I was really taken by the Krenov design and always wanted to make one but just never got to it. After reading up on Krenov, I decided it was now or never.
I've compiled a series of videos to take you through the process.
Hope you enjoy it. As always, I'm happy to take any questions you may have.
In this next series of videos, I'm going to document how I went about producing a Krenov style cabinet. It is based on the article in the Fine woodworking magazine - issue 208.
This cabinet is for my personal collection and will be made of the 2 timbers I love the most - Tasmanian Blackwood and Huon Pine. As you can see, it's quite an attractive looking cabinet featuring contrasting timbers.
This is the finished cabinet now sitting proudly in my house. My variation is that I have changed the door design by removing the glass and replacing it with some bird's eye huon pen veneer.
I start out by rough sawing all the timber to size, then let it rest for about a month in the corner of the workshop so the timber can find its own equilibrium. Here it is on the trolley.
The first thing to do is to cut the legs to length. They are 50mm square x 975mm or 2" square x38 1/2". I then mark the top of the legs of how they will sit on the cabinet. The pencil marks are too light for the video so here it is with a sharpie.
I use a box to represent each corner of the cabinet and a F to mark the front of the cabinet and L and R to show which is Left and which is right. I then cut the rails to length ensuring that they are both exactly the same length. The rail lengths are 500mm x 25mm x 80mm high and 235mm x 25mm x 80mm high. There are different joints that you can use for your cabinets, but with this project, I decided to use dowels. This jig is the "os" jig - invented and made here in Australia. It's simple, quick and accurate to use. I could have used the Festool domino tool but decided against it for this part of the cabinet.
I'm using 3 x 8mm dowels for each joint. Drilling the holes was easy and accurate.
Next step in the process to make a jig to shape the legs. I could of individually mark each leg and shaped them by hand, but it was easier to make a jig. That's why when my Mother or any of my siblings wants me to make one for them too, I have the jig already made.
I begin with a piece of plywood - I mark out where the leg will be sitting on the jig. I draw out how I want the curves on the legs to be shaped. I then call upon my trusty assistant to make the curve out for me.
Once marked, the ply then goes onto the bandsaw to cut out the shape. I cut it about 2mm shy off the line because the band saw is not accurate enough for me.
I then use a spoke shave to bring the edge down to the marked line.
Once the front edge done, I then work on the back. I use a drill to open up a hole for the scroll saw to start. I could have used a jigsaw to do the same thing but I prefer the scroll saw over the jigsaw. Its also more accurate.
The scroll saw is quite accurate so I cut fairly close to the line.
Once it is all done, I then go and clean up all the cuts with a spoke shave and sand paper. The more accurate and smooth the template, the better the results will be on your transfer, which translates to less work planning and sanding on your piece.
In the next video, we complete the making of this jig template for the legs. this will enable you to do multiple legs in only minutes.
After the boards come out of the clamps, I then use a plane to flatten the board by hand. It's great when you get shavings like this coming off the plane. I check to make sure the board is flat and buy using a plane to take off the machine marks, it saves a lot of time behind the sander down the track.I then trim the board to fix exactly on the base of the cabinet. I mark it in place with a transfer straight edge. I then make the cuts with the table saw.
Next step is to make the timber buttons to hold down the base of the cabinet. We start off by getting a scrap piece of timber - in this instance - New Guinea Rosewood. We trim it down to 40mm x 19mm thick. We then make a tongue or tenon that is about 5.5mm thick - the slot cutter cut a 1/4" rebate so we want a loose fit for the buttons. We then cut the strip down to individual buttons that are about 30mm wide. This is how it sits in place and how loose it is that's the way it's meant to be, you don't want it too tight. We then pre-drill a hole in the middle of the button where the screw will go. That completes the buttons, we can then use them to fix the base of the top half of the cabinet onto the base. I then select the screws - Just got to make sure that the screws are not too long otherwise they will penetrate the other side of the board. Then I affix the board on with the 8 buttons.
Next step is to start on the back panel. I machine the sides, top and bottom rails to 15mm thick. This hammer jointer thickness has been a good workhorse over the years. I got a combination machine because when I purchased this machine, my workshop was a lot smaller. Now that I have this larger workshop, a stand-alone thicknesser is next on my shopping list. Before I start working with veneers, I dappen the veneer and press it to make it flat and easy to work with. The panel is going to be skinned with Birds Eye Huon Pine. As you can see, I will book match the two leaves. Cutting a straight edge on the veneer - lots of light cuts rather than a few heavy cuts. When you do the heavy cuts, the blade will tend to follow the grain of the timber. I then use a bit of PVA to hold the two leaves together for pressing.
In the next video - we finish the back panel and start putting the top half of the cabinet together.
Now we're just about ready to glue the veneer onto the MDF. I use a homemade glue spreading tool. It's made from a scrap piece of a 1.5mm stainless steel sheet. I put groves into the sheet with a flat-file at a 45 degree angle. It acts similar to a tilers spreader only the groves are a lot smaller. Again I use Titebond 3 to glue the veneer into place. I use generous amounts of glue to hold the veneer in place. The spreader ensures that we get good consistent coverage through the whole board. Because were book matching. I make the back and front match. I actually cut this panel out of 4 consecutive sheets of veneer. Once it is glued into place - it would appear the to the untrained eye - that the panel is a solid piece of timber rather than veneer. The plastic sheet on the top and bottom is there to ensure that the panel doesn't get glued onto the boards used to clamp the panel in place. I don't use a vacuum bag for clamping - that's because my money is tight and don't have one. I use 8 Bessey F clamps and lots of blocks.
Now the magazine has introduced me to a new type of jig that I have not seen before. What you basically do is the machine a scrap piece of timber that is the same thickness and length as the boards you want to join and then put a stop block end to help with the marking and drilling. First, you mark out where you want the dowels to go on the board. Then on the drill press, use a 6mm drill bit - because we're using 6mm dowels. you drill out where the dowels are supposed to go. Once that is done, we then put a stop block on the end of the jig. To use the jig, we basically just position where want the side to go, then screw it into position. We just drill out the holes for the dowels that were going to use. We do the same for the sides of the cabinet.
Now back to the back panel. for the joints, the Ozzie jig is not that useful in this situation because I can only get one dowel to fit with the jig. It's too close to the corners if I try to fit the 2nd dowel into the joint. Instead - I will use the Festool Domino for the joint. I think that 1 Domino is just as good as 2 dowels. So what I'll do now is work out where each domino is going to go, then mark it so we can then do some cutting. As you can see, cutting with the Domino is pretty straightforward and easy. Much fewer calculations and fussing about compared to most of the traditional joints used for this situation. If you're wondering what the brown piece is for, its just a packer I use to lift the domino 1mm higher to centre the cut. What I do now is dry-fit the panel and mark out where the Veneered board will sit in the frame. I move the frame up and down to try and get the best figure to show through. I will be cutting a 1/2" slot into the frame so I will then make the board 10mm larger on all 4 sides. I then use a pencil to mark out where I will be cutting this board on the Table saw. While the frame is still together, I use a 1/2" slot cutter to cut out a slot that will hold the veneered board in place. When using the router table, I always do a double pass to ensure that I cut everything out correctly - nothing worse than having to go back and redo a section that you have missed.
The next step is to cut the veneer board to size. This is my homemade zero-tolerance table saw sled. It's really easy to use, you just line up the pencil marks on the sled and start cutting. I then give the board good sand, starting at 120 all the way through to 320 grit. You have to be careful not to sand off too much. This is because the veneer is only 0.67mm thick. I have been known to sometimes sand through to the backing board. Not a pleasant experience. Once the sanding has been done, I then glue together the back panel. Again I use Titebond 3 as the glue and again the Bessey K Body clamps are a joy to use. Nothing fancy with the glue up. You have to check that the panel is nice and flat once you have got the clamps tightened otherwise you're going to have big problems in the next step of the glue up. I am checking here with a straight edge to ensure that the panel is flat. While were waiting for the panel to dry, I cut a rebate on the back of the cabinet. I use a slot cutter to cut a slot the same thickness as the back panel. I use a different method to the magazine - I am treating the cabinet like it is a big box with a thick base. I thought that I had a pretty big router table, but in this situation, the table was about 3 inches too short which made this process pretty difficult. Once the back panel has dried, we can then give the back panel good sand. I sand from 80 grit through 120, 180, 240 then with 320 grit sandpaper. You have to be careful not to hit the veneered board because that has already been sanded to 320 grit. I then dry fit the top cabinet.
Sometimes I wonder why I make videos. It takes me about 2 to 3 times longer than usual because I muck around with the camera and redo bits that didn't shoot well. Then there are moments like this, where I turn the cabinet around so that I can show you what the cabinet looks like. Bugger! Should have just left without showing you. I just want to give you a good look of the Birds Eye Huon Pine Veneer - One of my favourite timbers in the world.
I then dry assemble the doors to make sure everything fits. While the door are still together, I then route out the grove to take the panels with a slot cutter, This process is very similar to making the back panel in the previous video.
We can now trim the two-door panels to fit the two doors. As you can see, the panels are book-matched. I position the doors so that I get the best grain to show through on the doors, then mark out where the cuts are supposed to go.
Again cutting the panel is very easy to do with the zero-tolerance slide. Once the panel is cut to size, I then glue the doors together with Titebond. I didn't show in this video that I have already sanded the panel to 320 grit before gluing the door together. I then check to make sure the door is square and flat. I then give the doors good sand from 80 grit all the way to 320 grit.
Now it's time to hinge the doors. I mark out on the cabinet where the hinges will go accurately with a pencil. I then use a jig and a handheld trimmer/router to take out the correct depth for the knife hinge. I then use a sharp chisel to square off and clean out the spot. Huon Pine is very soft so it's easy going with a sharp chisel.
Now it is time for the doors. I do the same thing with the doors but without the aid of a jig. I hold the door in place on the bench vice. I then centre the hinge on the doors and take out the guts with the same trimmer set to a different height because I don't need to allow for the thickness of the jig. I then affix the hinge onto the door with the supplied screws.
So now that the door is complete, we now dry-fit the door onto the cabinet. I then mark out where I want all the shelves to fit on the cabinet. With adjustable shelves, you can use these brass pins that goes straight into the timber. Because the cabinet is made of Huon Pine, Huon Pine is quite soft so I didn't do that. Instead, I use these brass ferrels which hold the brass pins in place. We can then glue the cabinets together. Again, I am using Titebond III to hold the cabinet together. Gluing it in place is like making a really large box. These Bessey K Body clamps are much easier to use than pipe clamps. I make sure I check that the cabinet is square before the glue is set.
Once dry, I then fine adjust the doors with a spokeshave and a small block place to fine-tune the door so there is an even gap all around. For this project, I could of used off the shelf brass door pulls, but I have instead used homemade burl door pulls. I begin with a piece of burl coolabah. I flatten one side then cut it into 2 10mm strips with the band saw. I use the drop saw to cut them to 80mm lengths. I use 2 screws to hold them in place rather than glue them in.
The last step is then sand and oil the cabinet. I use Organ Oil Danish Oil. 2 coats with a 24 to 28 wait between the first and 2nd coat. With this final step, this is the end of this series of videos on how I went about producing this Krevno style cabin. Hopefully, you have enjoyed my journey and have been inspired to create something out of wood.
This cabinet will join my collection of handmade furniture pieces that I will pass onto my kids.