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If a structure is part of itself, this vitrine cabinet is. It is a large set of lap joints. So, it is robust enough to carry its many faces.

Three faces of the cabinet

Detail and build procedure

This cabinet was built by 15 mm Norway spruce, layer by layer. I had not seen anything like it before, and I will repeat only when I have forgotten the struggles.

I had decided that I wanted the structure to show through the cabinet, top, bottom, sides - everywhere. I knew it was going to be painted with transparent paint, so I thought it would look nice. I started by making the first layer, with pieces equal to the width of the list, and ended with a layer with lap joints to half width. The last layer I did like this to make the front part more solid.

The finished hull needed more sanding than I had imagined because, in a basement shop, it's difficult to exceed half a millimetre accuracy.

Then I decided to make the drawers and the top possible to use both ways - so they had to be symmetric in form. However, I wanted them to look different, so the joints were done differently (below, top). Then, when the "back" and the "front" were painted with different colours, the visual impressions became so different that it's possible to see the cabinet faces not only as different, but one to like and one to, perhaps, set aside for a possible later need.

Changing the drawers from green to blue or vice versa requires a screw driver to move the knots. It is not as easy as with the top:

When the top is lifted, and set down again opposite, a straight line is changed for a slightly curved one. The face of the cabinet is once again changed.

However, should the owner want to see some change, also for the straight top, a round cylinder with a ball end may be pushed in or out.

Again, the owner decides how this cabinet would look.

The back of the cabinet consist of a panel that I cut to having a 2 mm groove. 

The doors are shut closed with hidden neodym magnets and small iron screws, one pair per door.

Wooden details

There is no mechanism to stop the drawers from falling out if pulled too far out; and the wide drawer needs two hands and some practice to get out of child safe mode!

The cabinet may also be used without the top. In that case, the top sides, squared, will be seen better. However, even with the top present, the castle in the cabinet is easily revealed.

Mari painted the cabinet with oil colour, and swept it off with a dry cloth after half an hour. (The colours in this page seem to be different in different browsers. I wil try to fix it.)

Under the bottom there is a rectangular frame. This makes it possible not only to hang the cabinet on a wall, but to place it with a decent base on some other furniture. The front angles of this frame have been made so that, even at 45 degrees cut, much of the lists are lap joints (right, center). This should make the somewhat volatile corners more solid. And - much more fun to make.

I have estimated that the cabinet took about 120 hours to finish. Not including the half finished cabinet that I started, but made with too thick material, so that what seemed to appear on my bench was too much a distraction from what was in my head. And that one wasn't "jointed" into itself.

©2007 - Original design and woodcraft by Řyvind Teig, Trondheim, Norway
with reflected replies to "what do you think about this" questions from me, by my wife Mari. Thanks!
Please help me with the English terms here, I'm not a woodwork-English specialist!

Search words in Norwegian: Hjemmesnekret vitrineskap, hjemmelagd, gran, skap med mange ansikter, skuffene og toppen kan snus. Hengeskap