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I just finished this display cabinet project, which I mentioned previously in Mike's "Hot Wheels Display Case" thread. It's not a complicated build, but I did remember to take work-in-progress photos for once so I thought I'd post them.

I'll start with the assembly of the door. After cutting the pieces to length from 1x2 pine, I routed out hinge mortices using a simple jig as shown in the first two pictures. When I made the jig, I cut the opening slightly too wide. In the second photo you can see where I glued in a brass shim to narrow it down.

Pictures 3, 4 and 5 show the door joinery. It's loose tenon so I can use the same jig to make identical mortices in all the pieces. The jig has a 3/4" slot to fit the guide bush, and a deep 1/4" bit cuts the mortice. You need to be careful with such a long, thin bit to avoid breaking it. The best way is to take out most of the material using repeated straight-down plunge cuts, then vac out the chips, and make several light horizontal cuts to finish. The tenons are made from 1/4" birch ply.

The last picture shows the joint at the top right of the door after glue-up. As you can see, it's not flush. That's not a mistake :) When I laid out the door pieces, I discovered the top rail had a slight twist in it. To compensate, when I morticed the right-hand end of the rail, I put a couple of pieces of paper between the face of the workpiece and the fence of the mortice jig on one side. That resulted in a mortice that's off parallel with the face of the piece, but it is parallel with the mortice at the other end of the twisted rail. So the stiles will be parallel with one another and the door ends up flat overall. The face of the joint can easily be sanded flush.
 

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Now the case itself. It's pretty much just 4 boards.

The top and bottom are cut from planed 1x4s (with about 10mm trimmed off the width so they ended up about 85mm wide). The first pic shows an ogee profile routed on the ends and one side.

The sides are from planed 1x3 stock. They'll be joined to the top and bottom using pocket screws as shown in the second picture. In the finished piece the pocket holes will be hidden by the shelf supports.

Picture 3: the sides get a through-rebate to receive the back panel. The top and bottom get a corresponding stopped rebate, the ends of which will need to be squared up after assembly.

I find pocket screws have a tendency to pull pieces out of position when you tighten them. I cut a gauge board to the inside dimension of the cabinet, to give me something to hold the sides firmly against when I drive the screws (pictures 4 and 5).
 

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Now I can test fit the door to the case. The case is twisted and the door does not sit flush :mad: I'm sure I cut the pieces square, so I'm guessing I over-torqued one of the pocket screws, which crushed the soft pine and pulled the joint out of square. Pocket screws were not a good choice here.

Fortunately this problem was fixable, more or less. When I mounted the case on the wall, I put screws in all 4 corners and pulled it flat that way.
 

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Finishing touches on the door.

Pictures 1 and 2: making a mortice on the back of the door for the lock. This style of lock is called a "cut cupboard lock". I didn't want to go to the trouble of making 2 jigs to cut one stepped mortice. Instead I marked it out with a knife, and free-handed most of the waste out with a Dremel with a router base, before tidying it up with a chisel. The Dremel plunge router base has a lot of shortcomings, but I do like it for freehand work as it's very controllable.

Back to the Triton for a couple more routing operations: a chamfer detail on the front of the door (3rd pic) and a rebate on the back (4th pic) to receive the acrylic window.

Finally I drilled and chiselled out the keyhole (pic 5).
 

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The back panel is 1/2" birch ply. I've routed grooves to receive the shelves using a 1/8" bit (pic 1). The panel is then cut apart to make a back panel and two side shelf support pieces (pic 2) which fit in the case as shown in picture 3.

My 1/8" router bit was cheap and poor quality, and produced rough grooves, so out came the old Record 405 multiplane that you can see in the third picture to clean them up.

The plywood's a bit mouldy from sitting in a damp garage, but that's not a problem since I'm painting it (pic 4).
 

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suggestion...
clean the mold w/ peroxide before you paint...
peroxide will kill/neutralize all of it way better than bleach...
 
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I needed an escutcheon for the keyhole, and I couldn't find one I liked so I decided to make one by etching a design on sheet brass.

The first picture is the setup for etching: protective equipment (gloves and eye protection); ferric chloride etchant; disposable plastic tray; a sponge; a bath of water to dunk the workpiece in when etching is finished; paper towels in case of any mess; bicarbonate of soda to neutralise the etchant before disposal; all on a trash bag to protect the work surface.

The design is printed on a laser printer, then transferred to the brass using a hot iron. The toner acts as a resist to block the etchant from affecting the covered areas. There are a number of variations on this toner transfer technique. I tried using transparency film, but I had much better results using glossy inkjet photo paper. After ironing the print onto the brass and rubbing it down firmly, you can soak the paper off and carefully rub it away in layers, eventually leaving just the toner stuck to the metal.

I did the etching using the "sponge method": you use only a small amount of etchant, and gently wipe it over the surface so that the metal is continually exposed to fresh etchant. It's much faster than simple immersion. I etched for 10 minutes. When the desired degree of etching is achieved, you rinse the piece in water to stop the reaction, and finally, clean off the resist with acetone.

The results are in the second photo. It took a few attempts to get the technique down, you can see a couple of the failures at the top and the successful ones below. After a bit of drilling, cutting, filing and sanding they end up as shown in picture 3. I made 2 just as insurance in case I messed it up.

The final step was to antique the brass using a combination of brine and fuming with ammonia, as described below, with the result shown in picture 4. I also treated the brass hinges to match.


By the way the design of the escutcheon is a clue to the contents of the case :)


Quick method for darkening brass by ammonia fuming:
First prepare the brine: 2 tablespoons of salt in a cup of water.
And set up the fuming chamber. I used a tupperware-type box. Put some household ammonia in an open container inside the box.
Use soap or solvent to degrease the brass hardware. If it's lacquered, you need to remove that first.
Dip the brass in the salt water, then put it in the box (but not in the ammonia!) and seal it up.
It'll darken very quickly. After a few minutes, open the box, give it another bath in the brine, and return to the fuming chamber. After about 5 iterations of this process, it should be a solid, consistent black.
Then you can use wire wool to rub the patina back to get the desired degree of shininess.
 

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suggestion...
clean the mold w/ peroxide before you paint...
peroxide will kill/neutralize all of it way better than bleach...
Yes good point Stick. I did in fact treat it with a proprietary antifungal product (probably just expensive peroxide :) )
 

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Very nice...the step-by-step is appreciated...
 
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The finish is Colron "antique pine" Danish oil.

Picture 2: mounted on the wall with the shelves installed and the window fitted in the door. The shelves are 3mm clear acrylic, except for the top and bottom ones which are painted MDF (because those shelf spaces are hidden when the door is closed). These thin shelves are pretty flexible which is why I made the grooved back panel to provide full-length support.

I've heard acrylic can be a bit tricky to work with so I ordered them cut-to-size from a plastics supplier. I got them to polish the front edge of each shelf too. In hindsight I shouldn't have penny-pinched, and had them polish the back edge as well. This cast acrylic is so clear that you can see right through the width of the shelf to the saw marks on the back edge, if you look closely.

Picture 3: all filled up :happy:
 

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Super job, Andy. Great job on the photos and pointing out the pitfalls that can occur during processes and assembly.

Your right about a simple assembly, but daunting for someone who has never attempted something like this. You have shown how easy it CAN be to do this. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Very nice! I think Stick is right that is a candidate for a case to display your case. Like the pictures too. Nicely done.
 

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That's fantastic. Hold on..... I ..... see ...... one ...... in .... my ..... future.....
 
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...looks like featured article material to me...

There are so many techniques in this project it's good to see the whole story and how all these techniques came together...and the write-up is so clear and understandable...

Will be reading this one over and over...

Thanks, Andy
 
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I It's not a complicated build,

The above quote caught my eye this morning while I was at lunch browsing with my phone, knew I had to check it out. =

very nicely done!!
 
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Brilliant job and WIP presentation. Thanks.
 
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