Case Sides

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The easiest way to build the case of this wardrobe is to do it in sections. I started with the sides of the wardrobe. Then I connected these side assemblies with rails at the front and back.

Even though this project is big, the nice thing is there isn't any procedure that's especially difficult or complicated. It's all pretty straightforward.

corner posts. The first step is to make the corner posts (A). This is like building a fence. You set the corner posts and then work your way in. With these corner posts, there are quite a few things to cut grooves for the sides, mortises for the front, and rabbets for the back.

Of course, the trick is getting the grooves, mortises, and rabbets positioned correctly on each post, see drawing at right. So after I cut the corner posts to size from 8/4 stock, I took the time to carefully lay out the cuts on each post, see Fig. 1 and drawing at right.

When all the grooves, mortises, and rabbets have been laid out, the first step is to cut a groove 3A" from the inside face of each post. This groove will hold a couple of side

Cut to match thickness of two V-plywood panels rails and two V4"-thick plywood side panels.

The reason for using two panels instead of one is simple: V2" cherry plywood is hard to find and V4" plywood has only one good face. So to get two good faces, I used two sheets and set them back-to-back, see photo on page 9. This determines the width of each groove.

Since these grooves run the length of the posts, after the sides are assembled there will be gaps at the bottoms. To remedy this, I cut some l3/4M-long plugs and glued them in the grooves flush with the bottom of each post, see Fig. lb. This will fill the gap and create a shoulder for the bottom rail to sit on later.

Once all four grooves have been plugged, I decided to cut the mortises and rabbets on the posts for the front and back rails before assembling the sides.

Cut to Rabbet for thickness of back panel plywood


Cut to Rabbet for thickness of back panel plywood


Lower mortise














First, I worked on the front posts. Each post requires two mortises: one for the upper rail and another for the lower rail, see Fig. la. These mortises are the same size, but they don't line up with each other. The lower mortise is centered, while the upper rail mortise is offset towards the inside of the case to allow room for the doors.

Direction of rout

Rout Vs" chamfer on bottom end of corner

cross section

Rout Vs" chamfer on bottom end of corner

Direction of rout a.

cross section

With the side assemblies complete, they can be joined with a pair of rails at the front of the case, see Fig. 4. The nice thing here is that half the work is already done — you've already cut the mortises that hold these front rails.

front rails. Both front rails (D) are identical. I started with 3/4"-thick blanks cut to finished length and width, see Fig. 4d. (Mine were 43/4M x 39 V2".) Then cut tenons on both ends of each blank. These tenons should be sized to fit the mortises that have already been cut in the corner posts, refer to Fig. la. Note: The top front rail fits flush with the top of the side rails. But the lower rail sits 3/4M below the bottom side rails to leave room for a cap added later, see Fig. 4c.

When the tenons fit the mortises, the only thing left is to cut a gentle arc at the bottom of each piece. (For more on laying out these arcs, see page 17.)

Once the front rails are complete, you can glue them between the two sides. Since the case is only being held together at the front, you'll need to make sure it's square.

rail cap. Before moving to the back of the case, there's still one more piece to add to the front. A "cap" is added to the lower rail to create a lip below the dra\ • that will be added later, see Fig. 4c.

stock to fit between the posts. I wariK. cap flush with the back edge of the postv,. but in the front, the cap should stick out W to create the lip below the drawer.

To hold the cap in position, a groove is cut on its bottom face, see Fig. 4c. But keep in mind that the groove won't be centered on the width of the cap. Another thing to keep in mind is that the depth of this groove should put the top of the rail cap flush with the top of the lower rails on the sides. (The depth of my groove was V4".)

To complete the rail cap, create an Vs" chamfer on all four edges of the front face, see Fig. 4c. Then glue the rail cap to the lower front rail.



Tenon centered on stock


cross section

See detail c.


When the mortises on the front posts are complete, it's time to set them aside and work on the back corner posts. Both back posts need a W-wide rabbet on their back, inside edges that's deep enough to hold the V411 plywood backs (there will be two — an upper back and lower one) added later, see drawing at left.

Finally, I chamfered the bottom edges of all four corner posts, see Fig. 2.

rails. With the posts complete, the next step is to add a pair of rails. These rails connect the corner posts to create a frame. The l"-thick side rails (B) are the same size (5Vi>" x MVf). And they also have a groove cut on their inside edges that matches the grooves on the corner posts.

Now the upper rail is done, but the lower rail requires a little more work. First, a shoulder needs to be cut on the bottom edge of the stub tenon, see Fig. 3. (The shoulder on top is created by the groove.) Second, there's an arc cut along the bottom edge. Note: To lay out these arcs, see page 17.

side panels. Now the posts and rails can be dry assembled so you can measure the opening for the side panels. Cut the two W plywood side panels (C) for each assembly to fit into the grooves. Then glue the posts, rails, and panels together.



The groove on this side rail has been sized to hold two Vj,"plywood panels. These panels are back-to-back so there's a good face both inside and out.

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

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