Things seem to be testing me recently. I've been trying to see the funny side of it, but when things add up it gets tough. Take my computer for example, it's in the Apple hospital at the moment, having all of its insides replaced. Not a cheap proceeder. Turns out I've been on borrowed time for 2 years until it finally conked out. It's really thrown a spanner in the works, hence why I've been so distant recently. Ironically, it died just as I had finished and installed my stupidly organised computer cabinet at home. I guess the timing was perfect for my back ups, but now I have all my computer nogans hooked up neatly in lovely cabinet with nothing to do. Fingers crossed those Apple Genius' can make it new and happy again. Besides pleasing my obsessive organisational needs, I wanted to create a piece that tested the thickness, or thinness I should say, of solid wood furniture. Everyone knows wood moves and cups, and the thinner it is, as the theory says, the more likely it is to distort as it dries out. When furniture was being made from engineered materials like chipboard it meant clever veneerers could make thin lightweight pieces look solid without this risk. Unfortunately, I like these lightweight designs but love solid wood. Against all the advice in the workshop I went ahead and machined up 15mm Beech.
As it was only for me I designed the simplest set up, quite Utility Furniture-esque. My very generous Landlady, Jan, gave me a wonderful set of bead drawers, perfectly and naturally distressed, they'll be good for my filing and stationary. The depth of the whole cabinet had to accommodate these drawers and a 4 socket power extension, as well as my printer. The back was left open for easy access and wires.
Finally, I have been wanted to collaborate with Kim Butler for ages. Kim is the resident wood carver and can often been found chipping away on Danny's old bench, or scorching beautiful carvings outside. When I asked if she would add her finishing touches to my cabinet I was thrilled when she came up with these cute buttons. Her colour matching was spot on and really pulls my tatty old drawers into the whole scheme. Thank you Kim!
And so, the verdict. Well, it wasn't the biggest item ever, but it's not the smallest either, yet it has turned out fine. The top and bottom surfaces were extended past the sides by 2mm so that, if it were to open up, the join would remain neat. Considering there is some spalted Beech laminated together and jointed with not very large housing, the movement is minimal. There was some splitting at the end of the laminated top and bottom, that was super glued and clamped, however most of that was planed away during the finishing touches.
I conclude that 15mm solid wood is not a disaster waiting to happen, as long as it is done with lots of care and attention. This cabinet had a spacing of 400mm between upstands and carries very little weight. Something larger with lots of heavy keepsakes would definitely need something thicker.