cut-off profile on the ends of the blank, plane off sled attached to the miter gauge allows you the "peaks" where the staves meet. to trim the ends of the blank to length.

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Cut the Blank in Half. To create the two doors, cut Cut Doors to Width. With your the blank in half down the center joint line Wedge saw blade tilted 18°, trim the outer strips taped to the saw help stabilize the blank. edge of each door to fit the cabinet.

NOTE: Back and sides are made from '/?" hardwood, bottom is made from Vn" hardwood, and front is made from 13A" hardwood

W-wide x Vi" -deep dado for back


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